It’s In The Game, But Only On A Surface Level

Fifa 22’s support of women’s football has seemingly increased, but whether it’s a superficial PR move or a statement of intent that needs work remains to be seen.

The world’s top leagues, career mode, ultimate team, fan favourite clubs, accurate player ratings and realistic avatars- all integral parts of the console game we know as FIFA.

Every one of which are lacking its women’s component this year.

The 2022 edition of the franchised video game was expected to break down more barriers than ever before in the female department, but since its’ release at the start of this month it appears to followers that the gulf between pledges and reality seems to be flawed when frivolous tokenism is put to one side.

@EASPORTSFIFA Just played my first womans game on #FIFA22 You think this looks like Fran Kirby? Dreadful likeness. Needs updating.

— Chris (@HWick_Chris) October 1, 2021

Yes, there are the most women’s teams yet (15) since their introduction into the game in 2016, but when contrasted to the 700+ available in the men’s category the measly dozen of national outfits falls somewhat by the wayside.

No Women’s Super League, Champions League or NWSL features to be seen, users can only select to embody those from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and the United States to face each other.

Another headline that portrays the illusion of glass ceilings shattering is that of the inclusion of Alex Scott on the commentary front. The first female English speaking entrant into the line up, her incorporation does wonders for representation and role model formulation. It’s just a pity the same courtesy wasn’t extended to more than those from the above countries.

Pro clubs once again shows that for every plus there derives an equal and adequate deficit. With the option to create and modify their virtual exemplar to the finest detail before using them in the online format, what is innovative in one regard only pokes holes in it’s less personal and more institutional FIFA decided upon player ratings and character images.

Their shallow nature epitomised by the exclusion of 2020/21 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year Alexia Putellas from Barcelona and the 90 appraisal of Alex Morgan who only tallied five outings for Tottenham Hotspur upon returning from pregnancy leave.

There WSL reps Vivianne Miedema, Tobin Heath, Kim Little, Sam Kerr, Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze make up six of the top 22 competitors in the game, but in a landscape of #CantSeeCantBe the admittance of more of their colleagues would inevitably do so much to increase everyone’s knowledge of the space.

Undoubtedly the time and money that it takes to generate a game of this stature is other worldly substantial, but the simple neglection of some sure fire facts points less to the misplacement of investment and resources and more to the absence of consideration.

In a realm where change is incumbent and below par treatment is no longer acceptable, protect our players, respect our players.

Alanna Cunnane

Alanna is a Journalism student in Dublin City University and is passionate about all sport - in particular Ladies Football and Soccer! Alanna has made contributions to Ocean FM, the Final Whistle, the Sligo Champion and the Connacht Telegraph! She even has hosts her own podcast called 'Are You Still Listening?'
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