FIFA, along with Presenting Partners EA SPORTS™ and PLAYSTATION, today (13 January) announced that the highly anticipated FIFA Interactive World Cup 2009 (FIWC09) Grand Final will be held at Port Olimpic in Barcelona, Spain on 2 May 2009.
The Grand Final will witness the world's 32 best virtual footballers come head-to-head, with the aim of being crowned the FIFA Interactive World Champion 2009. The winner will take home a prize of USD 20,000 and an all-new KIA ‘Soul' car. For the first time in the tournament's history, the runner-up will receive USD 5,000, while the player in third place will be awarded USD 1,000.
There are two routes to reach the final. Nineteen of the 32 places in the final can be won through qualifying events that began in October 2008 and continue until April 2009 in countries including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Italy and the USA. Already, more than a staggering 320,000 players from around the globe (a new record to date) have competed in these events. The remaining 13 Grand Finalist spots are available via the FIWC09 Online Qualification at PlayStation®Network.
Speaking at the FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich yesterday, where he was presented with the 2008 FIFA Interactive World Champion's trophy, Spaniard Alfonso Ramos expressed his excitement at the prospect of defending his world title in his native country. Ramos also had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rub shoulders with the world's best male and female footballers, including fellow countrymen Fernando Torres and Xavi.
Since its inception in 2004, the FIFA Interactive World Cup has become the world's largest football gaming tournament, with players from 179 countries competing in last year's tournament.