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Electronic Arts forced to drop 13 female players from FIFA 16

Fifa 16

FIFA 16 is the first game in the long-running series to include female players. But Electronic Arts announced today that it has been forced to cut 13 of them from the game, because the National Collegiate Athletic Association, better known as the NCAA, says their inclusion could threaten their collegiate athletics eligibility.

The NCAA website explains that its "amateurism rules" are in place "to ensure the students’ priority remains on obtaining a quality educational experience and that all of student-athletes are competing equitably." That means players may not, among other things, sign professional contracts, earn money for playing, play with professionals, or tryout, practice, or compete with a pro team. Unfortunately, 13 of the players on the women's national team rosters in FIFA 16 are either attending, or likely to attend, NCAA-sanctioned schools in the US, and the NCAA warned EA that their presence in the game would put their eligibility at risk.

"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," EA wrote. "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."

Because of the NCAA's decision, the following players will not be in the game:

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

The NCAA's hardline stance feels harsh, but not really surprising. As explained in this Last Week Tonight segment from earlier this year (which includes a bit on EA's now-canceled NCAA Basketball franchise), the organization is notorious for the extent and rigidity of the control it exercises over "student athletes." EA said it will post further updates about the status of the affected players if the situation changes. FIFA 16 comes out on September 22.

Thanks, VG247.

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.