It seems our April Fools post could have been a little closer to reality than we initially imagined. A while back Fernanda Schabarum of Boca Raton, Florida started a petition to tell EA Sports to include female characters on their FIFA games and had that petition taken off we could have been a lot closer to seeing women’s football in FIFA 14 than we are now.
The petition had the backing of nearly 6,500 supporters, over half it’s goal of 12,534 but you wonder how many of them signed it because they genuinely thought it would add value to FIFA as a game or whether in this day and age of equality they just generally thought it was the right thing for EA to do.
EA are well known for taking ideas from their community and when the public speaks en masse there’s no doubt the company bigwigs sit up and listen. But we’re not convinced 6,500 people (not even confirmed FIFA fans) are enough to perk their ears and turn their heads away from counting all of their money.
Despite that the amount of women playing football has increased considerably since the early days of the FIFA series. The US Department of State reporting that over 40% of soccer players in the US are girls. You’d think that maybe those stats alone would have EA deliberating bringing the women’s game into the FIFA series.
Unfortunately though money talks and regardless of women’s football becoming increasingly more popular around the world women’s sport in general still only attracts a fraction of the coverage and money that gets injected into the men’s version. It accounts for just 5% of media coverage in the UK, and only 0.5% of commercial sponsorship although a potential commercial TV deal could give women’s football a boost in England.
“The cover of any FIFA game doesn’t say M for Men only. The game is for anyone no matter what their gender is.”
So does the game need women’s football? There’s nothing stopping women playing FIFA now and a lot of them do to an extremely high standard. Comparatively, if men want to play Tomb Raider or Mirror’s Edge they’ve got to control Lara Croft or Faith respectively. There’s no male equivalent lead role but that doesn’t detract in any way from their enjoyment of the game.
Would it really make a difference? What do you think?
If you want to sign Fernanda’s pertition you can do so here.