Yesterday, EA Sports announced it would remove the national Russian team and Russian clubs from FIFA 22. The announcement came as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its second week. As the news spread, the game’s community has begun to react.
Here’s the original statement:
A statement from EA SPORTS FIFA: pic.twitter.com/v3pZvpblgS
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) March 2, 2022
In addition to the national team, FIFA 22 contains three Russian Premier League teams — Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow, and PFC CSKA Moscow. All three will be removed.
An interesting thing to note about this statement is that it doesn’t reveal the fate of individual Russian players in the game. Clubs and teams will be removed, but it is understood that players will remain.
The community reactions to the news have run the gamut from the supportive to the concerned, to the absolutely cooked.
Some asked if there was more EA could be doing to support Ukraine beyond what is ultimately a move to ensure continued smooth PR.
Could have had something where you could help Ukraine or something like that, I don’t realistically think getting rid of Russian PNG’s in a video game is going to do much lads
— Cerulean (@CeruleanCutie) March 2, 2022
Some didn’t want every Russian national being tarred with the same brush.
For what reason exactly?
How does this help or go towards resolving anything?
Most russians I know, do NOT agree with the invasion. Why are we punishing the Russian people when there’s only one Russian who has ordered this war?
Companies Virtue Signal to make them look…
— KaiQom (@KaiQom) March 2, 2022
Others expressed a desire for FUT cards of Ukrainian football manager Andriy Schevchenko. Schevchenko played for Dynamo Kyiv, AC Milan, Chelsea, and the Ukrainian national team in the ’90s and 2000s. He returned to Dynamo Kyiv in 2009 and retired in 2012 to begin a career in politics.
Free Shevchenko cards if you’re against the war pic.twitter.com/W9tEreZJNv
— X84 🇧🇼🦈 (@SkyBlueForLife) March 2, 2022
Still more implored EA not to remove Lev Yashin, a Soviet footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
Please don’t remove Yashin
— Stephen A. Smith Burner’s Burner (@TheSASBurner) March 2, 2022
Beyond the memes and goofs that always accompany posts like this, there was also a lot of anger that EA was saying anything at all. Beyond the usual blasts of whataboutism and questions about what a move like this accomplishes, the broad vibe was a sense that EA’s motives were less than genuine.
There’s no reason to believe they aren’t genuine. A show of support in a game of FIFA 22‘s size, value, and importance to EA is a meaningful one. EA has shown before that it is willing to pull content from the game based on serious real-world events. Nevertheless, the community is certainly regarding the announcement with scepticism.
We’ve reached out to EA Australia this morning to confirm if players like Yashin will remain in the game, or if they’re all facing the axe along with the clubs. We’ll update this piece when we know more.