Charity FIFA 20 event, Gamers Without Borders, came to a nail-biting finish with the final ultimately being decided by penalties. The record-breaking COVID-19 esports series saw more than 150,000 gamers play online in an effort to raise money in the fight against the pandemic.
The series was played over various esports titles with FIFA 20 being the final leg. The final on Monday night was as close as you could get with nothing being able to separate Umut Gültekin (@UmutFIFA) from Germany and Damian Augustyniak (@damiefifa) of neighbouring Poland, who together had surpassed six of the world’s best FIFA players over the previous three days to secure their spot in the final.
The two fought tooth and nail for not only bragging rights, but also their share of the $1.5million (R24 million) prize fund as thousands of gaming fans watched them over various streaming platforms.
In the best-of-three encounter, after two matches each player had managed to win a game which forced a decider. It looked like Gültekin had the game sewn up when he went 1-0 up in the 90th minute, but with seconds to spare, Augustyniak found an equalizer and forced the game into extra-time.
Neither player could manage to break the deadlock in those additional minutes and so the two challenges went to penalties. Showing incredible calm and composure Gültekin saved twice and netted every time to be crowned Gaming Without Border’s FIFA 20 champion.
For his efforts, the young German won himself $400,000 (R6.6 million), which he donated to UNICEF with second place Augustyniak donating his $250,000 (R4.1 million) winnings to the same charity.
Those donations saw Gamers Without Borders — which was organized by the Saudi Arabian Federation for Electronic and Intellectual Sports (SAFEIS)— make the final contributions of its $10million (R165 million) charity prize fund to non-profit organizations based around the world, all of whom are leading the global fight against coronavirus.
Some of the other charities included Gavi, International Medical Corps, Direct Relief, the King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Fund, the International Telecommunication Union and the Norwegian Refugee Council.
This drew to a close a tournament that had lasted seven weeks, involving gamers from across the globe and of all abilities. It featured seven International Elite level tournaments that welcomed the best gamers in the business to compete on the most popular titles in gaming, as well as more than 150,000 amateur gamers.
For its closing FIFA tournament, Gamers Without Borders also welcomed some of the biggest names in football and music to compete too — including Dele Alli, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Paulo Dybala, Joao Felix, Andre Silva, former One Direction singer Liam Payne and hip-hop icon Snoop Dogg.