Iceland have fended off relegation from one of the world’s most popular video games

Justina Crabtree; special to
Iceland's national football team during the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter final match between France and Iceland on July 3, 2016 in Paris, France.
VI Images | Getty Images

The Icelandic soccer team generated one of the standout stories of this summer's Euro 2016 tournament in France, unexpectedly winning a place in the quarter finals. After such a stellar performance, featuring in the next version of the FIFA video game seemed assured.

However, such hopes were soon dashed when, according to the Football Association of Iceland (KSI), EA offered just $15,000 to include the national team in the video game.

"They almost want [the rights] for free," KSI president Geir Thorsteinsson told AFP Tuesday.

"We don't accept bad treatment … We made them a counter-offer, which they did not accept," he added.

News of the exclusion sparked a social media storm protesting calling for their promotion to the game.

Speaking to CNBC via telephone Wednesday, Thorsteinsson said that: "We have been in contact today with EA sports over possible inclusion in FIFA 2018."

He explained, "we were not in [EA's] initial plans for FIFA 17 but at the last moment they wanted to include us."

"We were offered $15,000 to appear in the game, and it needed a quick decision. We wanted to negotiate price, but there was no room to discuss it," Thorsteinsson added.

When pressed on an expected figure for the Icelandic national side's inclusion, Thorsteinsson said that "we don't have experience in talks" but clarified that he wanted to "find all the solutions."

EA Games are yet to provide CNBC with comment.

Roberto Coladangelo, head of strategy at sports marketing firm SportQuake, told CNBC via telephone that the initial row both "started to undermine [EA's] official status," as EA have an official FIFA licence, whilst Iceland, being one of the "biggest football stories of the year" had turned down what would have been a "great opportunity."

"EA gathers a vast amount of data," such as hours of game play per club, which would have informed its offer to Iceland, Coladangelo added. EA's fee permits its use of image rights and trademarks.

Iceland's national soccer team, currently ranked 27th in the world by FIFA, has not yet featured in the soccer video game. India's national side is the lowest to be included, coming in 148th.

FIFA 17 is to be released in the U.S. on September 27, and worldwide on the 29th.

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