Kiyan Prince, the promising young footballer who was fatally stabbed outside his London school in 2006, has been included in the FIFA 21 game in a gesture that shows the player he could have become.
Game creators EA Sports said they hoped his selection in the QPR squad would help to bring more attention to the Kiyan Prince Foundation, which was founded by the boy’s father and former professional boxer Mark Prince with the objective of addressing and attempting to prevent knife and gun crime.
The announcement came 15 years to the day since Kiyan was murdered.
Kiyan, who played for the QPR academy and was tipped as a future professional, is portrayed in the popular game as a 30-year-old thanks to the use of AI technology. He would have turned 30 in November 2020 and wears the number 30 shirt in the game.
“It’s absolutely amazing. This is an incredible journey,” said Mark Prince. “It’s difficult for people to understand – how do you get purpose from so much pain?
“That’s why this story has to go global. Everybody has to hear about this story. It has to impact their lives. Whether you’re old or young, it will inspire you and it could direct the path of your life based on how you process the story.”
The hope is that youngsters playing the game are touched by the story of Kiyan and motivated not to become involved in violent crime.
A video billing his inclusion in the game features a voiceover, that says: “My name is Kiyan Prince and I am a professional footballer, or at least I would have been had I not been killed when I was 15.”
Mark Prince told BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s been an incredible journey. It’s bigger than me and it’s bigger than my son. I feel like we’re being used to be able to impact and make change because change has to happen.
“Someone has to have a solution and a system that helps to break this cycle. It’s about the mind, it’s about what’s happening mentally. It can’t just be about knives and [the attitude of] ‘Let’s put them in prison, harder sentences’.”
Kiyan Prince lost his life after being attacked with a pen knife outside his school in Edgware, north-west London. He was stabbed in the heart while trying to break up a fight, and his teenage attacker was jailed for murder.
Former England striker Les Ferdinand is director of football at QPR, whose Loftus Road home was renamed the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium two years ago.
Ferdinand said: “He was a fine young man, a fine footballer, and unfortunately he was taken away too soon.
“If we can save any lives and get people to make different decisions about what they do when they leave their home, instead of picking up a knife doing something very different, it will have been worth it.”