No team from Brazil's domestic leagues will be licensed to appear in FIFA 15, following an apparent change in licensing terms between EA Sports and the clubs or their players there.
EA Sports confirmed the absence of Brazil's professional teams in a statement to IGN; however, FIFA 15 will feature Brazil's national team and all of its players under their own names. Additionally, any Brazilian player with another team licensed to appear in the game also will appear under his own name.
Nineteen of the 21 clubs in Brazil's top division for 2013-2014 were licensed for FIFA 14 — enough that EA Sports touted their inclusion as big news a year ago.
In a statement to IGN, EA Sports attributed the absence of Brazilian teams to "some changes in the ways players are licensed in Brazil domestic leagues."
The statement added that EA Sports would "continue to keep the lines of communication open with the Brazilian rights holders."
When the FIFA video game does not have the rights to a particular club, it gives them a generic logo and geographic name, and populates the roster with ringers. Polygon has reached out to EA Sports to ask if FIFA 15 will include an entire fictitious Brazilian league or just abandon it altogether.
Update: An EA Sports representative says there will be no Brazilian league whatsoever — fictitious or licensed — in FIFA 15. "The league won't be in FIFA 15 at all, not with generic player names or club crests," said the representative. "The challenge lies with the way players are now licensed in Brazil."
Meanwhile, Santos FC of São Paulo told Brazil's Terra.com it understood it had a contract with EA Sports to appear in FIFA until 2018, framed the exclusion of Brazilian sides as a reversal on EA's part, and added that EA had never contacted the club about any licensing problems.
Santos FC reiterated that it would appear in Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer 2015. The entire Brazilian league as well as the first divisions of Argentina and Chile were licensed to appear in PES 2014.
Terra quoted an EA representative as saying the lack of a players' association — through which EA Sports is able to negotiate group licenses in leagues like the NFL and NBA — in part led to the breakdown.