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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Faces Three-Year Ban From Football Due To Betting Firm Investment

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic Faces Three-Year Ban From Football Due To Betting Firm Investment

A report in Sweden has sensationally claimed that Zlatan Ibrahimovic could face a three-year ban from football due to his partnership with a Malta-based betting company.

That would effectively end the 39-year-old's football career at a time when he's just returned to the Sweden national team and is still playing regularly for AC Milan.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet state that Ibrahimovic's company (Unknown AB) owns 10% of a gambling site Bethard. However both FIFA and UEFA regulations do not allow footballers who play in their competitions to have a financial interest in gambling companies.

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The Aftonbladet report - headlined "Zlatan broke FIFA's rules" - claims that the Swedish FA has been aware of the problem for three years and this is part of the reason why the forward wasn't called up for the 2018 World Cup.

Ibra originally retired from international football in 2016 (before returning last month), however he did hint in 2018 that he might consider returning for the World Cup in Russia. But things went quiet before the tournament began.

As reported in the Daily Mail, Ibrahimovic's company is the fourth largest owner in Bethard. His participation is being closely monitored by FIFA and UEFA - and the end result could be an eye-watering fine and/or a ban from football for up to three years.

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Zlatan - Sweden's record scorer with 62 goals - was announced as an ambassador and co-owner of Bethard in 2018.

"I have obviously been intensively courted by betting companies throughout my career, but up until now I have not been presented to anything that has triggered me," he said in a statement at the time.

"With Bethard, there was something different. It's a company with Swedish roots, the founders are from my home town and they are true challengers who really wants to do things differently."

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According to Sportsmail, the story first emerged in March 2018, when the general secretary of the Swedish Football Association, Hakan Sjjstrand, said: "According to FIFA's regulations and code of ethics, no player may directly or indirectly own shares in betting companies.

"I stick to the facts and can only account for what applies to all nations and players who will participate in the World Cup."

The news has broken just as Ibrahimovic, who has 17 goals in 25 games for AC Milan this season, was set to sign a contract extension to keep him at the Serie A club.

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All imagery: PA Images

Topics: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, AC Milan, Sweden

Alex Reid
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