Esports 'scandal' as FIFAe World Cup ends in penalty controversy

Esports 'scandal' as FIFAe World Cup ends in penalty controversy
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We've all seen controversial penalty shootouts – but never quite like this.

The FIFA esports World Cup has ended in scandal this week after a penalty shootout which was branded a “disgrace” by the losing side.

K esports organisation Futwiz lost the tournament’s grand final after their player’s controller overlay was shown on the main screen during the shootout, meaning everybody could see which way he was aiming.

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Futwiz’s Australian player, Mark11, raised his arm several times to let officials know about the situation. However, the issue wasn’t resolved and he lost 5-4 overall, with admins deciding not to retake the penalties.

Mark11 received the $150,000 second-place prize and his opponent, Team Gullit’s Dutch player Bachoore, left with the $300,000 top prize.

Dan Bellis, the CEO of Futwiz, told Esports News UK: “The players are instructed to raise their hand if there’s an issue and it will be dealt with – but to keep on playing until then (stopping the game results in a disqualification).

“In the 2v2 Club World Cup Semi-Final one of our players’ console was freezing after kick off – he raised his hand and the game was nullified and restarted. The protocol is communicated to the players and they’ve bottled it in the biggest occasion.

“Just to clarify – this is nothing to do with EA, the world finals (for the last time as the partnership is ending) are handed over to FIFAe and the agency they use – ‘The eSports Company’.”

A spokesperson for FIFA said: “All players have been informed at the start of the FIFAe World Cup 2023 that if they actively decide themselves to show the input overlay, it might be displayed on broadcast and in the arena.

“Throughout the entire competition, the feed of the home console was visible on the stream and within the arena. This also included games with the input overlay.

“The same situation occurred during the semi-finals including a penalty shootout and no further concerns have been raised by the players prior to the start of the final. After thorough review of the footage, we can also confirm that no player received a competitive advantage as the opposite team only watched their own screen.”

But fellow esports players did not agree. British FIFA pro player Tom Leese described it as “the lowest day in FIFA esports history”.

Pro FIFA player for Burnley, Jack Sharp added: “You’ve got a guy who’s communicating to the refs multiple times that something isn’t right and he’s being ignored? Scandalous.”

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