Melbourne City Becomes First A-League Club To Sign FIFA Esports Player
A-League side Melbourne City player Tim Cahill's newest teammate, Marcus Gomes, will not "set foot" on a pitch but will instead represent the club at a different World Cup -- a world cup for video gamers, according to Anthony Colangelo of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Melbourne City "joined the growing list" of Australian sporting organizations to enter the esports industry by signing Gomes, a Melbourne-based FIFA esports player. Gomes, 20, signed ahead of his trip to London to play in the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final (Aug. 16-18). He will "represent Melbourne City at the event as the only Australian player in the 32-competitor field." Gomes said, "I started playing FIFA 2006 when I was nine, and I never could have imagined that the game would be where it is today, or that I would be signing a professional esports contract with a club like Melbourne City." Club CEO Scott Munn said that the signing was "crucial" for the club to connect with its younger fans. Munn: "With 16 million people playing FIFA worldwide, and the competitive FIFA scene taking shape, it is the right time for Melbourne City to move into esports." Melbourne City owner City Football Group's charter only allows its football clubs to "take part and invest" in football-based activities and the FIFA video game qualifies under this rule. Australian Football League side Greater Western Sydney Giants is "looking to buy" an esports team while the West Coast Eagles are "also rumoured to want in" on the esports industry. In the National Rugby League, the New Zealand Warriors have "long been interested" in esports (SMH, 8/15).