Any discussion on additional leagues and licenses for football games inevitably leads to misty-eyed reminiscing of old versions of Pro Evolution Soccer and classic Man Red vs Man Blue encounters. Fortunately we live in a world where the all-conquering popularity of football and football games means that EA and Konami can afford any licenses they need – although that said, one has been conspicuously absent from recent FIFA editions, more on that later.
EA have gone all out in recent versions of FIFA to include a huge variety of top leagues from around the world. The Argentinian Primera Division and Colombian Primera A have finally made the cut, and other top leagues from the J and K-Leagues in Japan and Korea, to the Saudi ‘Dawry Jameel’ Pro League are included in all their glory. It’s fantastic that FIFA caters to more football fans around the world than ever before, but there’s always room for improvement, and we’ve picked out five football leagues that are still waiting eagerly for inclusion in FIFA 18. Take a look!
Chinese Super League
Just when you thought transfer fees and wages in football couldn’t get any crazier, say hello to the Chinese Super League. £51 million and £400,000 a week for Chelsea’s bench warming-midfielder Oscar. £47 million for Brazilian winger Hulk. £71 million and £615,000 a week for the now 33-year-old Carlos Tevez. However you feel about the staggering amounts of cash being thrown around by China’s top clubs, there’s no denying that it’s put the Chinese Super League on the map, and with top European stars like Diego Costa being sounded out over moves to the Far East, things are only going to get bigger. With all that in mind, it’s about time for the Chinese Super League to make it’s way into FIFA.
Campeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian Football League)
Now yes, okay, the Brazilian top flight is in FIFA 17 and has been for a little while, but if you look carefully you’ll notice that the league isn’t properly licensed. In fact, the Brasileiro hasn’t been fully licensed since FIFA 14. EA was unable to reach an agreement with rights holders in Brazil for FIFA 15 and has apparently not been able to since. That’s a little awkward when you realise that Konami has the full license for the Brazilian Serie A in Pro Evo 2017, as well as a partnership with Brazilian club Corinthians. But fingers crossed EA can obtain the rights to the Brasileiro for FIFA 18 – Brazil is still the spiritual home of the game, and full of talented players who deserve to have their real names in the game.
National Women’s Soccer League
FIFA 16 set an important precedent by including women’s national teams for the first time, and FIFA 17 improved on that by expanding the number of teams from 12 to 14. If EA really wants to make a statement with FIFA 18, it’s time they upped the ante on women’s football, starting with the inclusion of America’s National Women’s Soccer League. The USA is arguably the centre of the women’s game – it’s certainly where the women’s side of the sport is most popular, as evidenced by the average crowd attendance of five and a half thousand so far this year – and the NWSL is home to bonafide stars of world football, like Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe.
Other Women’s Leagues
If the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League gets the nod, it surely means that the rest of the world’s leading women’s leagues will be included as well. The Frauen Bundesliga in Germany, Division 1 Feminine in France, Japan’s Nadeshiko League and the Women’s Premier League in England all deserve inclusion, and each is host to a selection of some of the world’s finest footballers. As women’s football grows in stature and popularity, EA would do well to stay ahead of the curve and be the first to bring in fully playable women’s leagues in Career Mode, opening FIFA up to a new generation of players and fans.
The third tier of the Bundesliga might seem quite niche to some, but lower league teams often have incredibly passionate supporters and Germany is no different. FIFA already features the equivalent divisions in both Spain and England, and the 3 Bundesliga is just as deserving, with storied clubs like F.C. Hansa Rostock, MSV Duisburg and FC Magdeburg currently playing in Germany’s third tier. Consider as well, that just four years ago, RB Leipzig had just been promoted to the 3 Bundesliga. Today, they sit second in the top tier of the German league, just behind Bayern Munich. There’s clearly plenty of talent in the German leagues, let’s see more of it in FIFA 18.