An open letter to EA Sports to add women’s clubs to ‘FIFA’

EA Sports... they SHOULD be in the game.

Match official Sian Massey-Ellis.
Match official Sian Massey-Ellis with the EA Sports badge and Not Today Or Any Day campaign slogan on their shirt during the Carabao Cup third round match at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich.(Photo by Carl Recine)

As an avid gamer, the two games that I play the most are the sports titles NBA 2K from Visual Concepts and FIFA from EA Sports. I’ve been playing these games for at least 11 years now. In that time, I have seen ZERO female solo cover athletes until now.

WNBA superstar and broadcaster Candace Parker recently became the first WNBA player to appear on the cover of a NBA 2K title. Being a cover athlete is vital for exposure and a huge reward for a stellar season. In the sports gaming world, you’re aware that if someone gets a cover they are either super marketable or at the top of their game. Candace Parker is both.

I respect and admire NBA 2K for their ability to adapt and understand that female athletes deserve recognition and deserve to be seen.

Representation matters

In 2019, NBA 2K added the entire WNBA roster into the game for NBA 2K20. A year later, personalised MyCareer and online modes were created specifically for the WNBA.

What’s stopping you, EA?

Why aren’t women’s clubs in FIFA?

Obviously, I acknowledge that women’s international teams were in FIFA 20 and FIFA 21 on the back of the 2019 Women’s World Cup. But even then, the player ratings didn’t reflect the actual players. There were also hardly any game faces and barely any squad updates. It was a lacklustre effort that barely scratched the surface.

You can’t say that there’s no interest or demand for women’s clubs to be in the game. Arsenal Women (1.2 million) and Chelsea Women (2.6 million) have a combined 3.8 million followers on social media. That shows there’s a fan base, and that’s just two teams in the WSL. I’m sure plenty of the 3.8 million fans would love to be able to play as their favourite women’s players.

After all, times are changing. It’s 2021, not 1974. Women’s football is growing every day. NBA 2K has understood this in regards to basketball and flourished with record sales. Why? Because they saw that they were ignoring a whole market and they corrected that.

FIFA needs women’s clubs

In FIFA 21, the VOLTA Football game mode presented an interesting development when pop singer Dua Lipa was a playable character. If EA could go through the effort of putting a musician into their game, then surely they could add women’s clubs.

Is it a situation of developers? Is it a situation of time? I’m not sure, as I don’t make these calls. I’m just a content creator that wants to see women’s clubs in FIFA.

In an ideal world, here’s how I would introduce women’s clubs to the game. First, you start with eight teams: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Lyon, Orlando Pride, Rosenborg and Sydney FC. Yes, not everyone’s team will be involved in the initial stages but that’s because it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Secondly, you include Manager and Player Career modes for all those teams while also allowing the ability to use those teams in the kick-off mode. That’s a start, a very small-scale and lenient one too. That’s all I’m trying to get to at this point.

I appreciate that FIFA 21 made Georgia Stanway an ambassador of the game, which is a step in the right direction for sure. Yet, it would be even better if I was allowed to play as Georgia Stanway using the Manchester City team.

The recent announcement that Alex Scott will feature as a commentator in FIFA 22 is another welcomed step forward. Now, we just need playable women’s clubs.

It’s possible. It will happen one day. I just hope that day is sooner than later.

Please, EA, I need it. You need it. The players need it. The streets need it.

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