Teams around the world turning to FIFA 20 to help those hit by football's widespread shutdown
Tournament organised by Leyton Orient kicks off after sparking huge interest
Money raised will support English Football League clubs and help tackle COVID-19
Although football is unfortunately on hold almost everywhere right now for obvious reasons, this has simply prompted many footballers to put their creativity to use in other ways – from toilet paper keepy-up challenges on Instagram and Twitter to posting their own favourite goals. Meanwhile, FIFA has decided to bring some classic matches into your living room with #WorldCupAtHome.
English fourth-tier side Leyton Orient came up with one particular idea that spread like wildfire. They issued a worldwide call to start a virtual football tournament on FIFA 20 that any club could sign up for. They were not planning to put on a professional or ranked eSports event – instead, they wanted a player, employee or fan of each club to throw their hat into the ring. Although the tournament was initially meant to include 64 entrants, that figure has been expanded to 128 teams, who will face each other in this knockout competition from Sunday evening onwards.
Reigning English Premier League champions Manchester City will battle it out against lower-league clubs from as far afield as North America, Australia and Africa. The organisers even wasted no time in finding an appropriate name for the event: Ultimate QuaranTeam.
Once it became apparent that the competition had triggered a flood of interest, the organisers came up with the idea of combining something enjoyable – playing football together – with something useful, and decided to launch a charity appeal. The plan is for 75 per cent of donations to go to the English Football League to help clubs who will encounter financial difficulties as a result of the restrictions forced on them by COVID-19. The remaining 25 per cent will be shared equally between the English Football League’s charitable organisation and the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.
"This provides a fantastic opportunity to play a small part in providing some engaging content with football fans at this very difficult time," said Leyton Orient chief executive Danny Macklin. "Furthermore, and perhaps even more importantly, it’s a chance to raise much needed funds for EFL clubs and two phenomenal causes."
Round of 128: from Sunday 22 March, 19:00
Round of 64: from Tuesday 24 March, 19:00
Round of 32: from Thursday 26 March, 19:00
Round of 16: from Saturday 28 March, 19:00
Quarter-final: from Monday 30 March, 19:00
Semi-final: from Wednesday 1 April, 19:00
Final: from Friday 3 April, 19:00
*All times GMT – one hour before CET
Six minutes per half
Each player will play as their own team
Head-to-head friendlies – not Ultimate Team
The same players should play for their club throughout the tournament
Clubs can stream matches live – Leyton Orient will do this via Twitch
The full draw can be found here.