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It is likely that no more games will be played on football pitches across Germany by September, at least in the amateur field. The respective national football associations decide whether the season will end early or just interrupted. The Bavarian Football Association (BFV) decided on Thursday to suspend the game and bring the season to an end from September. There will be no ghost games like the professionals do. Many amateur kickers lack their sport. Virtual leagues and tournaments should help at least a little.
"The starting point was an unbelievable dreariness", says Julian Globisch from the Munich hobby team "The Selection". Usually she competes in the Royal Bavarian League. Bavaria was the first federal state to restrict freedom of movement in mid-March, and with it also sports. "We had to come up with something to keep people engaged," says Globisch. He and his team then founded the "Zock League", in which individual hobby players each take on a virtual team.
More than 60 recreational kickers have registered for the tournament, which will be played on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. After a group stage, they are now playing in two tournament trees, one for the better and one for the worse, for the title of "Best Fifa Player". It's primarily about having fun, nobody should be kicked out immediately. At the end of the day, the best team wins a case of beer. "Our main goal is to connect people," says Globisch. "You're a bit forced to make friends if you want to play FIFA against each other." Similar to social networks, in computer games you have to make friends with another player's account before you can challenge them.
Demand for Fifa tournaments in Bavaria is increasing
There are now amateur FIFA leagues in some regions of Germany. One of the first launched the FuPa-Niederrhein football portal, which is run by Rheinische Post is operated. According to the organizer André Nückel, around 550 players from 216 teams took part. The final was actually supposed to take place at Easter, but the schedule has been postponed due to server problems at Fifa manufacturer Electronic Arts (EA). Now the district league club FC Moers-Meerfeld and Fortuna Bottrop II from the district league A will fight for the first FIFA title on the Lower Rhine on Sunday.
The Hessian Football Association (HFV) recently announced the StayAtHome Cup, in which a total of 236 football teams compete against each other. The BFV, however, relies on the clubs' own initiative under the same name. On its e-sports platform, Bavarian football clubs can use the association's infrastructure to call their own tournaments in Fifa 20 or Pro Evolution Soccer 2020 (PES). With great success: According to the BFV, 13 competitions with more than 800 players have taken place in the past four weeks. The organizers included professional clubs such as FC Augsburg, but also smaller clubs such as the Freie Turnerschaft Jahn Landsberg.
Even the professionals have switched to the console in the past few weeks, accompanied by a lot of marketing noise. Marco Ascensio (Real Madrid) and Co. were the first to play the FIFA 20 title in the Spanish league. Interesting side note: Barcelona's Sergi Roberto was not allowed to compete as originally planned because his club has an exclusive contract with the Fifa competitive game "Pro Evolution Soccer" from game manufacturer Konami.
Tournaments in "Call of Duty" and "League of Legends" are also conceivable
The German national team is obviously much worse in computer games than on the grass. Most recently, she lost all three virtual friendlies against Spain, Norway and France. Things went a little better in the so-called Fifa eNations Cup earlier this week. With the help of the Freiburg professional Nico Schlotterbeck, the German team reached the quarter-finals. The other players are esports professionals like Umut "HSV_Umut" Gültekin, who plays for the Hamburg esports team.
It is questionable, however, whether the football professionals will still gamble against each other in tournaments when the ball is rolling again. Most Bundesliga clubs employ their own expensive FIFA professionals who compete against each other in virtual competitions. However, some players represent their club on both the real and the pixel pitch, for example Sascha Mockenhaupt from SV Wehen Wiesbaden.
In the amateur field it could look different. Although it is not yet clear whether Moers or Bottrop will be the first FIFA champions on the Lower Rhine, the organizers have already announced a continuation - with their own league system. From May there will be 13 district leagues, from which the four best will be promoted to one of four district leagues after one season. After two seasons, the 16 top teams meet in a super league.
The Munich "Zock League" also wants to continue globally beyond the crisis. "We see Corona as an opportunity," says the amateur soccer player. He could imagine organizing competitions in the first-person shooter "Call of Duty" or the fantasy game "League of Legends" in the future. Such a move is still controversial among many traditional sports clubs. But if more clubs open up to the idea, that could change mass e-sports.
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