FIFA 23 has added a player wearing a hijab for the first time in the series’ history.
During the ongoing 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Morocco player Nouhaïla Benzina made history by being the first player to play in a World Cup match while wearing the Islamic headscarf.
In the latest title update for FIFA 23, EA has updated Benzina’s player model to give her a hijab.
The patch notes for the latest update makes reference to this, with EA saying it”updated Nouhaïla Benzina’s player model to include her head covering”.
The wearing of the hijab in real life football is a relatively recent development. It had previously been banned by FIFA, which claimed they could potentially cause injuries to the head or neck.
This changed in March 2014, when FIFA finally allowed players to wear head coverings for religious reasons.
FIFA 16 was the first game in the series to include women, with a selection of women’s national teams to choose from.
No further progress was made on this until FIFA 23, when EA also added women’s club teams for the first time, with the inclusion of the Barclays Women’s Super League from England and the D1 Arkema from France.
This year’s game, EA Sports FC 24, will add women to the series’ hugely popular Ultimate Team mode for the first time, allowing players to create teams containing both male and female players.
“It’s something we really thought deeply about,” executive producer John Shepherd told IGN last month. “We feel we can play a really important role in the growth of that sport in introducing it to all of our fans. We just have this conviction that we believe we want to unite the world around football.
“Ultimate Team is a great place for that. It is a mode where you can build your fantasy team with different nationalities, different leagues, and different clubs. And so it felt like a great spot to be able to do that.”
Countering potential backlash to the change, senior producer Sam Rivera explained: “Ultimate Team is a fantasy mode. You don’t see Mbappe playing with all the Icons. It’s Ultimate Team — fantasy football is what’s happening there”.