FIFA and Coronavirus; how a League Two side is filling the football void and helping their fellow clubs.

Some of the world’s finest clubs will be represented in the Tournament (All credit to Leyton Orient and their social media team for the image)

Now that most of the developed world has either come to, or is on the verge of, a total stand still, plenty of football clubs are struggling to find ways to fill the time, and many are wondering how they’re going to survive the prolonged footballing drought. Taking to Twitter, games of connect 4 and noughts and crosses have broken out between clubs, a welcome distraction and some well needed comic relief in what is a testing time for most, leading to  some interesting fixtures,for example, Hull City’s dramatic victory over Bayer Leverkusen at connect 4.

In step Leyton Orient, who may just have upped the game, all in the name of lifting spirits and helping the teams around them that may, in time, dearly need it.

After initially playing their postponed match against Bradford City on football manager and live streaming it on twitter, allowing fans to have their say in everything from team selection to in game subs via polls, Orient decided to call for 63 teams to join them in a FIFA tournament, with the creative title of Ultimate QuaranTeam, which subsequently seems to have taken off.

Each team would declare their intrest to Orient on the popular social media platform, and such has been the demand for a place they have since expanded to an 128 team tournament. Each club then nominated a player to control their team on their behalf, with clubs nominating either fans, 1st team players, their own respective eSports representatives or generally anyone who wanted to get involved. The matches will be played on PS4, with each team’s overall attributes being set at 85 to allow for as much of an even playing field as possible. Every club will also attempt to stream their matches on some platform, likely on twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook etc.

Whilst boredom may have a lot to do with the foundation of this tournament, Orient have seized the opportunity to help their fellow EFL clubs, who may be facing a period of great financial uncertainty due to the pandemic, establishing a just giving page where anyone and everyone can donate to help in whatever way possible to ease the burden on many clubs that were already struggling to balance the books before they had to close their doors indefinitely.

The tournament looks set and ready to go, with some of the world’s biggest and brightest clubs, including a number of Irish teams, putting their name in the hat to win the first ever Ultimate QuaranTeam title (full list of teams shown below).

With the likes of Euro 2020 and Copa America moved back a year, combined with most domestic leagues in England and Europe alike not looking likely to continue until the summer, this may now be the pinnacle tournament in world football currently and, in all fairness, there are some mouth watering/bizzare ties in the opening round, including; Walsall v Roma, Central Coast Mariners v Shamrock Rovers, Benfica v Swindon Town, Orlando City v Feyenoord, West Brom v Ajax and Portsmouth v Dundalk (all fixtures can be found on Leyton Orients official Twitter). If those games don’t give you nostalgia for youthful FIFA tournaments at your mates house, nothing will.

Orient are to announce all details on when and where to watch the games, for now there’s a link below to their just giving page and a hefty round of applause from this reporter for the creativity shown by the League Two side, as whilst everything seems a bit dreary, anxiety inducing and well, plain boring if you’re in quarantine, currently, this is sure to bring at least a smile to the faces of many football lovers out there (if not for the Benfica Swindon game alone), as well as potentially helping out a lot of the teams in the lower tiers of professional football in England. Well played folks.

Who needs real football, eh? My money’s on Swindon.

(Just giving page; )

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