FIFA Interactive World Cup sets off on the road to Rio
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The FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) 2014 kicks off today, with the tournament set to come closer to the FIFA World Cup™ than ever before. The FIWC is now open to millions of competitors from all over the world who will be battling to secure one of 20 coveted places in the Grand Final of the event, which will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ by FIFA and Presenting Partners EA SPORTS™ and PlayStation®.

This will be the first time ever that the FIWC Grand Final has taken place in the Host Nation of the FIFA World Cup, adding an extra incentive for the eventual winner to be crowned world champion in the same country as the world’s best team in July 2014.

A ceremonial first game of the FIWC 14 tournament was played yesterday at the Maracana by Brazilian FIWC champion Andre Buffo, a past Grand Finalist, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Official Mascot Fuleco. FIFA World Cup Champion and 2014 FIFA World Cup LOC Board Member Ronaldo also sent a good-luck message to all FIWC competitors:

“To be crowned a FIFA World Champion is an incredibly special moment” said Ronaldo, who scored the winning goals in the Final of the 2002 FIFA World Cup™. “Usually this honour is limited to the very best professional football players. I think it’s fantastic that the FIFA Interactive World Cup makes that dream a possibility for football fans all over the world and I’m looking forward to experiencing the event next year in Rio”.

Last year’s edition of the tournament attracted more than 2.5 million competitors from across the globe, climaxing in Madrid where French star Bruce ‘the machine’ Grannec secured his World Champion title as well as 20,000 USD and the chance to meet the world’s greatest football players as a special guest at the FIFA Ballon d’Or in January.

Qualification for this year’s event will take place over six separate 1-month-long seasons. In keeping with the tradition of previous editions, the top two online players from each season will qualify for the Grand Final. Additionally, for the first time in FIWC history, a third ‘best-placed’ qualification spot will be handed out every season to the player deemed the winner of the Community Qualifier. This new online format ensures that the FIWC Grand Final is more accessible than ever before and emphasizes quality of online games over quantity. FIWC Players are awarded a win/lose ratio based on a minimum of 30 games played over an online season. The player with the best win/lose ratio at the end of a season wins the Community Qualifier seat.

In addition to the 20 Grand Final participants, FIFA and PlayStation will also be offering other competitors the opportunity to travel to Brazil, experience the FIWC Grand Final and watch one of the FIFA World Cup™ matches live in the stadium. For more information on the FIWC and to become part of the FIWC community please visit www.fifa.com/fiwc and www.facebook.com/fiwc or follow the event on Twitter @FIWC.