Microsoft and Electronic Arts have announced the second FIFA Interactive World Cup following on from the inaugural event last year. FIWC will once again combine both on- and off-line football gaming action featuring EA's all-new FIFA 06 for Xbox. The winner of the tournament will be named FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 and take centre stage to receive the 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:

[list]
* 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
[/list]

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; or 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 Cup 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 360 and another copy of EA's FIFA 06.

In an 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 11th November, Xbox Live members can register to enter the online competition 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 another copy of FIFA 06. Each winner will then be flown to London on 18th December to take part in a knockout tournament to determine 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.