FISU opened player registration today to its first-ever international eSports competition for university students; the 2020 FISU eSports Challenge Football. Citing keen eSports interest among university students, FISU’s President Oleg Matytsin announced the International University Sports Federation’s initial foray into competitive sports gaming. 

“With over 70 years leading the university sports movement, we move with cautious optimism into the eSports arena,” President Matytsin said. “Putting on this pilot project allows us to better gauge the global appeal of virtual sport among students and ensures we move into virtual field of play in a way that directly reinforces FISU’s strategic vision of expanding the role and reach of university sport worldwide.” 

The inaugural eSport challenge kicks off with 32-participant tournaments for men and women playing the FIFA 20 game on the PlayStation 4 platform. Following the 30 June closing of player registration, the challenge gets underway with group stage matches from 6-8 July. The final eight elimination matches run from 9-13 July. The quarterfinals, semifinals and finals will be played on successive days, with the men’s and women’s champions crowned on 16 July. 

Registration is open to any student currently working towards a degree, or who has graduated within the last year. Interested players should immediately contact their National University Sports Federation (NUSF). While there are no age limits to entry, each federation may register only one player per gender. FISU will make the final participant selection, with full details spelt out in the FISU eSports Challenge Technical Regulations.

Managerial skills may also come into the mix as players can select up to three FIFA 20 Icon players onto their team. Imagine having the likes of Pele, Maradona, Zidane or FISU University World Cup Football ambassador Luis Figo in a starting line-up.

Selected games from each of the eight competition days will be livestreamed on FISU.TV and FISU’s Facebook and YouTube channels, all with live English commentary. 

FISU’s foray into the eSports environment follows the successful actions of several of its Member Associations, including the Brazilian National University Sports Federation’s ongoing tournament. Dubbed JUBs eSports, the event runs through to 19 June, with five eSports modalities, including FIFA 20. 

“We continue to see a rapid growth of eSports among the youth and university-students,” said Brazilian NUSF President and FISU Vice-President Luciano Cabral. “As we venture into this new frontier, we walk softly to see whether eSports events can align with FISU’s values, rules and regulations in a way that enhances student’s university experience.”