- EA banned organizations and players in Russia and Belarus from playing FIFA and Apex Legends esports
- The players can continue participating in professional events if they move to another country
- This move is EA’s way to condemn the war and make sure its esports prize money will not fuel the conflict
EA has prohibited players and teams residing in Russia and Belarus from competing in FIFA and Apex Legends.
EA Bans Players in Russia and Belarus from Esports
Electronic Arts has banned Russia and Belarus-based players and organizations from competing in the EA Sports FIFA 22 Global Series and the Apex Legends Global Series. The ban only covers people residing in Russia and Belarus and excludes those who have Russian or Belarusian citizenship but live outside the two countries.
Spokespeople from the ALGS contacted players in Russia and Belarus, informing them that they could keep on playing if they move to a different country and provide proof of that by March 20.
Many video game developers and esports organizers have vowed to cease their operations in Russia but EA’s sanctions are some of the harshest to date. In comparison, Riot Games still allows Russian teams and players to compete so long as they play under a new name and neutral banner.
The Apex Legends esports scene will be much more affected than FIFA’s. While there are fairly few top FIFA players from the banned countries, many of the Apex Legends pros originate from Russia. The Apex Legends Pro League will likely have to go through some significant reforms as 12 of the 40 participating teams happen to be Russian.
This Is EA’s Way to Condemn the War
This move is EA’s way to sanction the Russian market, following the country’s invasion of Ukraine. This isn’t the end of the company’s sanctions, though, as it recently vowed to remove all Russian teams from its FIFA titles.
Players across Russia and Belarus have been baffled by EA’s decision to ban them. The majority of those athletes oppose the war, regardless if they openly express it or not. Right now, Russia is not a safe place to talk against Vladimir Putin’s so-called “military operation,” leading some teams to refrain from commenting. Sadly, certain groups in the West have interpreted their silence as support of the war effort.
Yet, EA’s decision is not made on ill will towards the players – by refusing to accept players from Russia and Belarus, EA makes sure that prize money from its competitions will not indirectly fuel the war. That’s why the company’s sanctions are targeted only towards people who currently reside in the two Eastern European countries.
Sadly, despite esports being as politically-neutral as possible, the industry was still affected by the horrors of the raging war.