EA suspends FIFA 21 discretionary content granting in wake of scandal

EA has suspended FIFA 21 discretionary content granting in the wake of allegations that an employee or someone connected to the publisher has been selling Ultimate Team items on a virtual black market.

“Earlier this week, we were made aware of suspicious activity relating to highly rated content in FIFA Ultimate Team,” EA said, explaining the situation. “We learned that FUT items were granted to individual accounts that did not earn them through gameplay…  It appears that one or more EA accounts, which were either compromised or being used inappropriately by someone within EA, directly entitled items to these individual accounts.”

The publisher detailed the three ways in which items could be issued when technically unearned: as a reward for technical issues experienced, through testing, or as part of promotions to atheletes, partners and employees.

“The world of football powers our FIFA game, and often we want to recognize contributions that have been made by certain Pro Footballers, celebrity partners, or even our own employees to drive it forward,” EA said of the latter. “Sometimes we do this through the granting of in-game content.  The items granted on a discretionary basis to these partners or employees are always non-tradeable and can be used only by the account to which they were originally granted. We do not use this discretionary process to grant content to professional video game influencers.”

EA says that all discretionary content granting makes up less than 0.0006% of FUT player items but stresses the actions that have been discovered “fall far outside of these legitimate scenarios for granting content.”

While an investigation is underway, EA has suspended all discretionary content granting “for an indefinite period” and has thanked the FIFA community for its support.

FIFA 21 is currently available on Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series S & X, PS4, PS5, Switch and Stadia.

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Steve Wright

Steve's the owner of this very site and an active games journalist for the past ten years. He's a Canadian-Australian gay gaming geek, ice hockey player and fan. Husband to Matt and cat dad to Wally and Quinn.