The organisers of Business Fives refused to be defeated when coronavirus forced them to postpone this spring’s corporate football tournament.

They have instead arranged for teams to compete remotely through the video game FIFA 20. Individual and team entrants will be able to stay socially distanced during the first Business Esports competition.

It’s free to enter but competitors can make an optional donation to their local NHS Foundation Trust or charity of their choosing. And just like the regular fives tourney, the winners will receive a donation for their chosen charity, adding to the more than £170,000 already raised by Business Fives.

Teams of up to four players can enter under their company name, with individuals and pairs matched against those of similar numbers. Entry is open to any company or individual in the business community – as long as they have access to an Xbox or Playstation console.

Teams of four will play in a round-robin group stage to gauge skill levels before being split into tiered ‘Champions League’ or ‘Europa League’ groups. Each will progress to the knockout stages in which winners of both sections will be crowned.  

Each player from each company will play one 12-minute match against the other four players. The outcome of a single match will be determined by the aggregate score of the eight individual fixtures.

Games will be played during the evenings to minimise disruption to working hours.

Business Fives managing director John McClarey said: “The way in which we communicate and interact with our colleagues, clients and potential business partners is evolving and now is a time for solidarity.

“Beyond meeting new connections at our events, companies have used them as an opportunity to bond with colleagues, find common ground and use the competitive environment to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their co-workers. At their core, the events have fostered a collaborative environment where companies can have conversations with fellow professionals and we are excited to continue this through Business Esports.” 

Business Fives was already planning to host an Esports competition but decided to bring it forward due to the coronavirus restrictions. It aims to use it to host industry-specific chat forums and online tournaments for professionals to connect within their industry sector. 

Initially, competitors throughout the UK will play together in one section. Business Esports aims to eventually add other popular games subject to demand from users.

All companies taking part will have their presence branded and additional marketing exposure will be available through sponsorship packages associated with Business Esports events.

John added: “Beyond meeting new connections at our events companies have used them as an opportunity to bond with colleagues, finding common ground and using the competitive environment to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates, colleagues and co-workers.

“At their core, our events have fostered a collaborative environment where companies can have conversations with fellow professionals.”

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