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:
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.
Some didn’t want every Russian national being tarred with the same brush.
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.
Still more implored EA not to remove Lev Yashin, a Soviet footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time.
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.