4 December 2020CopyrightRory O' Neill

Zlatan Ibrahimović rebukes EA Sports in image rights row

AC Milan footballer Zlatan Ibrahimović has hit out at FIFA and video game developer EA Sports for allegedly profiting from his image rights without permission.

EA issued a statement insisting it had fully licensed the rights to use players’ images in its flagship title “FIFA 21”, after facing  criticism from the Milan forward last month. According to EA, “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 response to EA’s statement, Ibrahimović again used Twitter yesterday, December 2, to question the developer’s right to use his image. “It’s not about collective image rights,”  Ibrahimović said, continuing: “Your games are based on individual image rights.

“You did not buy it from FIFPro because they told us. You did not buy it from AC Milan because they told us. You also did not buy it from me. Who did you buy it from then?” FIFPro is the FIFA-affiliated players’ representative body, which licenses image rights to companies such as EA.

But in his initial post on the topic last month, Ibrahimović said he was “not aware to be a member of FIFProand if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manoeuvre”. The “FIFA” series is one of the most popular video game franchises in history, with almost 300 million sales since its first release in 1993.

It is officially licensed by the sport’s governing body, distinguishing it from rival titles such as “Pro Evolution”. Ibrahimović himself appeared on the cover of the Swedish edition of “FIFA 2002”, and is among the most successful players of his generation. The Swedish forward counts Inter Milan, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Paris Saint-German among his former clubs, and has made 116 international appearances for his country.

He appeared to receive the support of Tottenham player Gareth Bale on Twitter, who replied to Ibrahimović’s initial tweet  commenting: “Interesting... what is @FIFPro? #TimeToInvestigate”.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

Jurisdiction reports
25 August 2022   In some rare cases, a trademark’s social message must be considered when assessing if there’s a conflict, argues Claudio Balboni of Bugnion.
1 February 2021   Nintendo secured a pair of injunctions at a Barcelona court last month, ordering internet service providers to block sites facilitating a workaround of its piracy security systems.