While EA Sports created positive headlines for an 11th hour deal to secure Brazilian teams in FIFA 16 earlier in the week, today they have been forced to remove a number of female players from the football sim only a few days out from its official release.
This year’s entry sees the inclusion of women’s football for the first time ever in the form of 12 national teams, following the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015. According to the publisher, the NCAA, the US regulatory body for collegiate sports, recently informed them that the 13 female players included in the game who are currently attending or likely to attend NCAA-sanctioned schools in the US would be risking their eligibility for collegiate athletics by being included in FIFA 16.
As a result, EA has begrudgingly removed the players in question from the game entirely, which is already available to selected Xbox One users via its EA Access subscription service. In a press release, a spokesman for the publisher said:
“We do not agree with this position. All rights were secured following standard protocol with national governing bodies and federations, and none of these NCAA student-athletes or potential student athletes were to be individually compensated by EA SPORTS for their inclusion in the game.
We believe this decision denies these 13 athletes the opportunity to represent their countries in the game, but we have removed them from FIFA 16 to ensure there is no risk to their eligibility.”
The full list of affected players is as follows:
Kadeisha Buchanan, Canada
Jessie Fleming, Canada
Ashley Lawrence, Canada
Janine Beckie, Canada
Rebecca Quinn, Canada
Sura Yekka, Canada
Celia Jiménez, Spain
Tanya Samarzich, Mexico
Greta Espinoza, Mexico
Christina Murillo, Mexico
Amanda Perez, Mexico
Emily Alvarado, Mexico
Maria Sanchez, Mexico
FIFA 16 is scheduled to launch in North America across current and last-gen systems on September 22, with the UK release coming on September 24.