MILAN, ITALY – APRIL 03: Zlatan Ibrahimovic of A.C. Milan reacts during the Serie A match between AC Milan and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on April 03, 2021 in Milan, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is reportedly facing a potential three-year ban from football which would force him into early retirement.
The Swedish striker, who turns 40 in October, is in danger of seeing his career brought to an abrupt and unceremonious end.
The Sun and The Daily Mail cite Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet as reporting that Zlatan could be in trouble for investing in a Malta-based betting company.
Ibrahimovic owns 10 percent of Bethard, a gambling company with offices in Malta, through his business Unknown AB.
However, neither FIFA nor UEFA allows players participating in their competitions to have financial interests in gambling companies.
The Sun claims FIFA’s ethical rules state that anyone who violates the rules faces a fine and a ban from all football-related activities for a maximum of three years.
The original report also details that the Swedish Football Association have been aware of the issue for three years and it is the reason why the world-class forward wasn’t called up for the 2018 World Cup.
Zlatan retired from international football in 2016 before making a shock return to the Sweden team in March.
Despite his advancing years, the striker is still a hugely effective goalscorer. In 25 appearances for AC Milan this season, Ibra has netted 17 goals.
Zlatan was first 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 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.”
Swedish FA general secretary Hakan Sjjstrand, meanwhile, said this week: “I do not speculate on possible sanctions.
“But of course continue to push for clarity in Fifa’s regulations as there is frankly a lot of ambiguity in how it should be interpreted.”
It would be a huge shame if this did result in the end of Zlatan’s illustrious career.