Can 150-1 outsider Todd Cantwell win virtual silverware for Norwich City?
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There may be no actual football happening until April 30 at the earliest, but Norwich City are hoping star midfielder Todd Cantwell can win them some virtual silverware.
The 22-year-old will be the Canaries representative in a tournament constructed by League Two side Leyton Orient, with 128 teams participating from across the globe.
The betting companies have also priced up a number of odds for the virtual tournament, with Cantwell a rank outsider up against some professional e-gamers in a market headed by Manchester City and AS Roma (8/1). The Citizens have a professional e-sports squad to pick from.
In the absence of professional football due to the coronavirus-imposed league suspension, City’s quest to secure Premier League safety has been put on hold.
With physical football put on hold for at least a month, City fans hopes rest on the shoulders of Cantwell, who is tasked with navigating City through the competition.
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His first task is to overcome Fleetwood Town on Sunday, with the Cod Army being represented by fan Liam Platt.
Orient have decided to set up the 128-team tournament not only to fill the void created by a lack of football, but also to raise money for EFL clubs who are struggling financially during this period due to a lack of matchday income.
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The O’s will also be donating 25% of the money raised to two charities, one being the EFL’s chosen charity MIND, which helps people who struggle with their mental health.
The rest of the money will be donated to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fundraiser, designed to help those struggling with the disease.
In preparation for the opening fixture, Cantwell has been playing the game against supporters via his Instagram profile.
The tournament will kick start this Sunday at 7pm, giving clubs until the day before the planned date of the round of 64 to complete their opening match.
Round of 128 – To be played from Sunday 22nd March – 7pm
Round of 64 – To be played from Tuesday 24th March – 7pm
Round of 32 – To be played from Thursday 26th March – 7pm
Round of 16- To be played from Saturday 28th March – 7pm
Quarter-finals – To be played from Monday 30th March -7pm
Semi-Final – To be played from Wednesday 1st April -7pm
Final – To be played from Friday 3rd April – 7pm