EA Adds First-Ever Hijabi Player To FIFA 23 In New Update

Nouhaïla Benzina's in-game model now includes head covering just like her real-life counterpart.

Story Highlights

  • In its new update, EA has added the hijab to Morrocan international Nouhaïla Benzina’s player model, making her the first player in the football simulator’s history to wear a headscarf.
  • Benzina recently made history by becoming the first female player to wear a religious headscarf in a World Cup match.
  • Hence, the developer has updated its record-breaking entry to reflect this landmark in a commendable move.

By adding a head covering to Nouhaïla Benzina’s model in FIFA 23, EA has set a new precedent and made her the first Hijabi player in the series’ history. The developer updated the player model of the Moroccan international in its new update and included the hijab to reflect how she looks on the field. Hence, the biggest football game on the planet will now include a Hijabi player, something that has never happened before.

FIFA 23 title update 16
FIFA 23 title update mentions the change.

In the currently ongoing FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Nouhaïla Benzina created history in Morocco’s second group stage match. In the 1-0 win against South Korea, Benzina wore a headscarf, or as Muslims call it, the hijab. By doing so, the Moroccan international player became the first woman in history to play a World Cup game with a religious headscarf on.

Even though Nouhaïla Benzina’s actions did receive some criticism, namely Islamophobic comments from L’equipe, the overall reception from the global community was positive. Many hailed the Moroccan defender for setting an example for women and their right to choose what they can wear, while simultaneously being a role model for Muslim footballers. Therefore, it’s nice to see EA acknowledge this historical moment in FIFA 23. 

In recent times Electronic Arts has done a lot to promote women’s football in the FIFA series after neglecting it for decades. The American publisher first introduced women’s football to the franchise in FIFA 16, but with only a few national teams like the USA to choose from. Women’s football was also given some spotlight in The Journey game mode in FIFA 18, with Alex Hunter’s sister Kim being a playable character with her own plotline.

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Much progress wasn’t made until the latest entry in the series, FIFA 23, where EA finally introduced the Women club teams to the football series. Even though only teams from the FA Women’s Super League and French Division 1 Feminine were included, Sam Kerr, who plays for Chelsea, became the first female footballer to feature on the game’s global cover. 

Afterward, the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the United State’s National Women’s Soccer League were also added to FIFA 23. Following the March 23 update, players could finally experience two of the most popular leagues in the women’s football hemisphere. Furthermore, EA Sports is going to improve even more regard to the inclusion of female footballers in its upcoming rebranded entry, EA FC 24.

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The franchise’s new title will be the first game that will have women in the immensely popular Ultimate Team mode, letting you make teams with both male and female footballers. In an IGN interview, The game’s producer said that they feel the decision will help unite the world of football, and a mode like Ultimate Team, where you can build your fantasy match-ups with players from all eras, felt like the perfect spot for this change.

Hence, EA is only looking to increase the inclusion of women’s football in its future entries, which if you look at the record-breaking sales of FIFA 23, is only a good move. Hopefully, we see more initiatives from both FIFA and EA to include women of different races, religions, and sexualities in their football simulation titles without any discrimination.

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Ahmed Mansoor is a News Writer who has a deep passion for single-player adventure games. He loves to keep tabs on the gaming and technology industries and loves to break stories that interest his audience. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and several years of experience writing for games. Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelor's in Journalism || Written 600+ News Stories.

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