By 90Min
April 04, 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic made headlines around the world at the weekend when he scored two goals on his debut for new club LA Galaxy, one of which was a stunning half-volley from distance. But now the latest story about the Swede centres on his eligibility for the World Cup in summer.

The tabloid press have jumped on a piece of gossip that suggests Ibrahimovic's new partnership with betting company Bethard, a bookmaker officially licensed in Malta but with origins in the player's home-town of Malmo in southern Sweden, could rule him out of contention.

Almost gleefully, the papers say that he could be barred from competing at the World Cup because of a breach of FIFA's Code of Ethics.

The potential problem arises because of chapter four, rule 25.

It reads: "Persons bound by this code shall be forbidden from taking part in, either directly or indirectly, or otherwise being associated with, betting, gambling, lotteries and similar events or transactions connected with football matches.

TOPSHOT-FBL-US-IBRAHIMOVIC-LA GALAXY

"They are forbidden from having stakes, either actively or passively, in companies, concerns, organisations, etc. that promote, broker, arrange or conduct such events on transactions."

Whether the 36-year-old has actually breached regulations simply by being a brand ambassador remains to be seen. Surely his team of lawyers and advisers wouldn't have allowed such a deal to happen if there were negative consequences attached to it.

The other thing to note is that this is a 'FIFA ethics code', not a 'World Cup ethics code'. It is perpetually binding in any FIFA affiliated league and so if Zlatan has breached it, again, that seems unlikely, it would mean he has a problem now and not just on the speculative off-chance he comes out of international retirement to be picked for Sweden's final squad.

Having quit the national team after a disappointing Euro 2016, the very notion of him even coming out of international retirement is increasingly laughable.

This is a player who revels in feeding crumbs to media outlets and watching the frenzy that unfolds thereafter. He did it all the way through the build up to unveiling his new club in 2016 and his 'hints' in recent months over a possible World Cup comeback simply seem like more of the same to anyone willing to scratch just a little below the thin surface.

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