With football stadiums shut, and players confined to self-isolation, the remainder of the 2019-2020 season will be completed via online FIFA video-game matches.
In a never-before-tried experiment, each team player will control their own avatar on the virtual pitch in a 22 man FIFA showdown, whilst simultaneously running on a treadmill. Substitutions will involve moodily passing the controller over just as you were getting in to it. The whole thing will be pay-per-view on BT Sport, with prices ranging from extortionate to financially-crippling.
“What everyone is dying to know,” said game-developer Matty Parker, “Is whether Deli Alli will be quite as disappointing in virtual reality as he has been in real life this season.”
The Football Association has confirmed that the ‘injury setting’ will be ON, and if a player is injured in the virtual video game world, their treadmill will attempt to replicate that injury in real life. Luis Suarez has contacted FIFA directly to ensure a new ‘biting mode’ is introduced for his own avatar, and that his opponents treadmills be fitted with teeth.
Liverpool fans, meanwhile, are concerned at reports that a new realistic “slipping” mode has been introduced as they make their strongest title bid since 2014.