With over 775,000 people having taken part, the world's biggest virtual football event, the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC), is set to reach its dramatic climax at the Grand Final in Port Olympic, Barcelona on 1st May 2010.
Following months of heated online competition and qualifying events around the world, just 32 players from 22 countries remain. The finalists will go head-to-head in Barcelona with EA SPORTS™ FIFA 10 on PlayStation®3 for the title of FIFA Interactive World Champion 2010.
Hoping to defend his crown is reigning champion Bruce Grannec from France, who is facing an incredibly strong field including a number of previous Grand Finalists such as FIWC 2008 winner Alfonso Ramos.
Spectators at the Grand Final on 1st May will enjoy an action packed day of football, gaming and top music action in a fantastic party atmosphere. In addition to watching the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final unfold live, they can check out all the latest EA and PlayStation games in the interactive arenas and test their real-life football skills at the FIFA beach soccer clinic with Spain's beach soccer star Amarelle. There will also be an exclusive live DJ set from Groove Armada's Andy Cato.
The 2010 Grand Final winner will receive a cheque for US$20,000 along with an invitation to join the world's elite football talent at the FIFA World Player Gala 2010 in Zurich to receive their official FIWC champion's award. The 2010 runner up will receive US$5,000 whilst 3rd place will receive US$1,000.
"I am delighted to see the huge interest of fans from all over the world in this event, which keeps growing every year" said FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, who will attend the Grand Final in Barcelona. "I enjoyed last year's final very much and I am looking forward to watching the best interactive players in the world face off once again to be crowned the FIFA Interactive World Champion of 2010" he added.
"With over 775,000 participants we have set a new record for the FIWC 2010 which will culminate in the exciting Grand Final in Barcelona. This amazing number of gamers highlights the importance of the FIWC for football fans worldwide" said Jon Rosenblatt, Senior Marketing Director Europe EA SPORTS. "FIFA 10 has proven to be the best football video game ever and it's great to see so many players from all over the world competing on PlayStation®Network and in the Live Qualifiers to become the FIWC 2010 Champion on May 1st."
"The FIFA Interactive World Cup continues to go from strength to strength, growing each year at an enormous rate" said Darren Carter, Vice President, Consumer Marketing, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. "To have had over 775,000 participants clearly shows the passion of both the EA SPORTS FIFA 10 and the PlayStation fans. I have no doubt that it is going to be the best final yet and we look forward to welcoming everyone to Barcelona in May."
Admission to the Grand Final is free to the public. Interactive Areas open at midday. Gaming Tournament kicks off at 1pm, with the final scheduled for 5:30pm.
To find out more about the FIFA Interactive World Cup and view a list of the 32 Grand Finalists including the Aussie and Kiwi contingent, please visit www.FIFA.com/FIWC.