Although EA Sports removed elements of the Russian Ultimate Team from FIFA 22there are still prominent billboards displaying Gazprom, a Russian state-owned energy company.
Advertisements for the energy company are clearly visible during EUFA Champions League match replays and build-ups.
NME contacted EA to comment on the situation, as we have verified firsthand that the billboards display these Gazprom visuals. EA said, “At this time, EA has nothing specific to comment regarding the exclusion of Russian sponsors.”
EA’s response continued: “However, please find EA’s latest statement regarding the current situation in Ukraine.
“EA Sports stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and, like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine.
“As per action taken by our real-world partners at FIFA and UEFA, the following FUT items will no longer be available in FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) Packs and Ultimate Draft:
- Player items from Russian clubs
- Equipment items of Russian clubs
- Stadiums and stadium items of Russian clubs and the national team
- Russian Managers League Consumable Items
- Russian Premier League manager items
“The aforementioned FUT items will also have their transfer market price ranges fixed until further notice.”
NME can verify that price ranges have been set in the marketplace and that items have been removed. As for the Gazprom ad, we could only see it during UEFA Champions League games, which raises the question of whether this is an EA decision or related to a deal of license.
That said, UEFA and FIFA have suspended all Russian clubs and national teams from all competitions, while UEFA itself has ended its partnership with Gazprom. UEFA said it “decided today to end its partnership with Gazprom in all competitions. The decision takes effect immediately and covers all existing agreements, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA national teams and UEFA EURO 2024.”
EA recently said games were “hampered” by brands like FIFA. In an internal company meeting in November 2021, CEO Andrew Wilson said the FIFA license was just “four letters out the front of the box”, and admitted the relationship may be coming to an end after 30 years.
Elsewhere, Valve revealed year-end stats for Steam that prove more people are playing games than ever before.