How Brexit could make signing players in Football Manager 2017 much harder

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Since the UK's decision to leave the European Union earlier this year, it has raised a variety of political questions and caused a whole lot of hassle. Including for the developers of Football Manager.

The highly-popular management simulation game's developers, Sports Interactive, love to get the finest details of the game spot on, to make the gamers' experience as close to reality as possible.

So when the decision to leave the UK was announced, Football Manager brainchild Miles Jacobson was left with a rather hefty task on his hands. That being: how will Brexit effect football transfers in England.


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Up until now, English football - particularly the Premier League - has taken the signing of foreign players for granted. It's not too often that visas have denied players the chance to play in England.

But that could be about to change at the beginning of next year, in both the game and reality, when the government active Article 50 - which will officially begin the negotiations of Britain's exit from the EU.

Even for Football Manager's top players, the new laws that could come into place could turn them from a Pep Guardiola into a Sam Allardyce.

No doubt Jacobson has already had some late nights and early mornings mulling over how to transfer the political situation into the game. And it's not been easy for the studio director, who will introduce different models of Brexit in the game, with the impact of the decision yet to be known.

Players of 2017's edition of the game will be made aware that trade negotiations have begun between two and ten years into the game, while a year later they will find out the extent of Brexit.

“The first option for the game was to have just one scenario and that would be it, Brexit done, but it’s not possible to come out with one outcome and it won’t be until all the negotiations are done," Jacobson told the Telegraph.

Soft Brexit

Much, no doubt, to the preference of Football Manager fans, a soft Brexit would not disrupt the way in which gamers go about making signings, with the free movement of workers remaining and transfer policies not changing.

Special exemptions

However, footballers could be made exempt from more strict rules to working within the UK, with more easily obtainable work permits - under the same special exemptions that are used for entertainers - meaning gamers will, again, likely not feel the effects.

Hard Brexit

Ultimately, though, there is one scenario in which every Football Manager player will forbid.

A hard Brexit would mean strict rules apply to the transfer of non-EU players will then also apply to those players from outside of the UK. 

“At the moment the rules for work permits for non-EU players uses a points system and we could see similar rules for all recruitment from outside the UK,” Jacobson added.

“Meanwhile, transfer fees go up: foreign players are worth more to British clubs because you need to make sure you make the most of those four slots, and the best British players become more valuable, and so more expensive, too."

And Jacobson has some bad news for the game's fans, by hinting that he fears the worst.

“Six weeks ago I would have predicted a soft Brexit, but after the Conservative Party conference a hard Brexit is much more likely."

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