AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimović has been fined €50,000 by the Appeals Body of UEFA, following an investigation into the Swedish player’s financial investment in the Bethard Group online betting operator.
The investigation was launched last month, following reports by Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that Ibrahimović – Sweden’s highest-profile footballer – owned a reported 10% shareholding in the Malta-based operator.
UEFA appointed a disciplinary inspectorate to examine whether Ibrahimović interest in Bethard, had violated terms of its rules on the ‘ethics and integrity of football’ – prohibiting athletes from maintaining financial interests in gambling firms.
Pedro Tomas, Chairman of UEFA’s Appeals Body, confirmed this morning that Ibrahimović had been fined for violating ‘Article 12’ of European football’s ‘Disciplinary Regulations’.
Ibrahimović’ has escaped UEFA’s harshest penalty attached to player integrity violations, which carries a maximum three-year ban from professional football. The striker has also been ordered to immediately terminate his association with Bethard.
Meanwhile, a €25,000 penalty was imposed on AC Milan, Ibrahimović’s current football club, with UEFA issuing a further disciplinary warning to the Rossoneri for allowing its player to have a financial interest with an online betting company.
This week, Gameday Group, the operating company of Bethard, confirmed that it had reached definitive terms to sell its sportsbook asset to Nasdaq-listed operator Esports Entertainment Group (EEG) for €16 million cash.
Dealmakers anticipate the acquisition to be closed by H2 trading, with Gameday outlining that its business will now focus on B2B services following the sale of Bethard.