FIFA, Xbox and EA Kick off FIFA Interactive World Cup 2005
Chertysey, UK 22 September 2005 - FIFA, the world football governing body, Xbox and Electronic Arts, the world's leading interactive entertainment software company, today announced the second FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC). As the world's only FIFA-sanctioned global video game tournament, the FIWC will combine both on and off-line football gaming action featuring EA's all-new EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06 for the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft and Xbox LiveTM. The winner of the tournament will be named FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 and take centre stage to receive his/her trophy among some of the biggest names in football at this year's prestigious FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich on 19 December 2005.

The 2005 FIWC tournament follows last year's inaugural competition in which thousands of contestants from six continents battled for a place in the final. Ultimately, Brazilian Thiago Carrico de Azevedo was crowned the first-ever FIFA Interactive World Player at last year's FIFA World Player Gala, and he accepted his trophy alongside fellow countryman Ronaldinho, named FIFA World Player 2004.

"The first FIFA Interactive World Cup was a great success -- we witnessed thousands of gamers from around the world combine a passion for the game with a burning desire to emerge victorious. Just like in the real game. This competition is going to continue to grow in popularity and prestige and deliver on FIFA's goal of bringing football to new fans and players beyond our core group of football aficionados," said Urs Linsi, FIFA General Secretary.

Kicking off in October, the FIFA Interactive World Cup will travel to eight cities in six continents, concluding with the final taking place in London in December 2005. Regional Tournaments will be held in the following locations:

London – Olympia 2 – Saturday 15 October

Sao Paulo - Villa Noah – Saturday 22 October

Seoul - Sang Am World Cup Stadium - Sunday 30 October

Johannesburg - Acton Sport Academy - Saturday 12 November

Los Angeles - The Globe, Universal Studios - Saturday 19 November

Sydney - Overseas Passenger Terminal - Saturday 26 November

Germany - Cologne – The Palladium - Sunday 4 December

Paris - Carrousel de Louvre - Saturday 10 December

Contestants will have three ways to enter the FIFA Interactive World Cup:

Register on site at one of the Regional Tournament venues

Earn a place by registering for the FIWC 2005 Xbox Live Tournament

Win a local qualifying tournament, which will lead to the Regional Tournaments and ultimately to the finals in London – information on online and off-line tournaments is available on www.FIFA.com

Football gamers will be able to compete in qualifying tournaments around the world for a place in one of the Regional Tournaments. The eight players who have what it takes to win their Regional Tournament will each win a pair of tickets to a 2006 FIFA World CupTM match in Germany offered by FIFA.com and will compete in the worldwide finals in London on 18 December. In addition, each finalist will win an Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system from Microsoft plus their own copy of EA's FIFA 06.

In an exciting addition to this year's FIWC tournament, two out of the two million plus Xbox Live members will also qualify for the grand final, joining the winners of the eight Regional Tournaments to make up a total of ten finalists. From today through to 11 November, Xbox Live members can register to enter the fierce online competition of the FIWC 2005 Xbox Live Tournament at www.xboxfiwc.com. This global online arm of the tournament will see one Xbox Live winner from each country automatically win an Xbox 360 and a copy of EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06. Each winner will then be flown to London on 18 December to take part in a knock-out tournament to determine just two finalists. Those Xbox Live winners then join the eight winners of the Regional Tournaments in the grand final of the FIWC on the same day.

"We are all very excited about this year's FIFA Interactive World Cup" said Peter Moore,. corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for the Home and Entertainment Division of Microsoft Corp. "By expanding the Xbox Live component of the competition we have really opened up the entry routes into this year's tournament allowing even more people to participate and eventually win it. It also means that only the best, most competitive gamers will make it through to the grand final. With over 2 million Xbox Live members sharpening their skills online the competition is going to be tough and we can't wait to see who will be crowned FIFA Interactive World Player 2005."

Additionally, during this year's FIFA Interactive World Cup, gamers will have the rare opportunity to get a sneak peek at EA SPORTSTM next generation FIFA for Xbox 360 on which the FIWC grand final will be played.

"We are thrilled to work with our long-term partners at FIFA and Xbox to help bring the second FIFA Interactive World Cup to football fans across the world," said Clive Downie, Vice President Sports Marketing, EA Europe. "This year's tournament will be the place to test your virtual skills in authentic, interactive gameplay on EA's FIFA 06. The game will be available in stores in Europe on September 30, 2005 and around the world the first week of October, and we're looking forward to our fans getting ready to bring the athleticism, individuality and emotions of world stars to life, and then competing for a chance to stand next to them as the FIFA Interactive World Player of the Year."

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To request the Official Emblem of the FIFA Interactive World Cup please fill out the marks request form for media on www.FIFAdigitalarchive.com

About FIFA
For the past 101 years, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, founded on 21 May 1904 in Paris and better known as FIFA, has continued to provide the essential leadership role to the international football family. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the eighth FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland), guides the organisation today with a commitment to the evolution of FIFA as a modern and dynamic association. The basis of the world's football family is formed by FIFA's member associations. From the founding seven in 1904, the family has today grown to 207 affiliated associations, also organised into six confederations spanning the globe. FIFA's worldwide activities go well beyond its various competitions, such as the world's biggest single-sport event, the FIFA World CupTM. In projects such as the FIFA GOAL Programme as well as several other development and charity activities such as the SOS Children Villages, FIFA gives material, financial and promotional support to develop the game and bring joy to underprivileged worldwide.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world's leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for videogame systems, personal computers and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EATM, EA SPORTS BIGTM and POGOTM. In fiscal 2005, EA posted revenues of $3.1 billion and had 31 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA's homepage and online game site is www.electronicarts.co.uk. More information about EA's products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet www.electronicarts.co.uk/press.

About Xbox
Xbox (http://www.xbox.com) is the video game system from Microsoft that brings people together for the most exhilarating game and entertainment experiences. Xbox delivers an expansive collection of breakthrough games, powerful hardware and the unified Xbox Live online service. The tag line, "It's good to play together," captures the spirit of Xbox as the social hub of the new digital entertainment lifestyle. Xbox is now available in North America, Asia, Europe and Australia.

About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you. The system will launch this holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. For more information, go to www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Xbox and Xbox 360
Microsoft revolutionized the gaming industry with the November 2001 launch of Xbox (http://www.xbox.com), its first-generation video games and entertainment system, now sold in 26 countries around the world. This holiday season Microsoft debuts its next-generation system, Xbox 360, in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com/xbox360) is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you.

About Xbox Live
Xbox Live continues to transform and unite Xbox game communities worldwide, with a presence in 24 countries worldwide and a global community of more than 2 million members. As the first and only global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live offers world-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com. For more information, go to www.xbox.com/live.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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