Fan Darren Holland started the petition on Change.org after IGN (another gaming news site) posted a mock cover image with a rendering of Rapinoe on it. More than 1,100 fans have signed the petition so far.
On the petition, Holland said, “[FIFA] needs to change its policy on prize money but that’s just the start. More exposure of this team and women’s football will help change their minds. EA has already done more than FIFA in terms of support so this is a no-brainer which I know they must be contemplating. Much respect to IGN for the original post and image on social media.”
EA has not responded to requests for comment.
Rapinoe wouldn’t be the first female athlete on the cover. In 2015, EA put Alex Morgan on the cover with Lionel Messi for the U.S. version of FIFA 16, while Christine Sinclair appeared on the cover with Messi in the Canadian edition. That move caused some surprising controversy, which then-EA executive Peter Moore condemned as misogyny.
Rapinoe would be a logical choice based on her achievements in the U.S. team’s victory, and she would also be controversial. She stirred the pot when she said the U.S. team would not go to the “f****** White House” if invited by President Donald Trump.
And she has been a vocal advocate for equal pay for female athletes. Female players are suing the U.S. Soccer Federation for equal pay compared to the men’s soccer players, and companies such as Procter & Gamble have articulated their support for the female players.
Last year, EA put Cristiano Ronaldo on the cover of FIFA 19, but the company dropped him after allegations of harassment surfaced. EA replaced him with fellow Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, Brazil star Neymar, and Manchester City’s midfield star Kevin de Bruyne.