The English fifth tier is campaigning for inclusion in the next EA Sports title as fans pray that they can play as their favourite club

With each new edition of FIFA, the game expands with new leagues, teams and competitions.

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FIFA 19 secured the licensing rights for the Champions League and Europa League, as well as adding the Chinese Super League to a line-up of over 30 leagues and more than 700 football clubs.

Yet, one league which is yet to appear in any iteration of FIFA is England’s Vanarama National League.

With high-profile teams such as Leyton Orient and Tranmere Rovers averaging crowds between 4,000 and 5,000 last season, its popularity eclipses many lower divisions from other countries. 

Last month, the league’s main sponsor Vanarama began a petition for the National League to be included in FIFA 20 and created a mock-up front cover with Sutton United’s Jamie Collins and Havant and Waterlooville’s Alfie Rutherford.

The campaign has now attracted over 9,389 signatures and has been backed by the National League, numerous clubs and former FA chairman, David Bernstein

Andy Alderson, CEO and co-founder at Vanarama, said: “We love being involved in non-league football. Its proper football, with proper fans.

“The Vanarama National League is growing year on year and deserves to be recognised in FIFA 20. EA Sports need to stand up and take note and give the best fans in world football what they want.

“If it’s in the game, it’s in the game – come on EA live by your mantra!”.

It is a change that would not only delight the die-hard fans of their local clubs, but also dedicated Career Mode players who usually enjoy taking a team from League Two to Premier League glory.

Adding an extra division into the mix and being able to complete the same feat with a non-league team would be a dream for many aspiring managers.

We have also seen what impact lower league players can have on FIFA with the likes of Adebayo Akinfenwa. The Wycombe Wanderers forward has become a FIFA icon, helped by often being ranked as the strongest player in the game.

Sutton United captain Collins admitted he was entertained by the novelty of potentially seeing himself in the game: “I’d love it if our fans were able to play as me and help me nod in the winner against Man City at Wembley!

“The campaign is a great idea, it’s about time real football got in the game.”

And for Bernstein, exposure from the game could make a huge difference for National League clubs: “This campaign, when successful, will make a real commercial difference to the financial challenges facing non-league football – in addition to putting a smile on the faces of some of the most devoted fans in the world.”

The petition is available to sign at Change.Org.