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Image credit: Photo by Maik Boenisch/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Russian Parliament members claim FIFA 17 is gay propaganda

In Russia, even virtual rainbow jerseys are against the law.
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Photo by Maik Boenisch/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Russian government has a problem with a lot of current technology: a YouTuber was imprisoned for playing Pokémon Go, Microsoft Outlook was banned from government computers for being an American boogeyman, and good luck accessing LinkedIn from St. Petersburg. This week, Electronic Arts became the country's latest target when a group of Russian members of Parliament asked the government's communications oversight agency to possibly block FIFA 17 after the popular soccer franchise promoted a tie-in with a UK-based LGBT rights group.

FIFA 17 has lots of connections to the English Premier League for a variety of obvious reasons, but as the Guardian notes, the Russian MPs' beef with the title stems from EA's support of the Rainbow Laces campaign, in which the league partnered with LGBT rights group Stonewall to fight homophobia and transphobia at matches in the UK. EA's part in that campaign included virtual rainbow-colored uniforms FIFA 17 players could use to deck out their in-game teams. Even though the Rainbow Laces tie-in ended in November, the MPs claim the game is in violation of a 2013 law that outlaws the promotion of non-traditional relationships because they could bring "harm to children's health and development."

The MPs are asking the state consumer protection and communications oversight agencies to investigate whether the game should be banned from distribution in Russia, or if developer EA Canada should be ordered to change the game's age rating or even modify code to remove the parts that the Russian government finds so offensive.

Engadget has reached out to EA for comment and we'll update when we hear back.

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