Ibrahimovic and Raiola against Fifa 21: what happened

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and manager Mino Raiola against Fifa 21 for using the footballer's name and image in the video game

The footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Twitter attacked EA Sports for using his name and image in the popular video game Fifa 21 without permission. An outburst also supported by the player's agent, Mino Raiola, and other soccer stars such as Gareth Bale.

On the day in which Ibrahimovic has made official the muscle injury that will not allow him to take the field in the coming weeks, the player has become the protagonist of an outburst against Fifa 21 and Fifpro for the use of his image. One of the most appreciated features by the fans of the videogame is the possibility to play using their favourite players and clubs for the matches. The controversy raised by Ibrahimovic could lead to a historic clash, with other players ready to join forces to protect the exploitation of their image and with unexpected implications for the football simulator.

Fifa 21, Ibrahimovic and Raiola's attack

Ibrahimovic's attack on Fifa 21 and Fifpro came as a surprise. The Swedish footballer wrote on Twitter: "Who gave Fifa Ea Sport permission to use my name and my face? Fifpro? I am not aware that I am a member of Fifpro, and if I am, I was put there without any real knowledge in a strange maneuver. And for sure, I have never authorized Fifa or Fifpro to make money using my image."

The footballer's outburst against Fifa 21 continues in a second tweet from his official account, "Someone is making profit with my name and face without any agreement for so many years. It's time to investigate." Raising the footballer's words was also his agent Mino Raiola, who always on Twitter writes: "I hope we will soon have answers to our letter now".

The controversy triggered by Ibrahimovic and his agent has also been followed by other footballers, such as Englishman Gareth Bale who replied: "Interesting...what is Fifpro?". A sign that this attack is bound to cause discussion and raise an issue that will not go away soon or easily.

Ibrahimovic case: EA Sports' response

The company EA Sports promptly responded to Ibrahimovic, recalling that the football simulator has been using players' names and images for years: "EA SPORTS FIFA is the world's leading soccer video game and, to create an authentic experience, year after year we work with numerous leagues, teams and individual talents to secure the likeness rights of the players we include."

The company developing Fifa 21 added: "One of these is a long-standing relationship with the global representative of professional footballers, FIFPro, which works with a number of licensees to negotiate agreements that benefit players and their unions."

Fifpro: what is it and why is it important for Fifa

The Fifa 21 football simulator is much loved by fans and one of its strengths is precisely the ability to use their favorite players as players and engage in matches with their favorite team against other clubs. The video game uses the name of the players and their image, but also the perfect reproduction of the physical characteristics at a technical level, with movements and data on the speed and strength very realistic.

To be able to do this, the company Ea Sports in the nineties has made an agreement with Fifpro, the union of footballers, to develop the first Fifa that today reaches the Fifa 21 edition. However, it was an agreement that was born only for the names, while over the years the videogame has become more and more realistic.

Usually EA Sports deals with the licenses directly with the leagues and with the single clubs, paying very high amounts of money to obtain them, but in Italy no agreement has been made. This is why Juventus, for example, after having signed an exclusive agreement with rival football simulator PES, has become "Piemonte Calcio" on Fifa 20 and Fifa 21.

The issue becomes more complicated because in 2021 Milan, the club for which Ibrahimovic plays, has granted exclusivity to EA Sports authorizing the reproduction in the videogame of the official kit of shirts, the San Siro stadium and other exclusive content.