Women's soccer is coming to 'Football Manager,' but it will take a while

The expansion involves more than adding new character models.

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Soccer Football - Women's Champions League - Round of 16 First Leg - Paris St Germain v Sparta Prague - Georges Lefevre Stadium, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France - March 9, 2021  Paris St Germain's Luana in action with Sparta Prague's Eliska Sonntagova and Lucie Martinkova  REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Football Manager developer Sports Interactive has a history of inclusive gameplay, and that now extends to women. The company has revealed that it's adding women's soccer (aka football) to its management sim. This will likely be a "multi-year" project, SI warned, but this also isn't a simple character model swap. The studio wants to offer the same kind of depth it has for men's sport while accounting for the differences between players and leagues.

There will be new models and databases, of course. However, SI noted that it also has to account for different league rules, gender differences in text translations (the most expensive part of the project) and tweaks to different player attribute systems. The company also has to decide whether or not it accounts for certain practical realities of women's soccer, at least at first — does it factor in menstruation and pregnancy, for example?

The team recently hired coach and research expert Tina Keech to lead its women's soccer efforts, and there are already motion capture sessions underway.

The expansion will likely prove costly. SI expects adding women will "cost millions," and it's looking for sponsorship deals that could help fund the project. However, the company believes there's a moral imperative to add women to the game — it wants to "smash" the glass ceiling for women's soccer and help it get the same attention given to men's leagues. In other words, Football Manager will be part of a larger sports equality campaign that includes games like FIFA as well as better TV coverage of real-world matches.

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