EA Sports and FIFPro have today both issued damning statements regarding recent claims made by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mino Raiola and Gareth Bale.
On Wednesday, AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic made a number of claims regarding EA Sports and FIFA 21, taking to social media to claim the company had used his likeness without permission.
There were further tweets throughout the day from his agent Mino Raiola and Tottenham Hotspur winger Bale, who were also critical of both EA Sports and FIFPro.
On Thursday, Raiola made further claims in a written interview and on national radio.
For the first time, FIFPro have officially responded to the claims made by Ibrahimovic, Raiola and Bale, regarding images rights and the video gaming industry.
In a statement, FIFPro told Mirror Football: “In light of recent media reports, FIFPRO wishes to clarify the manner in which it obtains the image rights of players, and its role in defending the employment rights of professional footballers worldwide.
“FIFPRO, a not-for-profit organisation, acquires image rights via player unions in nearly 60 countries. These rights are made available to Electronic Arts and other clients in the video gaming industry.
“FIFPRO’s relationship with the video gaming companies complements separate arrangements they directly agree with clubs, leagues, governing bodies and individual players.
“FIFPRO member unions decide how best to use the revenue generated, either by distributing funds directly among players or providing services in kind such as legal advice, second-career planning and mental and physical assistance.
“FIFPro is reaching out to the players and their representation that have recently raised concerns so we can address their questions.
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“As the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacts the football industry, we are proud of our member unions for having supported tens of thousands of footballers around the world.”
EA Sports have also directly responded to well-known football agent Raiola and the claims that have been made on various platforms in recent days.
In response to Mino Raiola’s statements, EA Sports told Mirror Football: “Mino Raiola is a respected player representative who we have partnered with for many years, including this year when our relationship ensured his client Erling Haaland would be part of our FIFA 21 marketing campaign.
“We have also enjoyed a great working relationship with Zlatan Ibrahimović, who has appeared in every FIFA since 2002 and regularly received awards as part of our FUT experience.
“Gareth Bale’s eSports Company Elleven utilises our FIFA game as a key platform for his professional eSports athletes and we’re confident Gareth and his team see significant value in our partnership, as evidenced through this recently released content.“
These statements seem only to highlight further that the claims made by Zlatan, Raiola and Bale are not really about EA Sports’ FIFA games, but more about FIFPro and FIFA’s planned agent reforms.
Both Ibrahimovic and Bale, along with their names and likenesses, have both featured in numerous previous FIFA games.
Meanwhile, as mentioned by EA Sports’ in their statement, Raiola client Erling Haaland features heavily in the promotional material for the latest FIFA game, FIFA 21.
Ibrahimovic, during his time at Manchester United, even posed with his FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Premier League Player of the Month card awarded in January 2017.
In addition, EA Sports are currently the official video game partner of both Spurs and AC Milan, with the latter having entered into multi-year exclusive licensing agreement with EA Sports back in August for FIFA 21 and beyond, with the partnership including player, kit and stadium rights.
Additionally, while Bale had not yet joined Spurs then, veteran striker Ibrahimovic featured heavily in the promotional pictures that were released to announce Milan’s agreement.
Earlier, during an interview with talkSPORT, former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan had labelled Raiola “a parasite” as he attempted to quiz the agent on his motives over the current situation – only to see Raiola put down the phone and exit the interview.
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*FIFA 21 is out now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. The next generation version of FIFA 21 is set to be released on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and PlayStation 5 on December 4, 2020.
Additionally, fans who jump into FIFA 21 can also benefit from Dual Entitlement, enabling them to upgrade their copy of the game from PlayStation 4 to PlayStation 5, or Xbox One to Xbox Series X/S at no extra cost.*