English League Two football side Leyton Orient has announced that it will host an impromptu mass Fifa 20 tournament for professional football clubs, as teams continue to seek ways to deal with the lack of sport during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The club proposed the idea through its Twitter account on Sunday, using the hashtag #UltimateQuaranTeam, and has since had responses from football clubs from around the world, including the likes of Manchester City, Ajax, Roma and Sydney FC.
Orient initially put out a call for 63 other teams to join them in the tournament, but such was the response that it has been expanded to a 128-club competition, featuring teams from 16 countries. A draw will take place on Wednesday, the club has said, with the contest set to take a straight knock-out tournament to decide an ultimate winner.
With lockdown conditions in place across much of the world and professional leagues having suspended all football, the early enthusiasm for an esports tournament suggests a way that clubs might continue to engage fans – and possibly offer a platform to sponsors – during a period when no football is being played. Other clubs’ social media teams have resorted to playing virtual games of Connect Four against each other over Twitter.
No rules have been placed on who can compete, with clubs able to pick players, staff or fans to represent them in the tournament. Teams such as Ajax, who already operate a successful Fifa team, will be able to put forward a player from their esports outfit.
Premier League side Crystal Palace, meanwhile, has already confirmed that its winger Andros Townsend will be competing for the club in the tournament.