A number of FIFA 13 players have been permanently banned for taking advantage of a browser exploit within the game’s Ultimate Team web app.

The exploit gave the unscrupulous access to restricted packs of football player cards featuring big-name players which were then sold for profit, flooding the market with stars like Messi and Ronaldo in the process.

"Yesterday, a very small number of users attempted to gain an unfair advantage on the FUT web app," said EA via its FIFA 13 Twitter account.

"The FUT13 Web App had to be taken offline to be stabilized and ensure a level playing field for all FUT users.

"Permanent bans for FIFA 13 FUT have been served to all users who attempted to gain an unfair advantage. Thanks for your patience while we create the best experience for all fans of FUT."

Players have expressed concern on the long-term impact the cheating will have on the game’s economy, as the unlocked players remain in the system.

Some users called for a worldwide server rollback.

The same exploit was possible in last year’s FIFA 12.