The first ever FIFA ePremier League has been announced by the English top flight’s board. The Premier League has got with the times and collaborated with EA Sports’ iconic soccer franchise for the competition. The ePremier League will officially begin in January 2019, and is open to UK-based FIFA players only, who are 16 years of age or older, and who play FIFA 19 on Xbox One or PS4.
The unveiling was made on the Premier League’s website on Thursday, and a wealth of information has been disclosed in the official briefing. Registration for the ePremier League is open from now until December 3, and must be completed online. Players selected to compete will face off in online FIFA 19 qualification matches in January to determine the best 16 players on Xbox One and PS4 respectively. These 32 players will advance to the next round.
Club playoffs will then occur, between February and March, as the top 16 players on each platform face each other in a half-day tournament. The winners from each will represent their soccer club at the ePremier League final, which will be held in London on March 28 and 29, with the contest broadcast live on Sky Sports.
Speaking about the inaugural event, Premier League managing director Richard Masters explained why an ePremier League was a no-brainer for the relevant organisations to support.
“We know that millions of fans play Fifa and this new esports competition will provide our clubs with an exciting opportunity to engage with them,” said Masters said.
The Premier League becomes the last big soccer league to greenlight an esports league. France, Germany, Australia, and the US all have various esport competitions. Soccer clubs like Ajax and FC Schalke 04 have their own esports teams, while current Premier League champions Manchester City are one of a few English clubs to trial an in-house esports team.