Rules

About the league…

I’ve played in online league’s before, how is this any different?
Unlike traditional “online league” formats where a group of people get together to pretty much play the single player version of Football Manager at the same time, which can be a long term 3-4 hour commitment in any given session, the FM League instead makes use of FM Touch’s “Versus” feature to host “one v one” matches. This makes the focus more about squad building and tactics, than about training schedules, AI or waiting for everyone to click “Continue”.

What is the FM League and how does it work?
The FM League is a round-robin league format where each team plays the others once. The team with the most points at the end of the full round of fixtures is declared the league’s champion for the season.

There is an additional competition, the FM League Cup, which takes place over four of the league’s 9 weeks, and serves as an opportunity for managers to earn more money towards their transfer budget (and earn some bragging rights).

Fixtures are posted week-by-week and managers have a period of 5 days to complete their game(s) between the Tuesday and Sunday of the game week.

Example:
Week 1: Match 1 (League) and Match 2 (League)
Week 2: Match 3 (League) and First Knockout (Cup)
Week 3: Match 4 (League) and Second Knockout (Cup)
Week 4: Match 5 (League) and Quarter Final (Cup)
Week 5: Match 6 (League) and Match 7 (League)
Week 6: Match 8 (League) and Semi Final (Cup)
Week 7: Match 9 (League) and Final (Cup)
Week 8: Transfer Window

Squad Rules:

How many players can I have in my squad?
Each team has a squad size of 18 players. This includes 2 goalkeepers, a minimum of 11 “Home Nations” players (England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland) and a maximum of 7 “Foreign” players (outside of the UK).

So players age between seasons? How?
All of the teams are set up in a customised FM database which will be used as the tool to allow seasons to progress and players to age and develop. After each transfer window, the squads are updated using the In-Game Editor (IGE) and then exported to use until the next window. The saved game version of this database will be available to all managers, so it also functions as the main scouting tool.

When can I make changes to my squad and sign/sell players?
There will be a transfer window between each new season.

What kind of budget do I have?
Every team starts with a one-off budget, but teams can generate extra cash by selling their players to other teams in the league, or by earning prize money for their league finish, best goals and progression in the Cup. There will also be “TV Money” in the mid-season transfer window.

Tell me more about this prize money…
League: Finishing in 1st place in the Division will earn your team £10m, progressing down to a £1m prize for 10th place.

Cup: First Knockout win (£500k), Quarter Final win (£750k), Semi Final win (£1m), Finalist (£2m), Winner (£4m)

Goal of the Week: £1m for each weekly win

Are there any other awards?
End of season awards will be handed out to teams whose players* rank highest for…
– Top Goalscorer (£1m)
– Most clean sheets (£1m)
– Most Assists (£1m)
– Most Player of the Match awards (£1m)
– Highest Average Rating (£1m)
– Team of the Season (£250k for each player in the XI – determined by Av Rating)

Team awards are earned for the following…
– Most goals scored (£1m)
– Least goals conceded (£1m)
– Best Discipline, least cards (£1m)

*Players will have to have played in 75% of their team’s games to qualify for Highest Average Rating and Team of the Season.

How do I sign or sell players?
League deals: Free Market – Managers negotiate prices between themselves.
Outside deals: Draft – Managers use the FMLeague Sim to scout a player, then can choose to sign them or not for their FM in-game value when their turn comes around.
Free Agents: Draft – Managers scout as above, but on their turn will decide which player they are signing.

How does the Draft work?
Each team is ranked depending on the previous season’s league finish (or league position at the time of the transfer window), and over the course of 10 rounds (7 regular transfers, 3 frees), each team selects one player per round that they would like to sign for their in-game value (or if transfer listed, for their asking price).

Can I go into debt to secure a deal?
Temporarily, yes, but you must be within budget by the end of each window. Over-spending earns your club a 3 point deduction, and repeated cases will receive transfer bans.

Are there any restrictions on who I can sign?
Yes, the player must be in the Official FMLeague Sim (link shared in the facebook group) and can’t be out on loan at another club. In each window, managers are allowed a maximum of 7 permanent deals (including swaps or part exchanges), as well as 3 loans and 3 free transfers.

What happens if I sign too many players?
You’ll have to reduce your squad size for every extra signing until the next transfer window. So making 8 permanent signings would result in a 17 man squad, for example. Repeat offenders will face transfer bans.

Can I add clauses to my loan deals with other league managers?
Absolutely, as in FM you can charge a one-off loan fee and can also include an agreed future fee if you want to. The minimum initial loan fee must be at least 25% of the player’s FM-value, if the loan includes a future fee.

How do loans from outside of the league work?
You are unable to loan any player from outside the league with a “Key Player” or “First Team” status at their club; no club would loan out their best players or first teamers in real life! You can loan “Rotation” players for 80% of his FM-value (with the remaining 20% considered his “future fee”). For “Backup” and lower, loaning a player from outside of the league will cost you 60% of his FM-value. (the remaining 40% can be considered the player’s “future fee”)

If I sign a player, does he have to be registered? I don’t want my rivals to have him.
Yes. Once a player signs for your club, he is part of your squad until at least the next transfer window. If you sign a player and do not register him as part of your 18 man squad, you will have to remove a player from your registered squad. Only sign players you want in your squad.

Can I sign and register newgens? (players created by FM as part of each team’s youth intake)
Currently, no. We want to keep this league as realistic as possible with real life players, but the longer we go on, the more we may need to introduce newgen players to our squads. If you do register a newgen in your squad, he will be removed and your squad will be reduced until the next window.

What happens if one of my players retires?
If the player had a “Ret” icon in the official saved game (in other words, if you knew he was going to retire) then you’ll simply have less players in your squad until the next transfer window. If, however, a player retires suddenly and you couldn’t plan for it, you will be allowed to pick a free agent to replace him.

My team is complete! How do I register my squad?
At the end of each transfer window, you’ll be asked to submit your final 18 players. Anyone outside of this list over the age of 21 will be released from your club.

What happens if I don’t submit a final squad?
You will receive a 1 point deduction for missing the deadline, but will be given time to submit your squad (within reason). In extreme circumstances, the league admins will choose your squad for you.

Setting up for match day…

How do I play my matches?
Whoever is hosting the game selects “Versus” from the FM Touch start screen (select “League” for league matches and “Knockout Cup” for the Cup). Give the game a name, make sure “Allow anyone to join your game” is ticked and then click “Create Competition”. From the next screen, select “Import”, then choose your team and let your opponent know the name and password (if applicable) you have chosen for the game.

To join a game someone else is hosting, select “Join Online Game” from the FM Touch start screen, then search for the name provided by your opponent. Once you have connected, select “Add New Manager” and “Import” as above. Once you have both clicked “Continue”, you will be able to choose your tactics and set up your team.

How do I share the result?
When the game finishes, click “Stats” (next to the “Analysis” tab), then take a screenshot (default is Alt+F9) of the page which should show average ratings, assists, goals, PoTM and any cards.

Upload the screenshot to the FM League facebook group and tag one of the league admins, as well as your opponent. If you do not post the screenshot, the result cannot stand. Make sure you decide between yourselves who will be dealing with it before you exit the game, or you will have to replay.

My opponent and I can’t find a time to play, what do we do?
When this happens, let the league admins know or you could end up facing a mark against you for not being able to fulfill your fixture. The league admins will simulate (“sim”) the fixture using the “Instant Result” feature with the club’s default tactics and using their own best judgement to pick a match day squad (taking suspensions into account). If needs be, we can extend the deadline for you, but if you are consistently unable to fulfill your fixtures then why are you even playing in the league?

Are there any penalties if I can’t play my match(es)?
If you don’t have a valid reason for missing your game, then you will receive a mark against your name. Missing 1 game is a warning, a second is a yellow card, and a third is a red card. Red carded managers will be fired from the league for bringing their club into disrepute and replaced with a new manager.

Great, so even if I have to miss a game, I can win the ‘sim’ and get 3 free points?
No. If your game is ‘simmed’ then the maximum points you will receive is 2. We don’t want to sim games.

The Match itself…

What if something goes wrong during our match?
If you or your opponent lose your connection during the game, it is up to you to decide how you want to proceed between yourselves, whether you let the match play out or restart, for example. As long as you both agree, we will accept what you want to do. Restarts are only permitted for technical issues.

Do injuries carry over between games?
No. All players have a clean bill of health for every fixture.

Do yellow and red cards carry over?
Yes. Any red card in a game is a 2 match suspension, while 3 yellow cards over the course of the season (League and Cup combined) is a 1 match suspension. There will also be 1 extra game suspension for each additional yellow after a player’s third. The only exception to this rule is that cards and suspensions do not carry over between seasons. The “Discipline” page on the website is updated after every round.

What happens if I pick a suspended player in my match day squad?
By default, you will get a 1 point deduction for breaking the rules, and the player will be suspended for the following match, but repeated cases will lead to results being nullified and disciplinary proceedings for the manager. You must check the suspension table before you play your game to avoid any issues.

Oh no, I put a suspended player on the bench and the match has started. Can we restart?
No. Restarting a game is only permitted for technical issues. If you’ve fielded an illegible player then you’ll have to suffer the consequences. Check the “Discipline” section of the website BEFORE you start your game.

How long does a match take to play? I usually watch the full match when I play single player.
Generally, you’re looking at about an hour to play a match from the time it takes to set up right up until posting the screenshot of the Stats tab. Taking any longer than this isn’t going to endear you to your opponent, especially when you can set up your base tactic / set piece routines etc before you even agree to play. If you didn’t know that, all you need to do is start a new game in FM Touch, set up your set pieces and tactic, then save them. You can load up that tactic and everything will be as you saved it. Please play on “Extended” highlights as a maximum, we all have busy lives and are here to have fun first and foremost.

Can I use a match engine exploit during my match? It’s part of the game until it’s patched, right?
That’s not really in the spirit of fair play, is it? There’s a thin line between gaining an advantage and cheating, look at how professional footballers dive to con the referee – they do it because it works. Sometimes strange things happen in FM that can be considered unrealistic, but sometimes certain actions will actively give you an unfair advantage over your opponent. If there’s a known exploit in any given patch, don’t use it.

Can I pause to make tactical changes during the game?
No. Real life managers can’t pause the action to make changes so neither can you. The game will pause if you click on “Team Instructions” during the game, so that’s by the by as long as you don’t abuse it, but pausing the game to make big tactical changes is robbing your opponent of the chance to exploit a tactical weakness you might have missed. You’re free to correct those weaknesses, but not by freezing time.