Over the last week, a scandal has broken out around FIFA 21’s Ultimate Team. There have been reports that some accounts may be getting rare players in FIFA 21’s Ultimate Team without actually earning them through play and packs. There has been speculation that an employee or employees at EA have been giving these rare Ultimate Team items to certain accounts in exchange cash, abusing the content granting system that EA has in place for FIFA Ultimate Team. This breaks EA’s own user agreement and, likely, employee contractual terms.
With content granting EA has the ability to give individual accounts items, and it would usually be used to solve an issue such as an item disappearing from an account. Sometimes, they are granted for other reasons and in those cases are untradeable items so cannot be sold on Ultimate Team’s market for coins. The system is also used to test items and their quality, as well as granting special items to professional footballers, and EA team members. EA states that altogether these items make up 0.0006% of all items in the Ultimate Team ecosystem.
EA statement on the issue:
“Our initial investigation shows questionable activity involving a very small number of accounts and items. Although it is not a large number, if these allegations prove out, this activity is unacceptable. We want to thank our committed community members for bringing the issue to our attention so quickly.
Next, let’s be clear about what will happen now. When our investigation is completed, we will take action against any employee found to have been engaging in this activity. Any items granted through this illicit activity will be removed from the FUT ecosystem and EA will permanently ban any player known to have acquired content through these means.
Regardless of these actions, we appreciate how concerning this is to all of our players, and we apologize for the impact of these improper grants within the community. We also appreciate how extremely annoying and frustrating it is that this practice might have come from within EA. We’re angry too. We know that the trust of our communities is hard-earned, and is based on principles of Fair Play. This illicit activity shakes that trust. We’ve also been clear since the creation of Ultimate Team that items cannot be exchanged outside our game, and that’s key to how we keep our game safe from manipulation and bad actors. This is a breach of that principle, as well — and we won’t let it stand.”
EA is going to continue its investigation and ban any accounts that have benefitted from the abuse of the content granting system. It is also likely that any employee found to have taken part will have their employment terminated with EA. EA has also put a halt to all discretionary content granting indefinitely. Questions will remain including how long this has been going on for, and if similar issues have occurred in other EA titles including Madden.