A huge row is threatening to engulf EA Sports’ hugely popular and award-winning FIFA series after Zlatan Ibrahimovic led a backlash against the use of his image.
The AC Milan striker claimed ‘somebody is making profit on my name and face’ as he ordered an investigation into who permitted the game to use his likeness.
The often outspoken Ibrahimovic took to social media with little fanfare, writing: ‘Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro? I’m not aware to be a member of FIFPro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manoeuvre.
‘And for sure I never allowed or FIFPro to make money using me.
‘Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate.’
In two days the post has received 6,000 retweets and 56,000 likes, and it appears to be just the tip of the iceberg.
Essentially, Ibrahimovic is arguing that he has lost out on potential earnings from the money that EA Sports is making by using his name and face to sell their franchise.
Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, said that potential legal action was ‘something that is being looked into’.
‘At the moment, the players don’t get paid,’ he said. ‘Our big gripe is that FIFA are coming out with lots of rules and regulations saying that they are looking after the best interests of players but obviously they don’t.’
FIFPro have so far stayed schtum, but EA Sports have defended their use of player likenesses and insist that they have the correct licenses to do so.
They said, in a statement: ‘We are aware of discussions around licensing of players in EA Sports FIFA. The current situation being played out on social media is an attempt to draw FIFA 21 into a dispute between a number of third parties and has little to do with EA Sports.
‘To be very clear, we have contractual rights to include the likeness of all players currently in our game. As already stated, we acquire these licenses directly from leagues, teams, and individual players.
‘In addition, we work with FIFPro to ensure we can include as many players as we can to create the most authentic game. In these instances, our rights to player likenesses are granted through our club agreement with AC Milan and our long-standing exclusive partnership with the Premier League, which includes all players for Tottenham Hotspur.’