EA have announced that the Russian national football team and all Russian clubs will be removed from FIFA 22
"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," reads the announcement
posted to Twitter. "We're also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games."
Russian and Belarusian national and club teams will also be removed from NHL 22, EA's ice hockey simulation game.
The move comes alongside parallel exclusions from real-world sports. Earlier this week, FIFA (the organisation, not the game) suspended Russia
's national and club teams from all its competitions. This means they can no longer qualify for the World Cup, for example. UEFA also moved the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to France, and ended their sponsorship deal with the Russian energy company Gazprom. More broadly, the International Olympics Committee have recommended for
Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials to be barred from competition.
The IOC called the recommendation a "dilemma," writing: "The Olympic Movement is united in its sense of fairness not to punish athletes for the decisions of their government if they are not actively participating in them. We are committed to fair competitions for everybody without any discrimination." However, they pointed out that Ukrainian athletes may be prevented from competing due to the invasion. Ultimately, they say, they ended up issuing the recommendation "to protect the integrity of global sports competitions and for the safety of all the participants."
EA haven't been so transparent about how it weighed up its decision. The Ukrainian deputy prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, has asked
games and esports companies to take action, but specifically to "temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts." At time of writing, it seems like EA's games are currently still playable in those two countries.
Fedorov further called for companies to "temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events, and cancel all international events holding on the territory of Russia and Belarus." He concluded that "we are sure that such actions will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression." It's worth noting that many Russian citizens have been protesting
the invasion despite thousands of arrests and reports of police brutality.
Elsewhere, many Ukrainian game developers have issued their own statements
including calls to donate to humanitarian causes. Worldwide, developers and publishers like those behind This War Of Mine, Slipways
, and Conan Chop Chop
have made their own donations. EA haven't yet announced any plans to do so.