It’s a simple truth: A club that is relegated out of a league appearing in EA Sports’ FIFA runs the risk of getting relegated out of the video game, too. For the more popular sides, this usually isn’t much of a threat, and in any event many of the biggest leagues run two divisions deep, so a one-year slipup isn’t going to result in an exile.
Rangers F.C. is quite a different story. It’s one of the Scottish Premier League’s two most popular clubs, but it won’t be playing in the SPL next year because the club’s financial troubles have, essentially, forced the liquidation of the old club and the formation of a new one, albeit one using the old colours and name. Next year, Rangers have been assigned to the Scottish league’s third division, which does not appear in FIFA.
So if EA Sports still wants to feature one of the world’s most popular clubs, it’s going to have to cut a separate deal, possibly one that includes the blessing of the Scottish Premier League, too.
An EA Sports spokesman told The Independent that “we will take [the league's] direction regarding the 12th club,” to appear in the place of Rangers. As for Rangers, it’s true that FIFA has a pool of “other clubs” that are popular, but their full leagues don’t appear.
This morning I asked EA Sports if FIFA 13 was looking at putting Rangers in that other-clubs pool and the label declined to answer that. Yesterday, a spokesman told the Independent that they haven’t made a decision whether to pursue a separate licensing agreement.
EA Sports can and does strike deals with individual clubs all the time — they announced a special partnership today with Tottenham Hotspur — though it maybe helps that’s the favoured side of Matt Bilbey, the general manager in charge of EA’s football products. Conceivably including Rangers wouldn’t run the label afoul of its licence with the SPL, but it’s interesting that that club’s financial woes faces FIFA 13 with paying extra itself or also disappointing fans.
Rangers shunned by Electronic Arts’ Fifa 13 game [Independent]