With football as we know it being all but suspended due to the coronavirus, many have come up with creative ways to offer escapism and aid in the fight against COVID-19. The Liga FIFA 20 tournament, coined by Spanish YouTube Ibai Llanos, was held to help fill the void left by the Primeira Division’s absence but Barcelona fans were unable to see their team represented.
The purpose of this tournament was simple: one player from each of the 20 Spanish top-flight teams would represent his club in this tournament. Sergi Roberto was the man elected to lead the Blaugrana but the Roja ace was forced to withdraw due to sponsorship reasons.
Barcelona are excluded from a FIFA 20 video game tournament without even participating. Roberto would have been the player to represent Barça, but one of the club's sponsors, Konami (developer of PES), has said 'no'. [@Benayadachraf]— barcacentre (@barcacentre) March 21, 2020
This tournament, a two-day affair which kicked off on March 21, was held on EA Sport’s flagship football simulation video game. However, the Catalan giants have a sponsorship deal with Konami, the makers of Pro Evolution Soccer, FIFA’s direct rival in the gaming industry.
As a result, Sergi was prohibited from entering the tournament but he wasn’t the only Liga player to suffer from this. Alejandro Pozo of Mallorca, another Spanish club partnered with Konami, suffered the same fate.
This sparked anger from the public especially given the fact that this was a charity tournament. The proceedings from this competition will go to UNICEF to aid their combat against the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, Barcelona weren’t able to play their part in this effort.