The Football Manager series of computer games will add women’s teams into the game for the first time, as part of a ‘multi-year project’.
Sports Interactive, the makers of the game, say the move will not be to create a standalone women’s football version of the popular management sim, but instead will be integrated into the game, on the same platform.
Instead, it will be ‘part of the living, breathing world that constitutes every one of your FM saves,’ according to Miles Jacobson, Studio Director, Sports Interactive, who is also on the Judging Panel of the Sport Industry Awards 2021.
Announcing the move on the Football Manager website, Jacobson said: “We also know that adding women’s football to Football Manager is going to cost 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. We want to be a part of the process that puts women’s football on an equal footing with the men’s game. 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.
“We know that our voice is very powerful and we want to use it for good.
“Longer term, as the women’s game grows in popularity, the financial rewards may come, but at the moment we’re embarking on this journey because we know it’s the right thing to do.”
Jacobson confirmed that it will ‘take some time’ to build the database of women’s players, noting that the current men’s database has 28 years of history behind it, with other issues like in-game animations and differences between the transfer systems in the men’s and women’s games.
He also confirmed that the game has signed a commercial partnership with newly-promoted Barclays FA WSL team Leicester City Women, which will see Football Manager branding featured on the dugouts and interview boards throughout their debut 2021/22 season in the top flight. That partnership will be in addition to its existing partnership with AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Girls, who currently play in the National League Division One South East.