A recent change to FIFA 19’s Twitter banner may have just demonstrated sponsors’ deep concern over Cristiano Ronaldo’s rape allegations.
The Juventus forward has been accused of rape by Kathryn Mayorga, who claimed he assaulted her in Las Vegas in 2009. Ronaldo has denied the accusation, calling it “fake news”.
In an email to Eurogamer, an EA spokesperson stopped short of saying the publisher planned to ditch Ronaldo as FIFA 19 cover star, but called the report in German magazine Der Spiegel “concerning”.
“We have seen the concerning report that details allegations against Cristiano Ronaldo. We are closely monitoring the situation, as we expect cover athletes and ambassadors to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with EA’s values.”
FIFA fans had picked up on a recent change to the EA Sports FIFA Twitter banner, which swapped an image of Ronaldo for an image of the FIFA 19 logo with accompanying review quotes.
FIFA 19’s Twitter banner today
FIFA 19’s Twitter banner last week
However, the EA spokesperson told Eurogamer the company updates its social banners for certain marketing beats.
EA’s statement follows a similar comment from Nike, which has a contract with Ronaldo. “We are deeply concerned by the disturbing allegations and will continue to closely monitor the situation,” the sportswear company told The Associated Press.
Ronaldo was left out of the Portugal squad for upcoming games against Poland and Scotland, but Juventus has backed him on Twitter. The Italian club paid £105m to bring the superstar forward to Turin from Real Madrid.
“I firmly deny the accusations being issued against me,” Ronaldo said in a statement published on Twitter. “Rape is an abominable crime that goes against everything that I am and believe in.
“Keen as I may be to clear my name, I refuse to feed the media spectacle created by people seeking to promote themselves at my expense.
“My clear conscious will thereby allow me to await with tranquillity the results of any and all investigations.”
EA has invested heavily in Ronaldo as the cover star of FIFA 19, which is the best-selling game in the UK this year. The player adorns the game’s menus, and is front and centre in the FIFA Ultimate Team Ones to Watch promotion.