EA Sports removes Russian teams from FIFA, NHL games following Ukraine invasion

Amid calls from the Ukrainian government for Microsoft, Sony and other gaming companies to block accounts in Russia and Belarus, EA Sports has announced it is removing Russian teams from two of its popular games.

Ukraine Vice Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov has been using social media to target many different companies, asking them to support the country against Vladimir Putin's invasion.

That included asking eSports tournament organisers to halt participation from competitors in Russia and to ensure any events planned there were cancelled.

While Sony and Microsoft have yet to respond, EA Sports has joined the call to action.

The EA Sports FIFA account announced it stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people "and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine".

"In line with our partners at FIFA and UEFA, EA Sports has initiated processes to remove the Russian national team and all Russian clubs from EA Sports FIFA products including FIFA 22, FIFA Mobile and FIFA Online," the statement reads.

"We're also actively evaluating related changes to other areas of our games."

The same is happening in its popular ice hockey franchise, with the EA Sports NHL account saying it was "joining the voices around the world calling for peace". 

"Following the IIHF's (International Ice Hockey Federation) suspension of all Russian and Belarusian national and club teams from IIHF competitions, we will be removing these teams from NHL 22 within the coming weeks."

It's not the first time EA has changed its games when responding to events in the real world. In its NFL franchise it previously removed the name of the Washington franchise after that was deemed offensive.

Meanwhile another game developer has said sanctions against Russia could delay its racing games.

Motorsport Games makes the NASCAR racing simulator but has a significant amount of development staff in Russia.

In a regulatory filing, the company said that "prolonged unrest, intensified military activities or more extensive sanctions impacting the region could have a material adverse effect on our operations, results of operations, financial condition, liquidity and business outlook".