Football Manager, the iconic game has introduced the majority of the women’s leagues in the game’s latest edition. The company’s website clearly explains that there are almost 1,863,185 active members of the game who are increasing with each passing day. The introduction of the women’s league by Football Manager could be seen as a major step in the direction of improving football on the other side of the pond.
🗣 @milesSI: “If we can help increase the audience for women’s football and help create role models for girls and young women: job done.”
FFT chats to Emma Hayes and Miles Jacobson about how Football Manager is introducing women's football 👇https://t.co/1b0Ul6pU4P
— FourFourTwo (@FourFourTwo) July 23, 2021
Chelsea’s Women’s team manager, Emma Hayes described the historic event as a “watershed movement” for sport. Termed as Female Pep, Hayes has landed several iconic silverware at Chelsea with her managerial wizardry. The momentous step comes on the back of EA Sports’s announcement that Alex Scott will be the first female commentator in FIFA 22.
Happy to finally share the news that I joined the FIFA family and will be commentating for #FIFA22! 🙌🏾🎮
— Alex Scott MBE (@AlexScott) July 21, 2021
Although men’s European competitions or domestic championships received their share of spectators, the number of women’s football is far behind. With Football Manager including the women’s league this time, a slight sense of awareness can be raised about the sport along with the game earning billions.
A HISTORICAL CHAPTER FOR FOOTBALL MANAGER
Sports Interactive inaugurated the famous game in 2004, and since then the game has gone from strength to strength. Football Manager believes that the introduction of the women’s league could cost them a fortune but in the long run, it could be beneficial for the owners.
Sports Interactive Studio Director, Miles Jacobson explained that this new update could cost them “millions” and the short-term return would be “minimal”. But he also insisted on the fact “that this is the right thing to do”
Our commitment to the multi-year project to include the women's game into our series. https://t.co/N4GQkVsLuX
— Football Manager (@FootballManager) July 22, 2021
“We’ve spent the past 18 months working on this and having to be secretive about it. We want to stop talking about it as men’s and women’s football, and just start talking about it as football, because that’s what it is.”
“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,” wrote Miles Jacobson, Sports Interactive’s studio director. “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.”
“At this stage, we don’t know exactly how long the process will take so we can’t say exactly which version of FM will see women’s football make its debut,” Jacobson said, “but rest assured that we plan to make this happen as soon as we possibly can.”
When women’s football is incorporated into Football Manager, Jacobson explained that it will be in the guise of championships, similar to how tournaments function in the present version. That is, you can choose which divisions are included in your game, allowing you to control the tournament’s schedule.
Managers from a women’s squad can also manage a men’s side and vice versa. The Company also explained that when women’s football is added to Football Manager, the players will be able to lead both the men’s and women’s troops without any unnecessary hassle.
TINA KEECH- THE SPEARHEAD OF THE MISSION
Football Manager presently employs over 1200 analysts across the globe who watch matches every week to ensure the men’s statistics are as accurate as possible. For women’s league, Football Manager aspires to equal that accuracy.
Tina Keech, a trained manager and former chairman of data and assessment at Smartodds, has been roped in as Sports Interactive’s Chief of Women’s Studies to oversee the daunting challenge lying in front of the company. “In a couple of months, I’ve done pretty well,” Keech explained. “I’m pretty proud of myself. But now we’re going full steam ahead. I’ll be able to get some help and we’ll create a good one.”
— PCGamesN (@PCGamesN) July 22, 2021
Sports Interactive’s investment in female soccer, which includes economic collaboration deals with Leicester Women for the 2021/22 campaign, is “huge,” according to Keech. “I’ve played football my whole life. I’ve watched it. I’ve coached it. I’ve been in that game. I’m a fan. I’ve got two young girls who love playing football. This is massive for the game,” Keech said.
🗣 @tinakeech: "This is literally a rallying call to everyone in football – the women's football fans, the journalists, the staff, the clubs, anyone who wants to help us create this database, please reach out because we need you." https://t.co/M057MEvyCe
— Ameé Ruszkai (@ameeruszkai) July 22, 2021
“It should have happened earlier. These bigger companies should have come in earlier. But they’re there now. It’s a massive statement. And hopefully, others will jump in and go, right, let’s give women’s football the respect and the attention it deserves. I can only see good things coming from this.”
THE REACTION OF FANS TO THE INTRODUCTION OF THE ICONIC EVENT
After the iconic headline broke out, a few factions of spectators didn’t like the company’s historic decision. After the story, Sports Interactive has reportedly experienced some unfavourable feedback from consumers.
"We believe in equality for all and we want to be part of the solution."
The makers of the Football Manager computer game series have confirmed a "multi-year project" to bring women's teams into future releases.#bbcfootball
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) July 22, 2021
“To be clear to people: consumer choice – if you don’t like the decisions we’re making around the game, don’t buy it. If you think adding women’s football is going to denigrate your experience, well I’m sorry, I hope you find another experience somewhere else that you can enjoy.”
It’s official. Women’s football is coming to FM! What are your thoughts? https://t.co/Ol5FcSvk8J
— FM Mobile 22 (@FMMobile_) July 22, 2021
Although a group of fans were against the companies decision, Jacobson believed that this was the correct decision by Football Manager in the hope of bolstering women’s football. “We believe very strongly that this is the right thing to do.”