FM 2011 blog with Miles Jacobson day eight: 25-man squads, B-teams, Turkish playoffs and more... the latest rule changes

Author: Miles Jacobson. Link to original: (English).
Tags: FM11 Blog, Submitted by Homep13 07.10.2010. Public material.

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Since we started making Football Manager at Sports Interactive, it has always been about a simulating a football world. With over 50 countries' leagues playable and over 5,000 manageable teams in those leagues, it’s very important to us that we replicate each country's rules as accurately as possible.

What a lot of football fans don’t realise is quite how different the rules in different countries are. Take Spain for example, where reserve teams have different names to the first team, and are allowed to play in the league structure. Barcelona (Barcelona Athletic) and Real Madrid (Castilla) both have teams in leagues below them who, of course, can’t get promoted to the same division as their 'parent' club.

Or look at the MLS in America, where the league, not the club, own the players and there’s a wage cap for all clubs which is valid for the whole squad apart from two“marquee” players, who can be paid whatever the clubs want.

Or Brazil, where you play in both regional competitions and national competitions in the same season, with how well you do in some of them contributing to which competitions you then play in for the rest of the season.

With our team of researchers around the world (we have more than 1,000 people out there watching players week-in, week-out, as well as providing us local information and rules) we are in a very good position to be able to replicate these different nuances inside Football Manager 2011, and while there have been literally thousands of minor rule changes that we’ve put into the game this year, I’ve picked out a few here to go through.

First off is the new squad registration rules that are in place for the English divisions this season. To be fair, this isn’t a new thing to us, and we did have it in Football Manager 2010 too. You could actually tell which journalists played the game this summer when they were reporting with disgust that Manchester City were planning on selling players after signing some, as those who had played the game were quite clear that they had to to get their squad numbers down. But we’ve tidied up a few issues with it, in particular separating out the squad number and squad registration screens, so you can still give squad numbers to players that you don’t need to register.

One rule that has also been present in the game before but has now been improved is the one that decides who qualifies as a foreign player in France. There now a link from the game to a website that explains exactly which countries count in France as being colonised.

A fun one in the Turkish league is the rule that if four clubs end up on equal points at the end of the season at the top of the table, there will be a play-off between them to decide who has won the title.

We have even gone as far as adding in accurate support for who would be the Hong Kong continental competition representatives should one club win more than one trophy!

I spoke earlier in the blogs about how we’ve reworked B-teams in the game (like the Spanish teams mentioned above), and this should stop any frustration that people who are managing clubs with B-teams, or managing the B-teams themselves, should face, and make it more lifelike. We’ve spent a lot of time talking to people in the local territories where B-teams are most prevalent and hopefully that will be noticed by anyone who plays Football Manager 2011 in those leagues.

Some examples of that are more control for the managers of the A-team over which players their B-team will get. We've made it easier to move players from the B-team to the A-team and player biographies now take into account B-team performances when they report news on the player.

And to show the level of detail that we go into when we’re looking at these things, we've ensured that if there are eight B-teams in the Danish second division, no more can be promoted, and made sure that players in Spain can play at the B-team until the end of the season where the player turn 23, as long as that player is part-time or amateur.

I was planning on writing about some of the new additions to the 'awards' part of Football Manager 2011 today too, but I’ve run out of space. So will have to save that for a later blog….