Fans of virtual football all around the globe have been anxiously awaiting the kick-off of the fourth FIFA Interactive World Cup. The first live qualifying event will get underway this coming Saturday (17 November) at the D3 Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the search to find 32 players for the Grand Final at the Sony Center in Berlin on 24 May 2008, the only global virtual football tournament will over the next five months visit 21 countries on six continents.
The winner of this prestigious competition will not only be crowned the FIFA Interactive World Player but also rewarded with an invitation to the FIFA World Player Gala 2008 along with USD 20,000 in prize money. The global online qualification event has been up and running since early October and will run until the end of March 2008 with a staggering 10,000 players already registered.
"The FIFA Interactive World Cup is the only place in the world where footballers can make their dream of being crowned a FIFA World Cup champion come true and feel the same thrill as professional players when stepping onto the field with a World Cup title on the line. Over the four years since its inauguration, I have witnessed some incredible virtual football action with thrilling games, excitement for players and a real treat for spectators," said FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke.
Famous football stars have also declared themselves to be huge fans. "The FIFA Interactive World Cup is a fantastic opportunity for all football fans to show off their skills and passion for the sport with FIFA 08," said Ronaldinho. "It is a great tournament in which you have to train and work hard to succeed - just like in real football - so I invite all fans to register and enjoy this party of interactive football."
Matt Bilbey, Senior Director of Sports Marketing at EA, said: "Thousands of football fans are already playing FIFA 08 in the online part of the FIFA Interactive World Cup. Now the time has come to sign up for one of more than 20 live qualifiers around the world for the ultimate opportunity to become a football superstar on the virtual stage via this one-of-a-kind tournament." Simon Rutter, VP of Sales & Marketing for SCEE, added: "The FIFA Interactive World Cup is a unique and exciting competition that we believe will resonate greatly with PS3 fans. We look forward to seeing this competition evolve."
Over the next few months, players around the world will pass, dribble and score their way to the Grand Final by testing their virtual skills against one another while playing EA SPORTS' FIFA08 on PlayStation®3. To enter the event, gamers can simply turn up at one of the FIFA Interactive World Cup qualifier events on the day, as indicated on www.FIFA.com/FIWC, or register directly on the same website for the online competition. Attendees at each live qualifier event will not only be able to watch the high standard of virtual football on show but also experience a host of activities away from the competition for players and spectators, such as a real-life football skills area, live music from up-and-coming DJs and bands plus a chance to meet some high-profile football stars.
For the past four years, the official website, FIFA.com, has been the one-stop shop for news, information and registration details on the FIFA Interactive World Cup. With just one click of a mouse, football fans can immediately become part of the game and access the most extensive coverage of all of the on- and off-line qualifiers leading up to the season's final, the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final on 24 May 2008. Exclusive features and behind-the-scenes stories also offer the unconverted an introduction to this exciting tournament.