EA Sports is axing 13 female footballers from the roster of FIFA 16 in order to protect the athletes' eligibility to compete in collegiate sports.

About 8 weeks ago, we reported EA Sports announced that FIFA 16's box art would feature female athletes in North America for the first time inseries history. Now, 13 of the game's female footballers are being removed from its roster due to concerns from the NCAA. The National Collegiate Athletic Association has likely informed EA Sports that 13 members of FIFA 16's roster were attending (or planning to attend) schools in North America whose collegiate sports were sanctioned by the NCAA. While appearing in a video game is nice and you might get a check out of it, some of these ladies may be going to school via soccer-based scholarships. Ultimately, their educations matter first. Like most other professional athletes, they'll just have to wait until they finish school and their NCAA careers.

Here's what EA Sports has to say about the issue in an official statement

In EA SPORTS FIFA 16, fans can now play with 12 Women’s National Teams for the first time in franchise history. It’s a huge achievement for our franchise and our players, and the feedback on their inclusion in game has been overwhelmingly positive through our demo. Today, with EA Access Play it First Trials, players now have the chance to play with all 12 teams for the first time.

We wanted to ensure all FIFA fans are updated on the final players and rosters. Of the hundreds of players on these rosters, 13 are currently attending or likely to attend NCAA-sanctioned schools in the U.S. The NCAA recently informed EA SPORTS that these 13 student-athletes would be risking their eligibility for collegiate athletics by being included in FIFA 16.

We do not agree with this position.  All rights were secured following standard protocol with national governing bodies and federations, and none of these NCAA student-athletes or potential student athletes were to be individually compensated by EA SPORTS for their inclusion in the game.

We believe this decision denies these 13 athletes the opportunity to represent their countries in the game, but we have removed them from FIFA 16 to ensure there is no risk to their eligibility.

The ladies being cut from the game include: Canada's Kadeisha Buchanan, Jessie Fleming, Ashley Lawrence, Janine Beckie, Rebecca Quinn and Sura Yekka; Mexico's Tanya Samarzich, Greta Espinoza, Christina Murillo, Amanda Perez, Emily Alvarado and Maria Sanchez; and Spain's Celia Jimenez.

FIFA 16 will launch on September 22 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

100 Video Game Facts You May Not Know