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The FIFA and EA Sports era may be approaching the final whistle

FIFA and EA Sports have been synonymous with each other for almost 30 years. From the first FIFA International Soccer game, which landed on the Sega Mega Drive in 1993, all the way up to the new FIFA 22 instalment.

However, the longstanding relationship could be on the outs. EA’s recent suggestion it may rename its flagship football franchise took many by surprise and now we may have discovered why – FIFA wants to license that cash cow out to more than one party.

World football’s governing body has issued a statement saying that football gaming “needs to be a space that is occupied by more than one party controlling all rights.” It says there’s plenty of competition for the FIFA name from tech companies, which it wants to capitalise on.

The statement (via Eurogamer) explains that FIFA wishes to maximise potential opportunities, given the insane growth of gaming and competitive eSports. That could make renewing the agreement between the two parties very difficult indeed.

FIFA says: “Technology and mobile companies are now actively competing to be associated with FIFA, its platforms, and global tournaments. Consequently, FIFA is engaging with various industry players, including developers, investors and analysts, to build out a long-term view of the gaming, eSports and interactive entertainment sector.”

That will mean engaging with a “range of suitable parties with specialist capabilities to actively shape the best possible experiences and offerings.”

The statement continues: “Gaming and eSports are the fastest-growing media verticals on the planet, with new and diverse types of games launching continuously.

“It is therefore of crucial importance for FIFA and its stakeholders to maximise all future opportunities for football and gaming fans. FIFA also has a duty to support its 211 member associations to fully capitalise on the inherent opportunities that have been emerging over the recent years.”

Earlier this month EA Sports announced it was considering its licensing agreement with FIFA, before it was noted the company had trademarked the name “EA Sports FC” in the US and Europe (via Polygon).

“This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA,” said EA Sports head Cam Weber, “which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.”

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