EA SPORTS are set to lose Diego Maradona as an ICON card in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, after the football franchise publishers came out second best in a messy rights dispute over the Argentinian legend’s likeness.
Diego Maradona has been in FIFA’s Icon roster — once “Legends” cards — since 2018, celebrating the football star’s glittering career in three rare collectibles.
According to Argentinian news site Infobae (via Eurogamer), that is set to come to an end after a judge recognized the trademark claims on Maradona and his likeness by lawyer Matias Morla. They won the suit over Maradona’s manager Stefano Ceci, who could not produce relevant legal documents.
Morla apparently seized control of the Maradona brand last August and has been consolidating rights around his name, brand, and image since then. Ceci’s alleged rights to his images were one of the last dominoes to fall.
The issue for EA SPORTS arises due to their agreement with Stefano Ceci, which is now expected to be voided by the Morla estate, removing Maradona from FIFA.
Right now, two of Diego Maradona’s ICON cards are still available in FIFA 22 Ultimate Team, while all three of his FUT ICON versions can be purchased in FIFA 21’s playlists.
The Argentinian’s cards are some of the best in the competitive FUT game mode, and his 95-rated CAM card — the best on the market for the former Napoli champion — costs players more than two million coins.
Players would lose these cards if FIFA 22 withdraws his rights.
Federal judge Marceloa Gota told EA SPORTS that they must “immediately cease the use of indicated brands by whatever means they are carrying out.” That includes “using images on all platforms, and [titles] including FIFA 21, FIFA Ultimate Team, FIFA Street, and FIFA World Class Soccer.”
Also mentioned in the court’s cease-and-desist order is Football Manager, which often allows fans to sign past franchise players via DLC updates.
Following Maradona’s death last year, EA SPORTS held a celebration for the Argentinian legend in their then-current title, FIFA 21. They added a Maradona tifo and Argentinian national team kits to the FUT clubs of all active players “to respectfully honor and celebrate the life of a true icon.”
EA has yet to publicly comment on the possible Maradona removal.