FIFA 23: Why the inclusion of the WSL is so significant for women’s football

FIFA 23

With the release of FIFA 23 just around the corner, EA Sports have been slowly releasing players’ ratings for the latest edition of the popular franchise.

As always, the ratings have sparked fiery debate among football fans. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have received downgrades, Karim Benzema and Kevin De Bruyne are among the five highest-rated – it has truly been a controversial ratings release.

There are still some ratings yet to be released, and they are surely among the most eagerly-awaited.

The anticipation started in July, when EA Sports announced women’s club teams would be added to FIFA for the first time ever.

Teams from the Women’s Super League in England, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, and teams from Division 1 Féminine in France, including Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, will be available on the game.

This means star players such as Vivianne Miedema, Sam Kerr, Wendie Renard, Ada Hegerberg and Marie-Antoinette Katoto will be given the full FIFA treatment, receiving their very own ratings.

There’s more to the inclusion of women’s teams on FIFA 23 than ratings, however. GiveMeSport Women explains just why it’s so significant to have female footballers on the iconic game.

Why is the inclusion of women’s football on FIFA 23 so important?

It all comes down to increasing the visibility of women’s football. More eyes on the women’s game leads to sponsorship money from brands and increased investment from governing bodies.

This in turn leads to professional contracts for female players, along with world-class facilities and medical care. It elevates women’s football to where it belongs, helping it become a popular and highly-respected sport which is also a viable career path for women.

So, where does a football video game come into it?

In 2020, EA Sports announced it had made 325 million total sales in the franchise’s 17-year history. According to Active Player, an average of seven million gamers play FIFA every month.

This is an incredibly large audience, and they will now all be exposed to women’s football, increasing their knowledge of women’s teams and female football stars. They will be more likely to watch a women’s football match on TV, or even attend a game in person.

Chloe Kelly FIFA 23
Chloe Kelly FIFA 23

FIFA 23 will subsequently play its part in raising the visibility of the women’s game around the world.

The well-known phrase “you have to see it to be it”, coined by tennis legend Billie Jean King, is also pertinent here.

Increased visibility of women’s football encourages young girls to try out the sport, when previously they may have felt like it wasn’t for them.

Seeing female players on video games such as FIFA 23 further hammers home the point that football is for women and girls too, and they have just as much of a right to get involved in the sport as men and boys.

What have EA Sports said about the inclusion of women’s teams of FIFA 23?

Speaking to GiveMeSport Women, EA Sports marketing director James Salmon reiterated why the inclusion of women’s teams on FIFA 23 was so important.

“We’re committed to playing an active role in the growth of women’s football and our hope is that the inclusion of women’s club’s sparks further interest in viewership, match attendance and participation in the grassroots game,” he said.

“There are a number of amazing women’s leagues and tournaments across the world for fans to experience – the WSL and D1F are prime examples.”

Salmon also hinted that women’s football fans had lots to look forward to on the new edition of FIFA.

“The reaction to the introduction of WSL and D1 Arkema has been fantastic, all I can say for now is that we’re looking forward to sharing more exciting updates over the next few months.”

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