The Football Federation of Australia and EA Sports have announced that the E-League will officially be a part of EA Sports’ Global Series for the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018, with the winner of the competition set to qualify for the Global Series Playoffs.

The E-League — which is the FFA and A-League’s foray into competitive esports gaming through FIFA 18 — kicks off tonight, with the carrot for the winner a qualification spot to kickstart their journey to competing at the biggest FIFA esports event of the year.

“This is an exciting announcement for football in Australia as FIFA 18’s mass popularity is an increasingly important factor in how fans interact with traditional football,” FFA Chief Executive Officer David Gallop said.

“Using the strength of the global leader in interactive football combined with our world popularity of the Hyundai A-League, we believe this partnership will rapidly expand competitive gaming across Australasia.”

20 players have been selected for the first year of the E-League competition, with an Xbox One and PlayStation 4 player selected for each of the 10 Hyundai A-League sides. The competition will run for the remaining nine rounds of the A-League season, then culminating in a playoff series across both consoles that will crown an E-League champion.

“FIFA 18 is a key part of the football experience for the younger, digitally-connected football fan, as it teaches them the game and builds their affinity to the beautiful game,” Brent Koning, EA Sports’ FIFA Competitive Gaming Commissioner said.

“Australia is an incredible hotbed of football talent and the E-League will provide a direct opportunity for the region’s best to go head-to-head against the other world greats in the EA Sports FIFA 18 Global Series on the Road to the FIFA eWorld Cup 2018.”

The E-League kicks off tonight, with fans able to watch every Thursday night for the next ten weeks from 8pm AEDT on Twitch or via FOX Sports’ streaming hub.