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Konami and Diego Maradona settle PES 2017 likeness dispute

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Maradona to serve as brand ambassador

Diego Maradona - The Best FIFA Football Awards
Diego Maradona in an exhibition game prior to the Best FIFA Football Awards 2016 on Jan. 9, 2017, in Zurich, Switzerland.
Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Diego Maradona and Konami, the publisher of Pro Evolution Soccer 2017, have reached an out-of-court settlement regarding their dispute over his appearance in the game, reports El Eco de Tandil.

While the financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, Konami will now compensate Maradona for the use of his name and likeness in the Pro Evolution Soccer franchise. El Eco reports that under the deal, which the parties expect to sign later this month and which runs from now until 2020, the Argentine soccer legend will promote the game on Konami’s behalf.

Maradona had enlisted his own lawyer, Matias Morla, and another attorney named Mauricio D’Alessandro to work on figuring out how to proceed against Konami. D’Alessandro traveled to Miami last month for research to build their case, where he obtained “at least two records of athletes affected by using their image against their will,” he told El Eco. It’s clear that Konami took the legal threat seriously — Takayuki Kubo, the president of the company’s gaming division, flew to Argentina himself last week to work with Maradona and his attorneys on a resolution, according to El Eco.

PES 2017 was released in September 2016, but it appears that Maradona only caught wind of his appearance in the game in late March. He posted a screenshot of himself in the game on his official Facebook page, along with a note saying that his attorney would “initiate the corresponding legal actions” against Konami. Maradona and other soccer greats, both past and present, are available in MyClub, the franchise mode in PES 2017.

As for the money that Konami will pay to Maradona, the footballer previously pledged to donate the funds. El Eco reports that the money will go toward efforts to support amateur sports throughout Argentina, including the construction of soccer fields. In a similar case, NFL legend Jim Brown sued Madden NFL publisher Electronic Arts in 2008 over the company’s practice of putting all-time great football teams — including Brown’s 1964 Cleveland Browns — in the Madden games. Last year, EA paid him $600,000 in a settlement of that lawsuit.