Well, isn’t this something. French Professional Football League has announced the introduction of a FIFA 17 esports league, tying into its football league with the name ‘e-Ligue 1’.
Announced at a press conference by LFP CEO Didier Quillot and revealed, in part, by French sporting website l’Equipe, this e-Ligue 1 is in partnership with EA Sports and will bring pro FIFA players together to compete in a series of seasonal tournaments.
The first tournament – the winter season – will begin on November and run through to December, followed by a spring season between February and March and culminating in playoffs in May.
This is said to be the first of several European FIFA 17 tournaments, with remaining European countries and football leagues to announce their equivalents in the coming weeks and months.
The winner of the e-Ligue playoffs will then qualify for the European League, where presumably the winners of the other as-yet unannounced FIFA 17 leagues will also be competing.
This European League will then follow a world finals, though it’s not yet clear how the remaining global teams will be represented in this tournament.
The e-Ligue 1 will be represented by the 20 football clubs that are currently playing in the Ligue 1, with each team sponsoring both a PS4 and Xbox One player for the competition.
Each player will be required to play as the team that they represent in the tournament, according to Esports Observer, though they can each use any of the players in the French Ligue 1.
In an interview with l’Equipe, Didier Quillot commented on the new esports league, confirming that the goal for the tournament was for football clubs to reach a younger audience and highlight the value of the current Ligue 1 football league.
He confirmed that while this will be focusing on FIFA 17, the contract with EA Sports is a multi-year contract – suggesting that this will perhaps run in tandem with each new annual release of FIFA.
“This is, however, not made to last only one year,” said Quillot. “This is not an experiment.” With more and more traditional sports stepping into the esports world this is, perhaps, a necessary move to help bring the two worlds together.