Iceland frozen out of FIFA 17 game after refusing EA’s cheap rights offer

By Andrew Warshaw

September 21 – The head of Iceland’s football association (KSI) has denounced the makers of FIFA 17 for showing them no respect by freezing the country out of the long-awaited video game.

Iceland, who went into the tournament as relative minnows, caused the biggest upset at Euro 2016 by knocking out England yet will not feature in the game following a row over payments with Electronic Arts (EA).

The fee that EA pays teams included in the game covers the use of trademarks and image rights. But KSI chief Geir Thorsteinsson claims EA, which releases FIFA 17 on September 27 in the US and which will reportedly go worldwide two days later, under-valued his country.

“We don’t accept bad treatment,” Thorsteinsson told AFP. “They offered under two million Icelandic crowns (£13,300).  “They are the ones buying these rights and they almost want it for free. We made them a counter offer, which they did not accept.

“I expect they might well get in touch next year. I think hundreds of millions play this game. Iceland is a cult team so it would get even more attention. It is often the smaller teams with interesting players that get popular in this game.”

Iceland gained legions of fans across Europe and beyond both on and off the pitch at Euro 2016 as they reached the last eight in their major tournament debut. France even copied their supporters’ ‘Viking Thunderclap’ on their way to the final.

Iceland, who are ranked 27th in the world, have not featured in previous editions of the video game but were hopeful of getting into latest version. Thorsteinsson added:  “The performance at the Euros show that we are quite a good team and many would like to play with our team. It’s sad for the players – but the criticism should be towards EA Sports.”

A total of 47 men’s international sides will feature including India, ranked 148th in the world.

“I really feel if we are giving away rights, or offering rights, it has to be proper negotiations and fair fees. I didn’t feel that this was done in a fair and open manner,” Thorsteinsson added.

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