In a groundbreaking move that champions inclusivity and diversity, the latest patch for FIFA 23 introduces a significant change by updating the in-game model of Moroccan defender Nouhaïla Benzina to feature a hijab. This momentous step marks the very first instance of the Islamic headscarf being incorporated into the popular football video game series.
The transformation comes as a direct result of Benzina’s exceptional performance during the Women’s World Cup, where she has been showcasing her skills while proudly wearing the hijab – even during a recent clash against France. Now, this historic stride finds its manifestation within the digital realm of FIFA 23.
Paving the Way: Progress in the Face of Past Restrictions
Back in March 2014, the real-world football governing body FIFA took an important stride by revising its regulations concerning the use of the hijab in the game. Previously disallowed due to concerns of potential injuries, the hijab was finally given the green light.
At the forefront of this revolution stands 25-year-old Nouhaïla Benzina, a talent hailing from Moroccan club ASFAR and a vital asset to the national team. Her unwavering dedication to her sport, combined with her choice to wear the headscarf during the ongoing Women’s World Cup, has now resulted in a remarkable update to her in-game character model – an update that reflects her identity and beliefs.
FIFA 23’s New Chapter: Inclusivity Takes Center Stage
The newest addition to the FIFA series, the 2023 edition, has further expanded its embrace of women’s football. Not only did FIFA 23 introduce women’s international teams for the first time in FIFA 16, but it has also etched its name as the inaugural game to feature women’s club teams.
This step towards inclusivity is now taken even further with the inclusion of the hijab in Nouhaïla Benzina’s player model through Title Update 16, a testament to the game’s dedication to reflecting the diverse world of football.
The Evolution Continues: EA Sports FC 24 and Women’s Inclusion
Amidst these monumental changes, it’s worth noting that the next installment from EA Sports will not carry the traditional FIFA title. Instead, the series will be reborn as EA Sports FC 24. This transformation comes in response to licensing challenges.
Excitingly, this rebranded series will uphold its commitment to showcasing women in its hallmark Ultimate Team mode, cementing its stance on fostering gender equality within the virtual football universe.
Although Morocco’s Women’s World Cup journey came to an end following a 4-0 defeat to France, the competition marches on. France, now set to face Australia in the quarter-finals on Saturday, August 12, continues to chase their World Cup dreams. Meanwhile, the round of 16 witnessed a surprising upset as previous World Cup champions, the United States, were eliminated by Sweden on penalties.
In this age of progress and transformation, FIFA 23’s inclusion of the hijab in Nouhaïla Benzina’s player model stands as a shining example of the strides being made to ensure that every player’s story is celebrated and respected within the virtual realm of football.
As the world watches the Women’s World Cup unfold, it’s evident that the beautiful game continues to evolve, reflecting the rich tapestry of human experience.