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LONDON, 17TH October 2005 - Self confessed football and gaming fan, Michael Barrett, today beat off hundreds of Europe's finest football video gamers at the London FIFA Interactive World Cup Regional Tournament at Olympia 2 and secured himself one of eight coveted places in the FIFA Interactive World Cup (FIWC) Grand Final taking place in London on December 18.

Michael, sixteen of Watford combined a real passion for the game with some truly impressive virtual football skills to overcome fierce competition and emerge victorious as London's Regional Tournament Champion of the 2005 FIWC. Playing as his favourite team Brazil, Michael defeated Ryan Cullender, twenty two of Dagenham, emphatically with a five one defeat of Ryan's team, Barcelona.

Michael will progress through to battle it out in the 2005 FIWC Grand Final and has also won two tickets to the FIFA 2006 World CupTM Final, an Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system from Microsoft plus his own copy of EA's FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World CupTM.

Michael said, "I've been practising solid for the last week but can't believe I'm now going to defend London in the final and go to the FIFA 2006 World Cup - it just hasn't sunk in yet. The competition was really tough but I've wanted to win this tournament ever since I heard about it last year. I'll be ready and waiting and I'm going to make sure it's me holding the FIFA Interactive World Player trophy this year!"

Despite not making it through to the final, Michael Babatunde from London was the lucky winner of the draw which saw him also receive two tickets to a match of the 2006 FIFA World CupTM in Germany next year provided by

The London event was the first of eight regional tournaments being held across six different continents between October and December this year. The tournament will culminate in the FIFA Interactive World Cup Grand Final which will be held in London on December 18, 2005. The winner of the tournament will be named FIFA Interactive World Player 2005 and take centre stage to receive his/her trophy among some of the biggest names in football at this year's prestigious FIFA World Player Gala in Zurich on 19 December 2005.

As the world's only FIFA sanctioned global video game tournament, the FIWC combines both on and off-line football gaming action featuring EA's all-new EA SPORTSTM FIFA 06 for the Xbox video game system from Microsoft and Xbox® LiveTM. Last year's inaugural competition in which thousands of contestants from six continents battled for a place in the final was won by Brazilian Thiago Carrico de Azevedo. He was crowned the first FIFA Interactive World Player at last year's FIFA World Player Gala, and accepted his trophy alongside fellow countryman Ronaldinho, named FIFA World Player 2004.

With the conclusion of the tournament's first event in London, the FIFA Interactive World Cup competition moves to Sao Paolo next week, and will continue making stops in Seoul, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, Sydney, Cologne and Paris.

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About FIFA

For the past 101 years, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, founded on 21 May 1904 in Paris and better known as FIFA, has continued to provide the essential leadership role to the international football family. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the eighth FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter (Switzerland), guides the organisation today with a commitment to the evolution of FIFA as a modern and dynamic association. The basis of the world's football family is formed by FIFA's member associations. From the founding seven in 1904, the family has today grown to 207 affiliated associations, also organised into six confederations spanning the globe. FIFA's worldwide activities go well beyond its various competitions, such as the world's biggest single-sport event, the FIFA World CupTM. In projects such as the FIFA GOAL Programme as well as several other development and charity activities such as the SOS Children Villages, FIFA gives material, financial and promotional support to develop the game and bring joy to underprivileged worldwide.

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About Xbox Live

Xbox Live continues to transform and unite Xbox game communities worldwide, with a presence in 24 countries worldwide and a global community of more than 2 million members. As the first and only global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live offers world-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with For more information, go to

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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