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The big FIFA news of the weekend… is -NOT- Alan Smith replacing Andy Gray!

Written by on Monday, 4 July 20114 Comments

Earlier this year, Andy Gray was fired from Sky Sports. The reasoning for this, without going into too much detail, was that he made some sexist remarks about female assistant referee Sian Massey (who, perhaps brilliantly, went on to prove him incredibly wrong by making a fantastic call in the match which followed). Andy Gray (and Richard Keys) were both quickly (and quietly) hired by TalkSport on what one hopes was a lower salary. But I digress.

The story here follows from the internal debate amongst FIFA gamers – would EA stick with Andy Gray after he was fired from Sky Sports? And the answer is a resounding ‘no’. EA announced on Friday that the broadcast team of FIFA 12 would be Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, which will certainly provide a shake-up in the commentary department.

But the real story here is not that replacement. It’s the other thing that EA have been keeping surprisingly quiet and not trumpeting around… FIFA 12 will feature -two- commentary teams. Oh yes. Not only will we have the team of Martin Tyler and Alan Smith, but for tournament matches we will be treated to Clive Tyldesley and Andy Townsend. This, for me, is the real story to come out of this weekend.

There are a few points to make here. Firstly, the two broadcast teams will only apply to the English-language version of the game. Probably unsurprising, as that’s where most of the money comes from. Secondly, EA are claiming that there will be “more than 10,000 lines of fresh commentary” added to the game. This is a quite substantial amount of commentary, no doubt aided by the fact that they have four people to speak them rather than the usual two.

Add to that the other features being touted for this year’s FIFA (such as the quick throw-ins and drop ball mechanics) and there’s no argument that this is shaping up to be the fullest, most well-rounded football experience yet.

Reminder: Two commentary teams.

I mean, wow.