The ePremier League champion Thomas "Hashtag Tom" Leese is targeting back-to-back titles against some of the world’s finest EA SPORTS™ FIFA 21 players when the 2020/21 Online Finals start on Tuesday 23 March.
"I would love to retain my ePremier League trophy as I think the best players are the ones who can do it consistently and win numerous honours," said Leese, for whom last season's title was his first major prize in esports.
"If I could win back-to-back ePL titles, it would be a big statement and secure my place as one of the top players in EA SPORTS FIFA."
The ePL is the only tournament to give UK-based players the opportunity to represent their favourite Premier League football club in formal competitive gaming entertainment.
Having won the trophy last year in the colours of Watford, Hashtag Tom will be representing Tottenham Hotspur this season, a change he was only too happy to make.
"I am a massive Spurs fan and I'm buzzing to represent them," he said. "It would be great to defend my title on behalf of the club I support, so I'm very happy to be able to represent them."
After the 20 Premier League clubs hosted thrilling ePL Playoffs, 40 competitors have advanced to the Online Finals, which begin with the Xbox One group stages and quarter-finals on Tuesday 23 March from 14:00 GMT.
The PlayStation 4 group stages and quarter-finals take place on Wednesday 24 March, with the eight best players making it through to Friday's Finals Day from 18:00 GMT.
They will compete for the coveted ePL trophy, a prize pool of £40,000 and all-important seats in the EA SPORTS FIFA 21 Global Series European Playoffs this summer.
The ePL Finals are being hosted from the Gfinity Arena in London, with all gameplay taking place remotely.
Fans in the UK will be able to watch on Sky Sports, BT Sport, BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport online. The Finals will also be shown on Premier League channels (premierleague.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube) and EA's Twitch channel, as well as being made available to viewers around the world by international licensees. Over the last two seasons, the ePL Finals reached more than 22million fans.
Joining Hashtag Tom in the Online Finals is the inaugural ePL champion Donovan "Fnatic Tekkz" Hunt, who is again playing for Liverpool.
Last season's surprise ePL runner-up Marc Marley is again through to the finals, this time representing Brighton & Hove Albion and is in the same PS4 group as Hashtag Tom.
Other established names from the EA SPORTS FIFA Global Series who will be competing include Spencer "HUGE GORILLA" Ealing (Sheffield United), Diogo "Falcons Diogo" Mendes (Chelsea), Tunahan "Bundled Unsal" Unsal (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Damian "Damie" Augustyniak (Fulham), Olle "Ollelito" Arbin (Leeds United) and Manchester City duo Ryan "MCFC Ryan" Pessoa and Shaun "Shellzz" Springette.
Premier League Commercial Director Will Brass said: "We are looking forward to the third ePremier League Finals, with some of the highest-ranked EA SPORTS FIFA players going head-to-head on behalf of Premier League clubs. It's great to see familiar faces from previous years returning to fight for the title, alongside some new challengers.
"Sadly, we are unable to host the finalists at a venue for the second year running due to COVID-19 but, thanks to EA SPORTS and our broadcast partners, fans in the UK and around the world will be able to tune in live as the matches take place remotely with expert commentary and analysis from the live studio.
"There will be plenty of thrilling action on the way to finding out who will become this season's ePremier League champion, and I look forward to seeing who is going to be the latest star to get their hands on the trophy."
Brent Koning, Group Director & Commissioner, FIFA Competitive Gaming said: "The Premier League is the most popular football league in the world and the ePremier League featuring the most-played sports game on the planet shows the unrivalled ability of EA SPORTS FIFA to connect fans to football at scale through esports.
"We believe competitive gaming entertainment is the No 1 opportunity for growing the love of sports. The ePL and the involvement of all 20 world-renowned clubs illustrates just how much EA SPORTS FIFA is integrated into the future of football."
The ePL 2020/21 Online Finals will consist of three tournament stages:
- a double-elimination group stage featuring 20 players per console
- a single-elimination playoff bracket with the top eight players per console from the group stage
- the cross-console final which pits the top player from each platform against each other for the ultimate honour of ePL Champion and a £20,000 first prize.
|Tue 23 March||14:00-20:00||Xbox group stages + quarter-finals|
|Wed 24 March||14:00-20:00||PS4 group stages + quarter-finals|
|Fri 26 March||18:00-22:00||Xbox/PS4 semi-finals + finals + Grand Final|