In a nutshell: EA Sports is removing all Russian and Belarusian national and club teams from two of its biggest game franchises---FIFA 22 and NHL 22---in response to the invasion of Ukraine. The move follows several sanctions against Russia by real-world sports governing bodies.
"EA Sports stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and like so many voices across the world of football, calls for peace and an end to the invasion of Ukraine," EA Sports said in a statement on Wednesday.
EA Sports announced a partnership with the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) in December to add international teams to NHL 22. The Russian and Belarusian teams included in that deal will be removed "within the coming weeks."
A statement from EA SPORTS NHL: pic.twitter.com/2uX4h55ok4--- EA SPORTS NHL (@EASPORTSNHL) March 2, 2022
Best-selling soccer game FIFA 22 had included CSKA Moscow, Lokomotiv Moscow, Spartak Moscow, and Zenit Saint Petersburg, all of which are being dropped. The teams are also being removed from FIFA Mobile and FIFA online.
EA Sports isn't taking any action against individual Russian players who are members of non-Russian teams, such as the Washington Capitals' Alexander Ovechkin. They will remain in the games.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) last week decided to move the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg to Paris. Additionally, Russia has been suspended from the 2022 soccer World Cup qualifying rounds.
The IHHF, meanwhile, has placed an indefinite ban on Belarus and Russia from its tournaments and moved the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships from Novosibirsk, Russia.
We can expect other sports games to follow suit and copy their real-world counterparts by removing Russian elements. As noted by Polygon, Formula 1 last week canceled the Russian Grand Prix scheduled for September, so we'll likely see that reflected in the upcoming F1 2022, which is developed by EA Sports-owned Codemasters.