Brexit simulated in new Football Manager game

Football Manager box logo Image copyright Sports Interactive
Image caption The latest version of Football Manager will feature a variety of Brexit scenarios, some of which will affect which players may be transferred between clubs

A range of "Brexit scenarios" will face players of the Football Manager 2017 game when it is released next month.

Gamers will have to manage the transfer of virtual football players in "soft" and "hard" versions of Brexit - affecting whether they are able to move freely between the UK and the EU.

However, in a further scenario, work permits may be made available under special conditions.

Managers will receive an alert informing them of new circumstances.

The decision to include the feature was made immediately after the UK's vote on EU membership in June, according to Miles Jacobson, the game's director at UK games firm Sports Interactive.

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Media captionSports Interactive's Ciaran Brennan explains the Brexit scenarios in Football Manager 2017

"I started working on the feature on the Saturday morning after the vote," he told the BBC. "I was trying to work out how it would affect my business and the sport that I love.

"I sat on the sofa for two days reading as much as I could from the pro- and anti-Brexit camps."

Mr Jacobson added that he went into the office the following Monday and told his team, despite the game's features having already been finalised, that he wanted to include the Brexit scenarios in the finished title.

"The fact that this is going to happen in the next few years means that it really has to be in the game," he explained.

Image copyright David Vintiner
Image caption Miles Jacobson told his team he wanted to include the Brexit feature on the Monday after the UK voted to leave the EU

Difficulty: Hard Brexit

But he also said that in recent months, the team has tweaked the possibility of some scenarios happening over others.

"When we were working on it, the idea of a hard Brexit had a lower chance of happening than is now the case - we changed that with the Tory conference," said Mr Jacobson.

The Telegraph reported that a hard Brexit option would have the "biggest effect" on gameplay.

By means of an example, Mr Jacobson said that in a test game played last night, the UK left the EU and Scotland voted to become an independent country.

In his game, the regulations over work permits were relaxed slightly but were newly applied to EU nationals.

Image copyright Sports Interactive
Image caption During the game, players receive notifications about how various Brexit scenarios will affect their business

Game changers

"Many games these days are complex enough to require companies to employ in-house economists, but rarely do they pivot such activity around real-world political issues," said Steve Bailey, a games analyst at market research firm IHS Technology.

"And so, it'll be interesting to see just how players respond to these scenarios, and what ongoing consequences they'll bring for how the game is played."

Mr Jacobson says he thinks, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations in the real world, there will definitely be "ramifications" for the football business.

In January, Tory peer Karren Brady voiced fears that Brexit could lead to some EU players in the UK having to leave.

However, former Football Association chairman Greg Dyke said in June that, while it was too early to know exactly how it will affect football in England, there was a possibility it could have a positive effect for English players looking for a chance to play in the Premier League.

Football Manager 2017 will be released on 4 November on PC, Mac and Linux with a mobile version for iOS and Android devices following on 17 November.

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