This Lionel Messi player item, which has a real-world value of over £700, was available as part of a challenge that was released early this week.
For around 24 minutes, players who completed this challenge had an extremely high chance of being given the card, which is usually vanishingly rare.
After this was noticed on social media, the challenge was pulled offline by EA. This caused a large community outcry with many demanding EA compensate all players with the item, as not doing so would mean that those who were logged into the game when the bug occurred would have a huge advantage.
Now, EA has responded in a post on the EA FC blog.
“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,” reads the post.
“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.”
It’s not clear if this percentage refers to the number of players who completed the challenge, or players who have ever played the FC Ultimate Team mode.
“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.”