The group led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is getting bigger and bigger with approximately 300 players ready to join the Swede footballer against Electronic Arts Inc., the giant videogame developer, which publishes FIFA2021.
Everything started with a twit by Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The 39-year old footballer rhetorically asked on Twitter who gave EA Sport the right to use his name and face in the popular FIFA 2021 videogame. Ibra added, in a second twit, that somebody has been making money using his image rights without being properly authorized. In other words, as you may know, the players in FIFA 2021 not only they have the same names of the real players and teams, but they also look much alike.
And this is the point of Ibrahimovic: who authorized you to use my likeness without permission?!? After clarifying in the second twitter what the real object is: money! Of course, money! What else, Ibra??? And when you put together money and Ibrahimovic… someone else is ready to pop up in no time: the super-agent Mino Raiola who has declared war to FIFA and to FIFPro, which is the worldwide representative organization of thousands of professional footballers.
According to Mino Raiola, it seems that more than 300 other players are ready to protect their own rights suing whichever company or organization has sold or, anyhow, monetized from unlawful use of footballers’ image rights. We do not know whether this modern Leonidas is marching with 300 footballers or not. What we know, however, is that another well-known footballer got Ibrahimovic’s attention: Gareth Bale. The Walsh responding to Ibrahimovic on Twitter, agreed that this matter needs to be investigated further. And, here we go, Mino Leonidas took over.
In a recent interview to the Telegraph, Raiola reported that he will change the system and he will make sure that people who do not own the image rights won’t sell them anymore. He added that he will refrain FIFA from treating footballers like “slaves”. Honestly, we do not know who is right or wrong; I bet a court will find it out soon enough but football and slavery in the same sentence sound a bit weird. I cannot possibly see how Mino Raiola sees his clients as slaves.
The point of Mino Raiola is clear enough: the individual image rights do not belong to anyone else except for the same footballers. Based on this, it is up to each footballer to sell the relevant rights to EA Sports or not. I repeat, we are not in a position to establish who is right or wrong, but that word “slaves” repulses me…
According to FIFPro, the entire deal is legit since the trade union of footballers acquired the rights from each league’s governing body which has acquired them from each individual player. So far, FIFPro did not receive any further reply from Ibrahimovic-Raiola gang. And also, if for Ibrahimovic it seems to a way to make more money, it seems that Mino Raiola is looking much higher than money. This stance looks like a political position against FIFA. What our Mino Leonidas is planning to do?!?