Sports Interactive and Sega - the companies behind Football Manager - have announced that women's football is coming to the iconic game.
Over the past 28 years, FM has built a huge database of men's football, including players and managers with realistic ratings and attributes. With calls for years that the franchise should release a women's football version of the game, Miles Jacobson, Studio Director at Sports Interactive, has explained why including women's football into the FM game is actually even better.
“We have no interest whatsoever in making a standalone women’s football version of FM. What we are doing is adding women’s football to FM... one sport, one game,” he said of the news.
“We know that adding women’s football to FM is going to cost in the millions and that the short-term return it delivers will be minimal. But that’s not the point. There’s no hiding that there’s currently a glass ceiling for women’s football and we want to do what we can to help smash through it. We believe in equality for all and we want to be part of the solution.”
The move has been welcomed by those inside the game, such as Chelsea manager, Emma Hayes - who's spoken about the significance of this announcement.
“Women's football is capturing the imagination of fans across the globe and we're making huge strides in terms of attendance figures and broadcast deals,” says Hayes.
“For the women's game to get to the next level, though, it needs to be recognised as an integral part of the world of football, not something separate and different. We want future generations to grow up in a world where football isn't divided into 'women's' and 'men's'... it's just football.
“The ambitious plan that the Sports Interactive team have for Football Manager will play a huge part in getting us there.”
Along with new databases full of women's players, Football Manager has plenty of unexpected challenges with this new addition. Attributes in the women's game need to be adjusted accordingly for a completely different type of body: height is going to be slightly different, while the physiology of women's shot power means that there's more of an emphasis on placement.
Despite how much work this project entails, however, Jacobson has been keen to affirm just how important it is to help put women's football on an equal footing with the men's game.
“We want to be a part of [that] process,” he explains. ”We know that we’re not alone in this – the historic TV deal that Sky and the BBC recently agreed with WSL in England is proof of that – but we intend to do everything we can to get women’s football to where it deserves to be.”
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