An English League Two team has organised a global FIFA 20 tournament to help raise money for clubs hit by the coronavirus outbreak - and it's taken off.
The tournament, which began life as a tweet by Leyton Orient, is dubbed "Ultimate Quaranteam" and has 128 clubs teams from across the world involved. The action kicks off this Sunday at 7pm and runs all next week with a final set to be played at 7pm on Friday, 3rd April.
All games in England's Premier League, EFL and WSL have been suspended until at least the end of April over the coronavirus crisis, leaving some clubs facing financial disaster.
The world of real-life football has already taken to virtual football to give fans something to cheer about, but that's set to ramp-up next week with the Ultimate Quaranteam tournament, which will be streamed live on Twitch. Leyton Orient has already raised £28,000 of its £50,000 target on Just Giving, with 75 per cent of money raised to go to the EFL within 28 days, and the remaining 25 per cent split between the EFL's chosen charity, MIND, and the World Health Organisation's COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fundraiser.
???? Sure, connect four is cool but we?ve got a better idea!— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) March 15, 2020
We need 63 other teams to enter a knock-out FIFA 20 tournament.
To enter, all we need is the club to RT this tweet.
We will host a live draw this Tuesday?
? for an away day to @ManCity #UltimateQuaranTeam #LOFC pic.twitter.com/7aycsrn48r
Clubs from 16 different countries are set to compete, with Premier League teams such as Manchester City, Newcastle and West Ham in the hat. Wonderfully, Northampton have been drawn away to Forest Green - the same fixture they were meant to play in League Two last Saturday before it got postponed.
Each team will be represented by a single player, which in many cases is a first-team squad member. Crystal Palace, for example, will be represented by winger Andros Townsend. Neal Maupay is expected to represent Brighton, and Todd Cantwell will play for Norwich.
Maaaaaate.... yesterday was the first time I?d picked up a controller in over 4 months..... I?ll probs get charged now for giving inside info ? https://t.co/DWLm9n6NV8— Andros Townsend (@andros_townsend) March 18, 2020
But some clubs will have a distinct advantage. Manchester City have a professional esports team and they will represent the Premier League champions. My money's on City, then.
However, according to the Racing Post, Sheffield Wednesday are 7-1 favourites after the announced they dipped into the emergency transfer market to sign pro-gamer Delee. Sneaky!
Unfortunately my beloved Chelsea do not appear to be involved. If they're looking for a world class FIFA player, I am available.
"This is very much the brainchild of our innovative Media Team - Luke and Dan," said Leyton Orient chief executive Danny Macklin. "This provides a fantastic opportunity to play a small part in providing some engaging content with football fans at this very difficult time.
"Furthermore and perhaps even more importantly it's a chance to raise much needed funds for EFL clubs and two phenomenal causes.
"On behalf of Leyton Orient FC we want to thank everyone for their support and we very much wish everyone well."
All the info on the tournament is over at Leyton Orient's website.