Hammers set for ePremier League return
West Ham United will kick off their bid to win the second annual ePremier League Finals tournament this afternoon, with the FIFA 20 competition heading online.
After the 2019/20 Finals, originally scheduled for March, were postponed due to the global pandemic, the competition will instead be played out online over three days this August.
The PS4 Group Stage and Quarter-Finals will take place the afternoon of Thursday (13 August), the equivalent stages on Xbox on Friday afternoon, and then both consoles’ Playoffs on Friday 28 August.
Coronavirus complications will prevent original West Ham PS4 representative ‘Yago’ Gabriel Fawaz from competing, so donning Claret and Blue in his stead will be 20-year-old NFG eSports professional and lifelong Hammer, Petrescu Cosman, who was runner-up in qualification.
Leading the Hammers’ charge on Xbox, meanwhile, will be Jamie ‘Jamboo’ Rigden, who will be representing West Ham for a second ePremier League Finals in a row after narrowly missing out on a place in the knockout rounds at last season’s inaugural event.
Cosmin’s Group Stage games begin at 1pm on Thursday and Jamboo’s 1pm on Friday, all available to watch live on @westhamesports’ Twitch channel.
A full schedule and brackets can be found on the ePremier League website.
“It’s a pleasure for me because it’s an honour to represent such a big Club,” Cosman told whufc.com.
“I am a West Ham fan and I live only seven minutes away from the stadium – it’s that close to me! The fans are just amazing. Every time West Ham have a match on, I see how busy Stratford is.
“They are just amazing and their support for the Club is incredible, and that’s why they really deserve a trophy. Hopefully I can win this for them!
"I am an offensive player. I want to press the opponent and not give him any space. I like scoring goals, playing attacking football – but it depends on the opponent, you have to play in different styles.
"I’ve been practising a lot. In the last two Weekend Leagues I’ve been B2B first in the world – twice in a row in PS4! I’m feeling very confident and I’m really looking forward to the tournament."
Jamboo added: “I’m looking forward to the chance to give a much better showing than I did last year. I believe, if I play at my best on the day, I can win the event for West Ham.”
The route to qualification began in December 2019 for all 20 Premier League clubs. Competing online, registered players for West Ham faced off to finish as the Irons’ representatives at the Finals.
This week, the Finals’ group stages see four groups of five players compete in a double-elimination format, with two teams advancing, before single-elimination knockout games from thereon out.
All ties in the competition are two-legged. Golden goals will decide any draws, while only Premier League player cards can be used throughout.
The overall ePL winner will walk away with £20,000 prize money, while the runner-up will enjoy £10,000.
Standing in Cosmin’s way in Group D on PS4 are Manchester City’s xShellzz, Burnley’s STOKESBACK, Manchester United’s KyleLeese_ and Liverpool’s Olliehall134.
In Group D on Xbox, Jamboo will come up against Arsenal’s AFC Billy x, Watford’s Hashtag Shawrey, Burnley’s Brad Colston and Norwich’s Stryfee 6.
Last season, Jamboo and RUSTEMI92 donned Claret and Blue at the finals, but were unfortunate to fall at the group stages. Top-ranked FIFA 19 player Donovan ‘Tekkz’ Hunt went on to claim the ePL trophy for Liverpool at the Grand Final in London.