ISL in danger as EA Sports removes Chinese Super League from FIFA 18

This might disappoint a lot of fans!

FIFA 18 is set to release in September

What’s the story?

FIFA 18 is closing in, and fans have been wondering what the game has to offer. Speaking to Fox Sports earlier today, EA Sports announced that the Chinese Super League will not be available in FIFA 18.


EA Sports has a history of adding new leagues t their FIFA games every year. A few months ago EA had confirmed that the Chinese league would be present in FIFA 18 and that they had already started the photoshoots to update their roster. Usually, EA Sports selects a league depending upon how many people have voted for it on their official website. Indian Super League (ISL) currently sits second on the FIFA fan voting website with 154,000 votes as compared CSL’s 156,000, and fans were convinced that these two would definitely make the cut.

Heart of the Story

During an interview with Fox Sports, EA Sport’s lead gameplay producer Sam Rivera confirmed that despite the votes cast for CSL, the league will not be available in FIFA 18 due to a licensing issue. “Our intention with FIFA is to bring the best leagues to the world. Yes, we thought about the Chinese championship, but for now, the Super League will not be included in FIFA 18…We have a great dedicated team that always works on licensing, but it takes an inevitable process to be followed,” he said. However, he went on to reassure fans that FIFA 18 will feature new European leagues.

Fans are extremely disappointed as they have been asking EA Sports to add CSL and ISL to the game for a very long time. Moreover, the lack of a Chinese league would also imply that popular players Hulk, Oscar, Tevez, Pellè and Lavezzi, will become remain absent from the game, and will be available only in their respective national squads. This news is even more tragic for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who is considered to be the fastest player in FIFA 17. Given that he might move to Tianjin Quanjian this summer, and the fact that his national team Gabon has never been part of the FIFA roster, it is possible that Aubameyang will not shine in FIFA 18.

This news has also worried Indian fans. While ISL maybe ranked second on the voting website, merger issues between the Indian Super League and the I-league may prompt EA Sports to ignore Indian leagues until the issue is resolved.

What’s next?

It is quite odd that EA Sports removed Chinese Super League given that they had already confirmed their presence in the upcoming game. Moreover, Jiangsu Suning’s Alex Teixeira Santos posted a picture on Instagram, with the caption:  “Official presentation for FIFA 18 new jersey for the 2017 season.”  We are likely to know more about the new leagues only when the game releases in September.

Alex Teixeira Santos post with the caption: “Official presentation for FIFA 18 new jersey for the 2017 season.”

Author’s take

Not having the Chinese Super League in FIFA 18 may not turn out well for EA Sports. EA Sports plans on being more relevant as an eSports game, and China has a rich eSports ecosystem. Such a decision from EA could cost them quite a lot in terms of audience and eSports gamers in China. That being said, it would seem like EA would rather lose audience than get entangled in another licensing issue. Moreover, they already know how disastrous it can be if they release a game without proper licenses.

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