Every year National League fans beg EA for the league to be included in the game, only to be ignored.
But now there could be a glimmer of hope…
A campaign to get the Vanarama National League included in FIFA 20 has been launched – and it’s picking up traction fast.
The campaign is being driven by league sponsors Vanarama and has garnered support from the National League, a number of clubs and even former FA chairman David Bernstein.
As part of the drive (no pun intended), Vanarama even mocked up a FIFA box featuring Jamie Collins, the captain of Sutton United, and Alfie Rutherford, Havant and Waterlooville’s top goal scorer.
Move over Ronaldo…
So, how likely is it that this campaign will succeed?
Well, this is a tough one but it could well happen – providing the campaign picks up enough speed.
Last year, EA included the Chinese Super League after months of mounting pressure from fans on the FIFA sub-reddit.
‘Why did fans want the CSL?’, we hear you ask.
The CSL may be home to the world’s richest clubs with some of the shortest histories, but it has attracted big names including the likes of Oscar and Hulk.
These marquee signings were subsequently not available in FIFA, omissions felt by the community. As more stars followed suit, EA had no choice but to include the league.
In contrast, the National League may not have huge budgets or players of the same calibre, but it makes up for that in history.
Formed in 1979, the league and is home to some of the most famous, and most important, clubs in English football – including our favourites Leyton Orient (who were last in FIFA 17).
Plus, as any of the National League’s tens of thousands of fans will tell you, you just can’t buy the magic of a Tuesday night away in drizzly Dover.
How good would it be to recreate an upset on the scale of Exeter City getting a draw at the Theatre of Dreams in the FA Cup in 2005, frustrating Alex Ferguson’s star-studded squad?
Or imagine reliving the magic of Sutton’s Matthew Hanlan knocking the holders, Coventry City, out of the FA Cup in 1989.
We can only dream…
These were once-in-a-generation moments that stay in the memory of real football fans forever – real football at arguably its most pure.
Obviously, decisions like this come down to numbers – and thankfully, the petition has these on its side.
This season, the appetite for National League has been bigger than ever with an average attendance of 46,811 across the league each week. Some games have even been shown on BT Sport. The demand is clearly there.
It’s even got some heavyweight supporters behind it – Bernstein being one of them, as well as Sutton United captain Jamie Collins.
“This campaign when successful will make a real commercial difference to the financial challenges facing non-league football – in addition to putting a smile on the faces of some of the most devoted fans in the world,” said Bernstein.
Collins added: “I’d love it if our fans were able to play as me and help me nod in the winner against Man City at Wembley.
“The campaign is a great idea, it’s about time real football got in the game.”
We couldn’t agree more.
You can sign the petition and join this excellent cause by clicking here!