Electronic Arts has issued an apology to FC 24 players for the faulty challenge at the end of January that awarded a Lionel Messi Team of the Year Card to thousands of players, due to a bug in an SBC (Squad Builder Challenge).

The challenge was live for just 24 minutes before it was pulled, but during those 24 minutes thousands of, mainly European, players packed the untradeable 86+ Messi card, as the odds of getting it were around 20-25% higher than it should have been.

An official blog has now clarified that, after much mulling, players who got the card will get to keep it causing delight to those that did, and fury to those that didn’t, who now think it has unbalanced the whole Ultimate Team ecosystem, where players can spend real money, many times at least hundreds of dollars, in the hope of getting a pack of cards containing better players for their team.

The blog states, “A SBC was released on 30th January at 10 am PST with an 86+ OVR untradeable reward from 13 leagues that featured at least one TOTY Player Item.

Two of those leagues had only one Item matching the 86+ OVR threshold (Rest Of World and MLS).

The SBC was live for 24 minutes, prior to its removal following the identification of a design issue.

In that time frame an estimated 0.7% of Ultimate team players obtained a TOTY Messi item.”

Simply the fact that the card is Lionel Messi and most players would want him in their team is enough, but the fact it is such a special, high-value card that could affect games where people have effectively paid money to compete is damaging for the game, which until this year went under the FIFA moniker, in its first season.

EA Sports continued, “We understand this has caused frustration within the Ultimate Team Community, and we apologize and appreciate your patience. We have explored several scenarios for how to proceed in a way that is both fair and would preserve long-term game health. We can confirm the following:

  • “Players who completed this SBC while it was available will keep their rewards
  • “The SBC will not be returning as originally designed,
  • “We know that this is not a perfect solution, and we will continue examining our processes with the aim of minimizing such issues in the future.”

One thing is for sure, when Messi pops up with that last minute winner against a lot of teams, there are going to be more controllers hurled across the room than ever before.

Paul McNally

Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media.

Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020.

Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the The Mirror. He has also hosted panels at retro-gaming conventions and can regularly be found guesting on gaming podcasts and Twitch shows. He is obsessed with 3D printing and has worked with several major brands in the past to create content

Believing that the reader deserves actually to enjoy what they are reading is a big part of Paul’s ethos when it comes to gaming journalism, elevating the sites he works on above the norm. Reach out on X.


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Harmony Evans is an award-winning author of Harlequin Kimani Romance, African-American romance, and so on. Harmony Evans is an award-winning author for Harlequin Kimani Romance, the leading publisher of African-American romance. Her 2nd novel, STEALING KISSES, will be released in November 2013. Harmony is a single mom to a beautiful, too-smart-for-her-own-good daughter, who makes her grateful for life daily. Her hobbies include cooking, baking, knitting, reading, and of course, napping and also review some of the best-selling and popular brands and services in the market and also write comprehensive blogs.

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