EA has decided to remove Diego Maradona from FIFA Mobile 22 in response to an intractable rights dispute over his likeness. The game’s developers say that they have been unable to reach an agreement with the late footballer’s estate, and as a result, Maradona will no longer appear in both the console and mobile versions of the game. This marks the first time in FIFA’s history that a major player has been absent from the game due to licensing issues. But the dispute has been going on for a long time.
The legal battle continues over Maradona’s image rights
Argentinian media reported last year that a court ruled EA negotiated Maradona’s likeness rights with Stefano Ceci, Maradona’s former manager, despite not owning them. Sattvica has filed lawsuits in several courts around the world seeking to enforce the rights to Maradona’s trademark and likeness since Maradona’s death.
In reality, it’s only part of an ongoing legal battle involving Maradona’s children and the company Sattvica, a company owned by his former lawyer, Matias Morla.
EA’s response to the legal issue
On starting the game, EA shared the following message to its players over the removal of the late Diego Maradona from FIFA 22 and FIFA Mobile 22. The message says,
Maradona’s likeness and image have always been licensed through EA’s games, first with Maradona personally, and later with companies licensed to use Maradona’s image worldwide. Their fans are disappointed and they hope to bring one of the greats back to football at some point.
It is still unclear whether Maradona will appear in future editions of the game. His absence will be keenly felt by fans of the game, who have long celebrated Maradona as one of the game’s greatest ever players.