With the football off thanks to the pandemic, the English Premier League is turning to Fifa 20 to settle rivalries. Starting today, the ePremier League Invitational knockout tournament will see 20 Premier League players (well, and a few fans) throwing down in Fifa, leading to a final on Saturday that'll even be shown on Sky Sports. Many sports have been running similar virtual competitions in video games from NBA 2K20 to F1 2019.
EPL players in the ePremier League Invitational include Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, Man City's Raheem Sterling, and Chelsea's Reece James. A few celebrity fans are filling in for their teams too, like singer Tom Grennan representing Man U. Folks are playing single-elimination matches with their regular teams, none of that Fifa Ultimate Team fanciness - though EPL players might be among the few who can actually afford a good FUT team.
Four matches will be played daily between noon and 4pm UK time from today through Friday, then Saturday the 25th will have the quarter-finals and final from 3pm. You can see the players and schedule on the EPL Invitational page. It'll be broadcast on YouTube and Twitch, and you can see today's action here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4lkDZowB4c
The prize fund will be donated to the #PlayersTogether iniative, which is helping fund our National Health Service. How grim that it's necessary.
Fifa 20 makers Electronic Arts ran a similar event of their own last week, the Stay And Play Cup with players from teams around the world. This here is closer to home, with just EPL players.
I only follow Scottish football (and not closely) so my only awareness of the English Premier League is through the bizarre filter of Bob Mortimer's ludicrous 'Gangs Of The EPL' stories on the podcast Athletico Mince. This is a bit like discovering Peter Rabbit is real. Very excited to see Raheem Sterling tomorrow, because I only know him from Bob as the squeaky-voiced Raheed Starling who once insisted that living without a special hot tap for instant boiling water "wouldn't even be a life."