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The EFL is an ambitious idea.  Play a full English Premier League season virtually in one day.  Yes, 380 games in one day, but no, not 22 players on a soccer field.  Rather, it’s 20 players on ten Xbox 360s playing FIFA 13 to simulate the season.

The tournament is the brainchild of Glenn Alexander (of 2upGamers), with assistance from Francois ‘Fraansman’ van Schalkwyk and yours truly.

This past Saturday saw the event run an invite only beta to test the actual theory and logistics of it all.  Held at  Lounge Relax Play in Canal Walk, the 18 players (two were sadly a no show on the day) embraced the lack of Real Madrid and Barcelona and accepted their lot in life if the team they drew was a Stoke or a Sunderland.  The draw to assign players to teams had been held the week before at 2upGamers to give players a chance to try out their new favourite team… For many, the shock of facing opponents with a team that did not boast the speed or skills to which they were accustomed ended up proving short lived.  The passion displayed for their underdog team was as entertaining as the matches themselves.  There were no 8-0 thrashings handed out, proving that the good players can still be good players in FIFA, no matter which team you seem to be dumped with.

IMG_6733Although, the event got off to a later than expected start, the players embraced the competition and test of their skills to adapt or die.  Many stepped up and while two teams showed an early clear pair of heels, a few surprises were holding their own.  Manchester United (Francois de Sousa) and Liverpool (Mubeen) were the leaders from early on, but teams like West Brom, Sunderland and Newcastle pushed hard and the battle for fourth to around 14th place saw plenty of changes all day.

While the EFL has big plans for the future, the beta was a testing ground, and in the end, some important lessons were learnt.  Playing 380 games in a day is nigh on impossible.  And the players on the day are really passionate and great supporters of unique (and slightly unhinged) ideas.  The realisation that 190 games is a more manageable target hit around halfway through the day, and will be something that future events will be moving forward with.  Essentially, every team will play at a “neutral” ground rather than home and away.  The plan is to expand to other leagues within the English football structure to allow for promotion and relegation.  Prizes will be awarded for players who perform over the equivalent of a month in their division and obviously the winning team/player will be in for a prize.  The plan is to award the player with the highest aggregate of points over six tournaments promised a prize of pretty spectacular proportions.  So keep your eye on the EFL (Electronic Football League) as more details are revealed.

But what about the results you ask?  In the end, Manchester United took first place by two points, with Liverpool in second.  Newcastle grabbed third spot a further six points behind, with Players’ Player of the Day Rohan guiding Sunderland to fourth place one point adrift of Newcastle.

EFL Beta Log Standings

The final – and perhaps most telling effect – of this experiment was that Rohan (who is an avid Manchester United supporter) proceeded to show vocal support for Sunderland in their 1-0 win against Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday afternoon…

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Francois de Sousa (League Champ) and Rohan de Jonge (Player’s Player)

The EFL and the guys behind it would like to thank all the players for their support in the beta.  Hopefully we can take this forward to the scale we have planned.

For more pictures from the event. please visit our Facebook Album.

**UPDATE**

The video round-up from the day has been released.