FIFA 21 Player Likeness Dispute Response Issued by EA Sports

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EA Sports and their FIFA games have been caught in a rather weird controversy of late, one that seems to have sprung out of nowhere. It started when outspoken AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic took to Twitter to claim that EA Sport’s FIFA games were using his name and likeness in their games without his permission and his knowledge, adding that the organization called FIFPro that EA Sports works with for such licenses is not one he’s part of (or even aware of). That got a lot of attention, as you might imagine, and things only got more heated when Tottenham Hotspur winger Gareth Bale chimed in on the issue as well (you can see both their tweets below).

EA Sports, however, has now responded to these claims (via Push Square), suggesting that the dispute has nothing to do with them or with the FIFA games, and that FIFA 21 is being drawn into what is essentially a dispute between third parties. Their statement also points out that they have partnership agreements with both AC Milan and with the Premier League as a whole (which includes the club Tottenham Hotspur as well)- which, in turn, means they have the rights to use the faces and likeness of all of their players (which includes Ibrahimovic and Bale as well, of course).

“We are aware of discussions around licensing of players in EA Sports FIFA,” EA Sports said in its statement. “The current situation being played out on social media is an attempt to draw FIFA 21 into a dispute between a number of 3rd parties and has little to do with EA Sports.

“To be very clear, we have contractual rights to include the likeness of all players currently in our game. As already stated, we acquire these licenses directly from leagues, teams, and individual players. In addition, we work with FIFPro to ensure we can include as many players as we can to create the most authentic game. In these instances, our rights to player likenesses are granted through our club agreement with AC Milan and our long-standing exclusive partnership with the Premier League, which includes all players for Tottenham Hotspur.”

FIFA 21 is currently available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Stadia (and on Nintendo Switch as a Legacy Edition release). It will receive an enhanced next-gen port for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S on December 4- though those enhancements won’t be coming to the game’s PC version. You can read our review of the game’s PS4/Xbox One/PC version through here.

On the PS5, the game will also make use of the DualSense’s unique features, as well as the PS5’s Activities UI feature. Read more on that through here.

Somebody is making profit on my name and face without any agreement all these years.
Time to investigate

— Zlatan Ibrahimović (@Ibra_official) November 23, 2020

.@Ibra_official Interesting… what is @FIFPro? ?#TimeToInvestigate

— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) November 23, 2020

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