Gaming studio Electronic Arts say it will be removing the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from its FIFA games – FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online.
FIFA 22 is one of EA’s most popular games – in late 2021, it was estimated the game was played in over 200 nations with an average of 89 million matches played daily.
EA SPORTS will also move to remove Russian and Belarusian teams from its hockey game, NHL 22.
It’s unknown when the teams will be removed from the games although EA SPORTS NHL said the removal could take place in the “coming weeks”.
EA’s move comes just days after FIFA and UEFA temporarily suspended Russia’s national and club teams from all competitions.
And it doesn’t just stop there – the International Paralympic Committee has since moved to block Russian and Belarusian athletes from the ongoing Beijing Winter Paralympics.
Ukraine’s deputy prime minister has also called on game developers and esports platforms to pull their business from Russia and called for Russian and Belarusian teams to be dropped from esports events.
Esports operator ESL has already moved to drop organisations with ties to the Russian government and at least two teams, Virtus.pro and Gambit, have been excluded from competitions, although ESL also said its players were welcome to compete under a neutral name, without country, organisation or sponsors’ representations.
At least one of the teams, Virtus.pro, has protested the move.
*Featured image from FIFA 22
By Samantha Chan \ 09:30, 4 March 2022