EA has pulled Man City's suspended defender Benjamin Mendy from FIFA 22 while he is awaiting trial.
Earlier this month, Mendy appeared in court charged with four counts of rape and one count of sexual assault.
The 27-year-old is accused of attacking three women at his home in Cheshire between October 2020 and August 2021.
Mendy will next appear at court on 15th November, when his lawyer is expected to apply to dismiss the charges. A trial date has been set for 24th January.
Mendy was suspended by Man City after being charged by police, pending an investigation.
FIFA 22 doesn't go on sale globally until 1st October, but it launched on 22nd September with a 10 hour trial for EA Play subscribers.
This trial provides access to the full game, albeit with a time limit. This means players can start building their Ultimate Team squads, buying and opening packs eight days before FIFA 22 goes on general sale, with all progress carrying over to the full game.
EA confirmed to Eurogamer that Mendy has been removed from the Man City and the French national team squads in FIFA 22, and his card has been suspended from appearing in Ultimate Team packs while he is awaiting trial.
Here's the statement provided to Eurogamer:
"As Benjamin Mendy has been removed from the active rosters of both Manchester City and the French National team, in FIFA 22 he has also been removed from respective rosters and suspended from appearing in FIFA Ultimate Team (FUT) packs and Ultimate Draft while he is awaiting trial."
Despite this, FIFA 22 Ultimate Team players will find Mendy in the game via the transfer market - FUT's version of an in-game auction house.
The transfer market has a large number of Mendy cards available to buy, which means he will appear in some players' Ultimate Team squads.
EA confirmed to Eurogamer that Mendy's removal from FUT card packs was triggered the day after FIFA 22's EA Play early access trial began, which means Mendy's card was available for 24 hours.
"We can confirm the changes in FUT were made the day after the launch of the EA Play early access trial resulting in some players having access to Mendy in packs before the suspension kicked in," EA said.
This isn't the first time EA has pulled a player from FIFA. In December 2019, EA removed former Netherlands, Ajax and AC Milan forward Marco van Basten from FIFA 20 after he used Nazi term "Sieg Heil" live on air.
EA will face questions over why Mendy was available in FIFA 22 at all, given he was suspended by his club in August. It's worth noting Mendy still currently appears in Man City's squad on their official website, although if you click through to his player page you'll see a "currently suspended" notice.
In February 2019, EA removed Emiliano Sala from FC Nantes in FIFA after he died in a tragic plane crash. At the time, EA permanently fixed the price of Sala-related items in Ultimate Team to prevent players from selling his card at an inflated price.
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