Russian officials threaten a potential ban of EA Canada’s FIFA 17 due to the game featuring some pro LGBTQ content produced for a recent awareness campaign.
Every now and then, gaming companies join in on various awareness and support campaigns, and EA Sports recently did exactly that with their annual flagship football title, FIFA 17. The company chimed in on the Rainbow Laces campaign that has swept across the Premier League, where club players would don rainbow-laced cleats in support of the Stonewall Campaign, which promotes equity for LGBTQ people across Britain. For a period of time in FIFA 17, players who logged online to the popular Ultimate Team Mode could nab a free rainbow kit for their teams in support of the same cause.
However, not everyone was pleased with the digital campaign, and a recent post from the Guardian has confirmed that several Russian MPs have requested that Russia’s communications oversight and state consumer protection agencies take action against the title for its promotion of gay rights. A 2013 law introduced in Russia says that propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations can cause harm to a child’s health and development.
Gamers can take a look at the free rainbow kit below, which may not be flaunted by too many Zenit St. Petersburg fans over the next few weeks:
Russia is well-known for its rough stance on gay rights, and some Russian parliamentarians have suggested that FIFA 17 could potentially face a country-wide ban for its participation in the campaign. Communist MP Valery Rashkin suggested that EA Canada should “introduce changes to the programming code or the age classification of this information product,” doubling down on the oppressive rhetoric by saying Russia could “adopt corresponding restrictive measures” against the title.
While it’s unlikely that EA Canada will comment on the issue with its free rainbow kit, the company’s actions are well in line with the majority of the football world as a whole. The Rainbow Laces campaign has spread outside of the Premier League with Championship clubs like Newcastle picking it up, and Major League Soccer featured a prominent LGBTQ campaign when once-retired openly gay footballer Robbie Rogers came over to the league.
This is the second time the FIFA series has unintentionally made headlines within the last month. Recently, the FBI went to court against FIFA coin scammers who managed to make several million dollars through fraudulent activity.
As it stands right now, the Russian government has taken no official reaction against FIFA 17. Russian gamers are currently still free to pick up the title at retail outlets throughout the country, dabbing to their heart’s content regardless of their sexual preferences or how they identify.
FIFA 17 is available now on PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4.