Recently, gamers and soccer fans around the world were excited by important news. EA Sports had long ago removed a particularly powerful squad from FIFA, as well as from all previous editions of the game for the past ten years. However, after this long, annoying break, the current world’s second best team is finally back in the game.
In a tweet, the Croatian Football Association (HFA) confirmed that their national team will be included in FIFA 23. Despite their success on the international stage, the Croatian national team has been absent from officially licensed FIFA games for ten years.
The missing team - Croatia
It is widely known that Croatia advanced to the 2018 World Cup by eliminating England. When Croatia performed so well at the World Cup in Russia four years ago, many fans had high hopes that the controversy surrounding their absence in FIFA games would soon be resolved.
Since their previous performance in FIFA 12, Croatia has been conspicuously absent from the FIFA series. After Luka Modric and his team finished second in the 2018 World Cup, attention was drawn to the fact that Croatia was not included in the video games. Although the red and white checkerboard has many fans around the world, they have not been playable for a decade.
Why? As usual, it's all about money.
A modest amount of money
Tomislav Pacak, a spokesman for the Croatian Football Association, said in an official statement at the time that the reason Croatia is not present in FIFA 19 is because the Croatian Football Association (HNS) and EA Sports were unable to reach an agreement that would satisfy both sides.
"It should come as no surprise that we attach more importance to the team that won the silver medal at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and was named the best player in the world this year than EA currently does with its offering. We continue to protect the importance of value and image of the Croatian national team and our players.''
"We understand and share the disappointment players are experiencing, and we hope that this situation can be changed in the future - HNS is more than open to this, and we hope that EA will also listen to its consumers and respect their request to have a Croatian squad available in the game."
In short, Croatia was unhappy with the amount of money EA gave to their federation to have their team legally licensed in the game. According to newspaper articles published in 2012, EA allegedly made Croatia a very modest offer of €100,000. According to reports, Davor Suker, the all-time leading scorer for Croatia and then-president of the Croatian Football Association, scoffed at the offer and refused. The same thing happened with Switzerland - which to this day is not present in the entire series.
A new president vs EA Sports
EA managed to reach an agreement after the controversial president Suker was removed from his post a year ago and replaced by Marijan Kustić.
"We are happy to have reached an agreement with EA Sports on the inclusion of the Croatian national team in FIFA 23. We are aware that players from all over the world, especially fans of the Croatian national team, have been patiently waiting for this moment for a long time, and we are happy that they will be able to play FIFA 23 as their favorite team, wearing the most beautiful jersey in the world. This is a significant step for HNS towards younger audiences and players and we will continue to work in this direction,"- Marijan Kustic, president of HNS, said.
HNS has become one of the 300 individual licensed partners of the game for the return. This gives players access to more than 19,000 players competing on 700 teams in over a thousand stadiums and in more than 30 different national leagues around the world. Players in Fifa 23 will have the opportunity to play in some of the world's most prestigious leagues and tournaments for some of the best clubs and national teams in the world - including the Croatian national team.
Since FIFA 23 will be the first installment to feature a World Cup mode, Croatia's inclusion couldn't come at a better time.
In addition to Croatia, FIFA 23 will provide many other new features. In this installment of the series, it will be possible to compete in both the men's and women's world championships for the first time. In addition, there will be massive cross-platform play that will allow players using PS, Xbox and PC to play together, as well as an emphasis on Hyper Motion technology.