Zlatan Ibrahimović and Gareth Bale are amongst a number of footballers who have called into question EA Sports’ video game image rights on its FIFA series.
According to the BBC, footballers around the world, are consulting with their lawyers with regards to any possible rights breaches into how video games, namely EA Sports’ FIFA, use their names and faces.
The issue was sparked from a tweet by Zlatan Ibrahimović who said: ‘Who gave FIFA EA Sport permission to use my name and face? @FIFPro? I’m not aware to be a member of Fifpro and if I am I was put there without any real knowledge through some weird manoeuvre. And for sure I never allowed @FIFAcom or Fifpro to make money using me.’
He added: ‘Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years. Time to investigate.’
Tottenham Hotspur star Gareth Bale followed up on the tweet: ‘Interesting... what is @Fifpro?’ and used the hashtag #TimeToInvestigate.
The FIFA video game series has become one of the most popular in the world and the recently released FIFA 21 game features over 7,000 real-life players within the game, as well as 700 teams and are licensed to include leagues and badges such as the English Premier League, the Spanish La Liga and Champions League.
Speaking to BBC Sport Wales, EA Sports said: “To be very clear, we have contractual rights to include the likeness of all players currently in our game.
“We are aware of discussions around licensing of players in EA Sports FIFA.
“The current situation being played out on social media is an attempt to draw FIFA 21 into a dispute between a number of third parties and has little to do with EA Sports.”
The BBC also stated that a similar case arose over the summer where in Brazil, players won a settlement of 6.5 million real (roughly £900,000) after a case was brought against EA Sports.
EA Sports are required to hold the licenses of teams to have them feature in their games, as became evident after they lost the use of two Serie A sides, Juventus in the FIFA 20 game and later AS Roma in the most recent FIFA 21. The games developer were left unable to feature either team’s badges, kits or even their names. Juventus are now known as ‘Piemonte Calcio’ in the game and AS Roma renamed to ‘Roma FC’.
Fifpro are a global players’ union who are in charge of negotiating deals to sell collective image rights on behalf of national player unions and their members.
Their website claims that “A player's name, image and performance may only be commercially utilised with his or her consent”, which according to the claim made by Ibrahimović, was not done so in his case, suggesting the possible motive for his public outburst.
Author: Jake Wilkin