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Arsenal legend Ian Wright says FC 24 mixed teams is ‘a beautiful thing’

Wright was full of enthusiasm for the new integration of women into Ultimate Team
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EA Sports FC Ambassador and Arsenal icon Ian Wright continues to bang the drum for women’s soccer, as he spoke at the FC 24 launch in London last week, ahead of the game’s release today, September 29.

Speaking to GLHF on the ‘green carpet’ at the event, which also saw Heung-Min Son and Thierry Henry in attendance, Wright was full of enthusiasm for the new integration of women’s players in Ultimate Team, FC’s most popular game mode. Five leagues of players - from NWSL, WSL, Liga F, Frauen-Bundesliga, and - are now available to unlock and play with in Ultimate Team.

“It's a beautiful thing, football is for everybody, so it’s great to see that it’s finally being recognized on this level,” he said.

Icons of the women’s game have also been recognized with special cards, joining Wright himself, who has a playable avatar in FC 24, despite retiring in 2000. England’s first female Icon is Kelly Smith, a friend and former clubmate of Wright at Arsenal.

“It’s fantastic for the Icons, players like Marta and Kelly Smith, all the great players that we can mention, Mia Hamm too, it goes back! So, to see it on a level playing field now for people playing the game with [Ultimate Team], it’s brilliant,” Wright added.

Wright is arguably the biggest ally of women’s soccer in England, and followed England on their World Cup odyssey to Australia this summer. When asked which of the Lionesses he tipped for popularity within Ultimate Team, he couldn’t pick just one player.

“For the Lionesses? I think Lauren James, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly with her knack for scoring unbelievably important goals or penalties, Leah Williamson when she gets back, we’ve got a few quality players in there,” he said.

Mixing the gender of teams in FC Ultimate Team hasn’t come without its controversies online, but Wright rebuffed those sentiments.

“You try not to take notice of people like that, because they’re not really the people you want to reach,” Wright stated.

“Boys and girls play up to the age of 12, and they’re not fussed about that, in a game you know, men and women can play in the icons team. I’m gonna have some of the girls in my [Ultimate] Team,” he added.

The increased visibility of women’s stars in Ultimate Team has been tipped to raise the profile of women’s game, putting them in front of more of FC’s 300 million players. It’s something that FC has already been credited with in the men’s game, and they now want to make household names of women’s stars.

“The people who can see that this is a beautiful thing in the game [FC], can see that it’s something that will benefit the game [in real life],” Wright said.

He also called for negativity to be ignored in favor of highlighting the positive growth around the women’s sport.

“The fact is, we’ve got to stop putting emphasis on those people who are being negative, it’s not important what they think. It’s gathering so much momentum, the support for the women’s game, that you can’t really be dragged back by people who think negatively.”

EA Sports FC 24 is now available on PS5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch