Football icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been fined $61,000 by UEFA for “having a financial interest in a betting company”. The penalty comes in light of the Swede being appointed ambassador of Bethard, a Malta-based firm, in 2018.
News of the development, which comes at the conclusion of an investigation launched by the European football governing body last month, broke on Wednesday afternoon.
Specifically, the veteran was found guilty of violating Article 12(2)(b) of UEFA’s Disciplinary Regulations.
The rules make reference to any individual participating “directly or indirectly in betting or similar activities relating to competition matches or who has a direct or indirect financial interest in such activities”.
While reports in his homeland spread panic that the target man faced a three-year-ban, which, at 39, would have effectively ended his career, UEFA opted to fine him €50,000 ($61,000) instead with an action “aimed at ceasing the player’s association with the relevant betting company”.
In addition, Ibrahimovic’s employers AC Milan were also hit with a $30,500 fine.
But now the two parties can put the scandal behind them and move forward together.
Signing a new contract at the weekend, for one more year at the Rossoneri, Zlatan will once again star in the Champions League after his team finished runners-up in the Serie A to bitter rivals Inter.
Failing to feature in the continent’s showpiece club tournament since 2012/2013, their qualification sparked scenes of jubilation on the streets of the Italian fashion capital.
“We are not alone,” he captioned a short film of the last matchday on Sunday, where fans let off flares, flew flags and raised banners as the team bus presumably made its way to Bergamo.
There Milan beat hosts Atalanta 2-0 thanks to a Franck Kessie brace of penalties, and thus leapfrogged their rivals – who had previously been second – in the table.
Still harboring hopes of representing Sweden at Euro 2020, Zlatan posted a defiant “It’s not over until I say it’s over” message on social media along with a video of him putting in the hard yards on an exercise bike.
Ruled out due to a knee injury, he was not on Janne Andersson’s 26-man squad list last week, but seems not to be given up hope of representing his country at a major tournament one last time.
Posting an MRI scan to Twitter, the near-million viewers might have expected the latest on his knock.
Instead though, they were met by a hand which then raised a middle finger, and for this Zlatan was told to “grow up” by some.