With just a few days away until the official release of FIFA17, EA’s marketing campaign has been taking quite a bit of negative publicity in the build up to the game’s release. With announcements that some game features will be missing from the XBox 360 and PS3 versions, breaking news that it won’t include the Icelandic national team has angered football fans around the world.
So why is this news? If you missed this year’s Euro Championship in France, Iceland gained huge cult status after an impressive run in the tournament. After having qualified for a major championship for the first time in their football history, they were unlikely to progress much further. But their team spirit and impressive fan support gave them the obvious title of enjoyable team, with impressive viking-esque chants and clapping in stadiums throughout Euro 2016. All of that before beating England in the second round game, meaning they would reach the quarterfinals. Another impressive stat was that more than 8% of Iceland’s population of 331,000 were at the games in France.
But now, the team won’t feature in this year’s FIFA game after EA offered a measly $15,000 to the Icelandic football association, KSI, for the team’s player and kit rights. The KSI made a counter offer, which EA themselves rejected. KSI president Geir Thorsteinsson said that “they are the ones buying these rights and they almost want it for free.” He went on to state: “The performance at the Euros show that we are quite a good team and many would like to play with our team. It’s sad for the players – but the criticism should be towards EA Sports.” I fully agree with that statement. “I really feel if we are giving away rights, or offering rights, it has to be proper negotiations and fair fees. I didn’t feel that this was done in a fair and open manner.”
What’s more surprising it that the team was rumoured to be included with 10 other teams to be included in FIFA17.
Iceland has never featured in any previous versions of FIFA, but would have been odds on to be included in this year’s edition. The news is making gaming headlines around the world, and may mean that we’ll get to see the team in some sort of update or patch quite soon.