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Stadia 'ripe' for future FIFA titles

Stadia 'ripe' for future FIFA titles

On 9 October, the release of FIFA 21 will - like its predecessors - see several new stadia lovingly rendered for yet another step towards full authenticity. Since 2014, when FIFA 15 hit the shelves as the first title to include every Premier League ground, being promoted to the Premier League has guaranteed inclusion.

In practice, this means that Elland Road will finally make its debut, following Leeds United's return to the top-flight after a 16-year absence. Inevitably, there will be a slew of other requests far and wide, and based on diverse factors, here are several other grounds for EA to potentially consider...

Coventry City - Ricoh Arena

By virtue of events external to the footballing world, Coventry are again in the second tier, returning for the first time in eight years. Though they have done well to rise from the depths of League Two, their relegation outright odds of 9/2 in sports betting markets for 2020/21 betray a residual sense of vulnerability.

From a visiting fan's perspective, it has good facilities, plenty of legroom, good stewarding and perfect views. The stadium represents a perfect opportunity to generate noise and a top-class atmosphere, though the fact that fans have not often made this the case stands to reason.

The inclusion of the Ricoh Arena in a future FIFA title would certainly be a curious one, especially given Coventry's woes, but they have risen from the ashes like a phoenix, and undoubtedly deserve some recognition in differential media.

Then playing at Highfield Road, this was Coventry in happier times, as they entered the new millennium an established top-flight side, only to drop in 2001, and get nowhere near a return since.

Sheffield Wednesday - Hillsborough

Sheffield Wednesday were relegated in 2000, and the turn of the century signalled a sharp downturn in fortunes for the Owls. Financial difficulties and a further relegation sucked the life out of the place. A promotion in 2012, followed by a successful survival campaign kickstarted a slow but steady recovery - although, there 23/10 odds to be relegated this season would suggest it may have been slightly curtailed.

On a more poignant note, Hillsborough's legacy is to be eternally recognised as the place that football fans across the country are unified. As they pass the memorial on match day, fans pay their respects regardless of the club they support or the walk of life from which they come.

Some older players of older soccer titles may remember that Hillsborough has already been replicated in a video game. It made an appearance as a generic stadium in Gremlin Interactive's Actua Soccer 2 and also featured in lesser-known EA title Premier League Stars from 1999:

Tranmere Rovers - Prenton Park

There is no doubt that Prenton Park is one of the better grounds in the lower reaches of the Football League, and even during the club's more recent spells in League One, it put many other grounds to shame.

It is an all-seater stadium and never fails to generate a good league-level atmosphere. From any seat in the Main Stand, there is a perfect view of the pitch. Away supporters in the ‘Cowshed' Stand will also have a perfect view as there are no supporting pillars.

Though including the ground of such a low-standing team might appear unprecedented, it isn't. Back in 2015, Fratton Park (of then fourth-tier Portsmouth) made its way into FIFA 16, in honour of the late Simon Humber.

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