EA counterattacks FIFA 21’s image rights line when player agents threaten legal action •

EA argues that the ongoing battle for footballer image rights is an attempt to bring FIFA 21 into a dispute between footballers, their agents, and the player’s union and has nothing to do with the game itself. doing.

This week, football superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed that EA was using his name and face in FIFA 21 without permission and declared “it’s time to investigate.”

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In a tweet, 39-year-old AC Milan striker wondered who gave EA permission to use his name and face in a $ 1 billion mega franchise annually.

Ibrahimovic turned his finger to the FIFPro, a global representative of professional footballers who claimed he was unaware. EA (and actually PES developer Konami) permits the use of thousands of footballers through FIFPro each year.

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Spurs star Gareth Bale joins Ibrahimovic and asks FIFPro.

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Yesterday, EA issued a statement in response to Zlatan’s tweet, telling Eurogamer that it has worked with FIFPro for years to secure portrait rights for FIFA game players.

In addition, the EA signed a partnership agreement with both Milan clubs in July, including the use of AC Milan kits, players and stadiums. This was a publicly announced transaction prior to the launch of FIFA 21 earlier this year, and the promotional image also included Ibrahimovic.

However, the dispute escalated yesterday after player agents threatened legal action against EA.

Ibrahimovic agent Mino Raiola tweeted that FIFPro and AC Milan “do not have the player’s personal rights” and accused EA Sports of knowing this, he “many times” to the company. Insisted that he said.

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In another tweet, Raiola claimed that EA Sports had “dodged” him for 10 years on the issue of player rights, and then threatened to take legal action. “Maybe now you reply, or only in court?”

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In the world of football, there seems to be a ruckus over the rights of video game players. The Guardian said, “Given that many prominent players include image rights transactions in favor of most contracts, they are eligible to receive a portion of the proceeds from using their portraits in the game. I instructed the representative to find out if there is any. “

Gareth Bale’s agent, Jonathan Barnett, said the Guardian’s potential legal action was “something under investigation.”

“At this point, the player is not receiving any rewards,” he said. “Our big complaint is that FIFA has put out a lot of rules and regulations that say it’s in the best interests of the players, but obviously it’s not.”

Premier League clubs sell video game licenses in bulk. However, Serie A Club does not open the door to individual contracts for clubs such as Ibrahimovic’s AC Milan.

In response to recent developments, EA has issued a powerful new statement claiming that FIFA 21 is being dragged into a conflict between third parties and that all players in the game have rights. ..

“We are aware of the discussion about player licensing in EASports FIFA,” EA told Eurogamer. “The current situation on social media is an attempt to bring FIFA 21 into many third-party disputes and has little to do with EA Sports.

“For clarity, we have contractual rights to include portraits of all players currently in the game. As already mentioned, these licenses are for leagues, teams, and individual players. Get directly from the players. In addition, you can include as many players as possible to work with FIFPro to create the most authentic games.

“In these cases, our right to portraits of players is granted through a club contract with AC Milan and a long-standing exclusive partnership with the Premier League, which includes all Tottenham Hotspur players.”

Ibrahimovic was included in a promotional image of FIFA 21’s EA deal with AC Milan.

That sounds clear, but what’s really going on here? This controversy may have something to do with FIFPro’s support for agent reform.

In January 2020, FIFA proposed a series of reforms for football agents “to protect football integrity and prevent abuse.”

Here’s what FIFA said at the time:

“The comprehensive purpose here is to increase transparency, protect the well-being of players, increase contract stability, and raise professional and ethical standards. In other words, unfortunately it exists in football. It is to eliminate or at least reduce the abusive and excessive practices that have been.

“FIFA, as the governing body of football, is responsible for addressing and regulating these issues. We are not the current savage diet, but a balanced and rational one with conflicts of interest and exorbitant missions. We are aiming for a system of regulation. “Earning left and right”

According to FIFA, football agents earned $ 653.9 million in 2019. This is four times that of 2015.

The reform package caps fees “to avoid excessive and abusive practices”, limits multiple representatives “to avoid conflicts of interest”, and “to raise professional standards” agents. Reintroduce the mandatory licensing system to “disclose and publish all agents” to increase transparency, improve the reliability of the transfer system, and support related work in transfer to support the enforcement of new regulations.

Agents, including Raiola and Burnett, oppose these reforms. “FIFA says a lot, but most of it isn’t right,” Burnett said at the time (thanks,

“We want fairness. We are doing a very good job and acting for our players.

“We don’t act for FIFA. FIFA needs to recognize us and treat us properly. The truth is that FIFA doesn’t know exactly what agents are doing. I’m probably the biggest in the world. I’m one of the agents and I know them. I’ve never been to my office and never talked to me.

“I think it’s what they think they can vote for them and get the masses on their side. I think it’s trash. Ask the players what they want and they agree with the agent. And I’m never dissatisfied with the agent’s fees. From the players. “

The timing of this controversy is also worth investigating. The EA recently signed a multi-million pound deal with David Beckham, with a former English star appearing on the Ultimate Team in the form of three icon cards, which will be available in packs starting in December.

Ibrahimovic claimed he didn’t know about his involvement with FIFPro, but he attended FIFPro World 11 in 2013 and was in Zurich for the FIFA Ballon d’Or ceremony in January 2014.

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And it’s worth noting that both Ibrahimovic and Veil have previously collaborated with EA Sports in FIFA games. In January 2017, when Ibrahimovic was scoring a goal for Manchester United, he took a picture with the FIFA 17 Ultimate Team Premier League Player of the Month card in December 2016. He also interviewed EA about the card.


And Veil was on the cover of FIFA 14 alongside Lionel Messi in Barcelona.


So it’s no wonder that at the beginning of November 2020, FIFA confirmed that new player agent regulations would be introduced next year and started talks on the third round.

Agents will be consulted from now until the spring of 2021, and all agents will receive proposed regulations and seek feedback. The rules will then be pushed forward for approval by the FIFA Council between March and June next year before they come into force in September.

With regard to EA Sports, the level of protest from well-known soccer players is now rising. There is definitely more to follow on social media. Will legal action succeed? In June of this year, 450 Brazilian players won a R $ 6.5 million settlement after the Santa Catarina Athletes Union filed a proceeding against EA Sports.

And in 2003, legendary German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn won the proceedings against EA. The court ruled that EA included a person who looked like Khan in the FIFA World Cup 2002 without the approval of the goalkeeper. Kahn is believed to be the first professional football player to file a proceeding against his representative in the game.

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