Yesterday Electronic Arts posted a statement on Twitter regarding its stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moving forward, all Russian clubs and teams will be removed from two of its most popular sports lineups: FIFA and NHL. This decision was made to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people and, like with other attempts, possibly to pressure Russia into ending the war.
Furthermore, Russian and Belarusian clubs and teams will be removed from NHL 22 within the coming weeks. In EA’s message, this is in response to the International Ice Hockey Federation banning these teams from competing. Belarus is an active ally of Russia, and is understood to be assisting in its invasion of Ukraine. A similar decision is not necessary for FIFA 22, as the Belarusian Premier League was already not represented.
EA’s removal of Russian teams from FIFA is not surprising. Just a few days prior, both the FIFA organization itself and the administrative body for European football UEFA banned Russia from competitions. Originally, FIFA had intended to have Russia only compete in away matches without its flag or national anthem permitted.
A statement from EA SPORTS FIFA: pic.twitter.com/v3pZvpblgS
— EA SPORTS FIFA (@EASPORTSFIFA) March 2, 2022
Halting all business
However, backlash from the footballing community pushed it to hand out harsher penalties. The current rules state that no Russian teams are able to compete in any FIFA or UEFA competition until further notice. Most notably, this means that Russia will no longer be able to play at this year’s World Cup in Qatar. Also, Spartak Moscow has been disqualified from the UEFA Europa League with RB Leipzig being given a bye to the next round.
If banning teams from games like FIFA is truly making a difference is hard to say. However, it is being done in an attempt to show solidarity with Ukrainian citizens who are suffering at the hands of Russia. In this day and age, there should be zero tolerance for an invasion of this nature.