Electronic Arts removes Russian teams from Fifa, NHL games


The game publisher said it will expunge all of Russia’s teams from its NHL 22 hockey game and three of its Fifa football games. — Bloomberg

Electronic Arts Inc will remove Russian teams from several of its video game sports franchises in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The game publisher said it will expunge all of Russia’s teams from its NHL 22 hockey game and three of its Fifa football games. EA’s actions follow the banning of actual Russian sports teams from international competitions, product boycotts by US companies from Apple Inc, Nike Inc and others, and the removal of Russian news and entertainment from social media platforms.

“EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine,” the Redwood City, California-based company tweeted Wednesday.

EA’s actions came as Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov addressed Microsoft Corp and Sony Group Corp on Twitter, urging them to leave the Russian market.

In a statement attached to the tweet, he asked that gaming and eSports companies temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts and halt any participation by those countries’ teams in international esports events. Fedorov also requested the cancellation of any such events held in Russia and Belarus.

“We are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression,” Fedorov wrote.

Neither Microsoft nor Sony responded to a request for comment.

Fedorov also appealed to Riot Games, Ubisoft Entertainment SA, Gameloft SE and Wargaming to “close your offices in Russia”. Paris-based Ubisoft, the developer of the Assassin’s Creed franchise and one of the biggest game publishers, last week said it was providing staff in Ukraine with funding and housing assistance.

Separately, eSports tournament organiser ESL said it was banning organisations with ties to the Russian government from its upcoming season, set to start March 9. ESL identified two entities that will be banned, Virtus.pro and Gambit. The organiser said it recognises that players are “not complicit with this situation” and it isn’t sanctioning individual players who may compete under a neutral name without representing their country.

Fifa, football’s international governing body, announced Monday that it was suspending Russian teams from all competitions including the World Cup indefinitely. The National Hockey League also said Monday that it had halted its relationship with Russian business partners and paused their Russian language sites. The NHL will also no longer host competitions in Russia.

Other prominent tech companies have also pulled their services from the Russian market. In addition to Apple, Google Maps has temporarily disabled live traffic data in Ukraine to protect users. Twitter Inc has paused ads in Russia and labelled links from Russian state media. Meta Platform Inc’s Facebook has also taken steps to remove and limit disinformation about the invasion. – Bloomberg

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Russia , Fifa , NHL 22

   

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