Russian politicians have asked the state communications oversight agency to take action against Electronic Arts’ FIFA 17 for violating its law against gay propaganda.
FIFA 17 recently supported UK-based LGBT rights group Stonewall which started the Rainbow laces campaign last month. The event looks to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in football. It was noted that 72% of fans have heard anti-LGBT remarks and chants over the last five years.
During November, EA Sports allowed players to obtain a free rainbow coloured kit for their FIFA Ultimate Team.
According to a 2013 Russian law, such propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations can cause “harm to children’s health and development.”
Russian politicians are suggested that FIFA 17 could be banned in Russia. United Russia MP Irina Rodnina told the Izvestia newspaper that authorities needed to
verify the possibility of distributing this game on the territory of the Russian Federation. Every state has its internal laws and order; they need to be obeyed
Valery Rashkin also told the paper that, following the investigation, authorities should order EA Canada to
introduce changes to the programming code or the age classification of this information product, and if it refuses, adopt corresponding restrictive measures”
The kit itself has proven controversial among some players too. When playing online, some have opted to rage quit when facing a team wearing the brightly coloured kit claiming that EA is trying to “push a political agenda.”
Matt Horwood the Senior Communications Officer at Stonewall, said
It’s clear from some of the responses to our Rainbow Lace campaign on social media that there is still so much work to do to make sport everyone’s game. However, it’s been extremely encouraging to see sports fans echo the inclusive sentiment of posts from the likes of Premier League, FA and teams across the UK, often even calling out the hateful comments from Twitter trolls.
FIFA 17 isn’t the first time that Electronic Arts has spoken out in the promotion of LGBT rights. Games like The Sims, Mass Effect and Dragon Age have all addressed the subject in their own way. The company and its employees often attend LGBT events around the world.