Popular footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been quite vocal lately in regards to EA Sports' likeness rights, or what he claims are lack thereof, and now his agent Mino Raiola doubled down on the stance.
In case you're just tuning in, Ibrahimovic has been protesting EA Sports' FIFA franchise and its usage of his image likeness, claiming he's never given the company the permission to do so.
EA issued a statement dismissing the allegations brought forward by the forward. The company stressed they take great care to secure rights to players likenesses via proper channels, i.e. the FIFPro organisation, which is what they have always done.
Ibrahimovic's response, however, read, "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 manouver. And for sure I never allowed FIFAcom or Fifpro to make money using me". His Facebook post added that neither FIFA, FIFPro or EA Sports "own me, but they do OWE me."
Speaking to TalkSPORT's Simon Jordan, Raiola said EA's statement is "nonsense" and that the company is merely "washing their hands" of the fact that they have been using the likenesses of players they had no right to. He claims FIFA 21 developer has been dodging them for years, and that this must stop.
Raiola ultimately went to brass tacks and conceded, "It's always about money", focusing on the fact that EA isn't exactly a charity either. Asked why they didn't take the company to court then, Raiola said, "all in good time."
EA has since issued another statement, saying:
"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 3rd 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.”