If you’ve been anywhere in the same postcode as a FIFA title for the last several years then you’ll be aware of the game’s Panini sticker-come cosmic ordering simulator; Ultimate Team. Since its inception, the mode has slowly eclipsed all others in the yearly football franchise, which is appropriate because with its aggressive microtransactions and addictive gameplay it can feel like a black hole from which no light can escape.
The Weekend League, FIFA’s weekly series of 30 games, pits the highest level players against each other to determine which in-game rewards those players receive. These rewards, which are determined by a player’s win-loss record, not the quality of opponent faced, range from in-game currency and item packs to special FUT Champions versions of cards. For the best players, they can earn prizes that were they to be purchased with in-game currency, would cost hundreds of pounds. For the pros, the Weekend League is also a route to qualification for the FIFA eWorld Cup. As you can imagine, the competition each weekend is fierce.
During the third Weekend League of the season, a prolific content creator’s freak loss would trigger a series of events that revealed a group of professional FIFA players colluded to avoid playing each other, thus earning easier wins in a pseudo-match-fixing scheme that would make mid-2000s Italian football jealous.