Online qualifications will take place on the PlayStation and Xbox network’s through the latest version of EA SPORTS™ FIFA 16, and with a new tournament structure, which will now run for three online seasons – from October to December 2015 – instead of the six seasons held in previous years.
“This season is shaping up to be the most thrilling yet, and the announcement that the tournament will be available to players on both PlayStation and Xbox consoles is sure to excite a new world of challengers. The new tournament format, along with the additional places available at the Grand Final, will also increase the intensity of the competition for all the players,” said Thierry Weil, FIFA Marketing Director.
The first 30 players will qualify through the online process, however – as another first for the competition – they will be divided into four regions: Europe; North America, Central America and the Caribbean; South America; and Asia, Africa and Oceania. Five players from each console will qualify for the Grand Final each season (the four regional winners and the runner-up from Europe).
Joining the 30 online qualifiers will be the winner of the Host Country Qualifier (Xbox) and reigning FIFA Interactive World Cup Champion Abdulaziz Alshehri (PlayStation) from Saudi Arabia.
In Munich last May, Alshehri held aloft the FIWC Trophy at the 2015 Grand Final. Speaking about defending his title for the 2016 season he said: "I cannot wait to get started on the new season and I am happy to hear about the changes to the tournament format. The competition this year is sure to be harder than ever and I look forward to seeing which players make it to the final."
About the FIWC
The FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) is a virtual football tournament organised by FIFA and its presenting partner EA SPORTS™. It is an official FIFA tournament that gives football fans from every continent the chance to battle it out to qualify for the FIWC Grand Final, where the best virtual footballer in the world is crowned. The winner receives USD 20,000 prize money as well as an invitation to the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
• The inaugural FIWC took place in 2004
• The tournament featured in the Guinness World Records for the first time in 2010
• The tournament has continued to grow significantly with a record of 2.5 million players signing up in 2013
• Almost one million fans follow the FIWC on Facebook
• The FIWC 2016 could possibly become bigger than any tournament before with players participating on both XBox One and PlayStation 4 consoles for the very first time.