In lieu of professional soccer to watch, some pros will be taking to the virtual pitch. Next week, EA and FIFA are teaming up to kick off the Stay and Play Cup, a multi-day knockout tournament featuring 20 professional clubs playing in FIFA 20.
Each club, including organizations like Ajax, AS Roma, Chelsea, FC Copenhagen, Liverpool, Porto, Real Madrid, and more will be played by professional players, nominated by their own clubs. The full list of names and clubs involved will be announced on EA's FIFA Twitter feed.
Matches will run April 15 through 19 and take place in FIFA 20, as part of EA's ongoing "Stay Home, Play Together" campaign to encourage social distancing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Electronic Arts will also be donating $1 million to Global Giving's Coronavirus Relief Fund to support ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts. Viewers will also be able to donate and support during the tournament.
"As part of 'Stay Home, Player Together,' we're working to help people around the world find more ways to connect through play," said EA CEO Andrew Wilson in a statement. "Combined with relief contributions we are making, we hope to make a positive impact in people's lives during this challenging time."
After most professional sports leagues suspended their seasons due to the outbreak of COVID-19, several have taken to gaming as an avenue to fill the void. Some NBA teams and players have been streaming matches, and NASCAR has transitioned its season into online races through the iRacing sim. Esports leagues, despite having some geolocation woes early on, have managed to revert to online production setups and proceed with the season. The League of Legends playoffs are even set to air on ESPN2.
COVID-19 has had a noticeable impact on just about all walks of life, so events like these that are organized to give back and provide some entertainment are welcome reprieves. You can catch the action on EA Sports' FIFA Twitch channel starting April 15.