Catalan calls for independence from Spain silenced in FIFA 15 by EA Sports


Spain's government may not be able to silence Catalan protesters calling for independence, but EA Sports' Madrid office reportedly had pro-independence chants removed from FIFA 15.

The video game maker censored itself by removing crowd chants from FC Barcelona's Camp Nou from FIFA 15 at the request of it's Madrid office, according to Le Sportiude Catalunya.

"Barca" matches at the stadium have become increasingly politicized in recent years as Catalans increasingly want to sever ties with the crown 300 years after the Catalan republic fell.

The reported censoring of the game came only days before the Spanish government filed a court request seeking to make illegal a planned November 9 independence referendum in Catalunya, according to Reuters.

The chants can clearly be heard in footage posted to YouTube of a FIFA 15 game played at Camp Nou, the home stadium of what is arguably the most famous and widely followed team in all of soccer. FCB star player, and captain, Lionel Messi is on the game's cover.

They were recorded from actual crowd chants as part of an effort that saw the game developer canvass the world for famous chants at historic stadiums, according to EA Sports.

An early demo of the game released by EA Sports included the chants, but they are not in the game's final version, Le Sportiude Catalunya is reporting. The inclusion of the chants "alarmed" EA's Madrid office, according to the paper.

EA spokesperson Colin McRae told AOL News that the chant was removed from the game after an internal review process.

"The chant was deemed inappropriate for FIFA 15," said McRae. "It was raised to us by our colleagues in Spain and from some of our fans."

McRae could not recall another instance of a chant being removed from the game.

La Blaugrana, as the team is also known, have gone out of their way to encourage the chants. The team even wore home jerseys earlier this season that were virtual replicas of the Catalan "Senyera" flag often seen being waved by fans at Camp Nou.

That same match, only two days after many in Barcelona celebrated "Catalan National Day," the team also unfurled a massive flag over the stands that marked the 300-years since Spain took over the once-independent republic.

Catalunya is a wealthy province in the northeast corner of Spain that has its own language (Catalan), culture and history. It accounts for 20 percent of Spain's economy despite having only about 15 percent of the country's population.