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Liverpool 'most active' club in hunt to sign £21m defender despite signing Ibrahima Konate

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FIFA 22 video game, PlayStation, Xbox, EA Sports, name change, why, latest news

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EA Sports is contemplating changing the name of its iconic FIFA football video game series, the company has revealed.

The latest edition, FIFA 22, was released last week and already boasts more than 9m players, with 460m matches having already been played and 7.6m Ultimate Team squads created.

However, despite the overwhelming success, EA Sports’ general manager Cam Weber announced that the company is exploring the idea of rebranding the FIFA series, as it “reviews its naming rights arrangement” with football’s governing body.

Should EA Sports follow through with the split, it would be hugely financially detrimental to FIFA, with it being its biggest commercial contract worth more than A$140m a year.

A statement said: “Through years of building our global franchise, we also know that authenticity is essential to the experience.

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Will EA change the name of FIFA?
Will EA change the name of FIFA?Source: Supplied

“That’s why we focus so much energy on the collective strength of over 300 individual licensed partners that give us access to 17,000+ athletes across 700+ teams, in 100 stadiums and over 30 leagues around the world.

“We continually invest in the partnerships and licenses that are most meaningful to players, and because of that, our game is the only place you can authentically play in the iconic UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, CONMEBOL Libertadores, Premier League, Bundesliga, and LaLiga Santander, among many others.

“The breadth of our partnerships and our ecosystem of licensed content will enable us to continue to bring unrivalled authenticity in our EA SPORTS football games, now and for many years to come.

“As we look ahead, we’re also exploring the idea of renaming our global EA SPORTS football games. This means we’re reviewing our naming rights agreement with FIFA, which is separate from all our other official partnerships and licenses across the football world.

“The future of football is very big and very bright. Our priority is to ensure we have every opportunity to continue delivering the world’s greatest interactive football experiences.”

FIFA has been produced annually since 1993 by EA for users on PlayStation, Xbox and other devices but could now follow a similar line to rivals Konami, who renamed its Pro Evolution Soccer series as eFootball.

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Arsenal legend Arsene Wenger to make managerial return for first time since 2018

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Arsene Wenger has not taken up another managerial role since ending his 22-year stay at Arsenal back in 2018.

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Newcastle sold to Saudi Arabia, Mike Ashley leaves, news, latest, controversy

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A Saudi-led consortium completed its takeover of Premier League club Newcastle United on Thursday despite warnings from Amnesty International that the deal represented “sportswashing” of the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record.

The English top flight said it had settled legal disputes that had initially stalled the £300 million ($559 million AUD) takeover and received “legally binding assurances” that the Saudi Arabian government would not control the club.

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“The Premier League, Newcastle United Football Club and St James Holdings Limited have today settled the dispute over the takeover of the club by the consortium of PIF, PCP Capital Partners and RB Sports & Media,” the Premier League said in a statement.

“Following the completion of the Premier League’s owners’ and directors’ Test, the club has been sold to the consortium with immediate effect.”

Public Investment Fund (PIF) governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan said: “We are extremely proud to become the new owners of Newcastle United, one of the most famous clubs in English football.

“We thank the Newcastle fans for their tremendously loyal support over the years and we are excited to work together with them.” Hundreds of success-starved fans swarmed to Newcastle’s St James’ Park ground, celebrating by letting off flares as the reign of the unpopular Mike Ashley came to an end.

Former Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer tweeted “Yesssssssss. We can dare to hope again” while another former forward, Michael Owen, said it could be a “game-changer” for the club.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust tweeted a letter to the new owners saying it looked forward to working with them” to rejuvenate one of the greatest football clubs in England”.

Newcastle, currently managed by former Manchester United defender Steve Bruce, are without a win in their opening seven games of the Premier League season and sit second-bottom of the table.

The transformation of Manchester City into serial winners since a 2008 takeover from Sheikh Mansour, a member of the Abu Dhabi royal family, is the template for the club to follow.

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– Unpopular Ashley –

The consortium featuring the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners and billionaire brothers David and Simon Reuben struck a deal to buy the club from Ashley in April 2020.

However, the controversial takeover bid hit the rocks after an outcry from Qatar-based beIN Sports, a major television rights holder of the Premier League.

The broadcaster, which extended its rights to the English top flight for the Middle East and North African region earlier this year, was banned by Saudi Arabia in 2017 at the start of a diplomatic and transport blockade of Qatar, which ended in January.

Tensions between the states have eased significantly this year and Saudi’s ban on beIN is set to be lifted, with a source briefed on the matter saying there was a “commitment for it to happen”.

Riyadh is also seeking to settle Qatar’s $1 billion arbitration claim over pirate broadcasts to Saudi audiences by the BeoutQ network.

The PIF, chaired by Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely known as MBS, is reportedly taking an 80 per cent stake under the deal.

The takeover could transform the Magpies’ fortunes — despite regular attendances of 50,000, Newcastle have not won a major trophy since 1969.

Ashley has been deeply disliked in his 14 years in charge, during which time the club have twice been relegated from the Premier League before bouncing back.

Despite the celebrations in Newcastle, Amnesty has warned the deal is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to “sportswash” its human rights record.

“Ever since this deal was first talked about, Amnesty have said it represents a very clear attempt by the Saudi authorities to sportswash their appalling human rights record using the glamour of the Premier League,” Amnesty’s head of campaigns in the UK, Felix Jakens, told AFP.

Saudi Arabia faced international condemnation following the brutal murder of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate three years ago.

In February, US intelligence released a report that accused MBS of approving the murder, an assessment strongly rejected by the Saudis.

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