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Covid-19 in Football Manager 2021

This is how SI chose to reflect Covid-19 in FM21’s gameplay. FM 2021 will attempt to strike the best possible balance between realism and escapism.

By on Oct 20, 2020   9512 views   3 comments
News - Covid-19 in Football Manager 2021
A lot of people I've talked to, are concerned about the possible existence of the pandemic in Football Manager 2021. Miles Jacobson - SI's studio director - has revealed today what is their approach to Covid-19 in FM 2021.

For FM20, Sports Interactive decided not to incorporate anything involving COVID into that rendition for the game. For FM21 however, they have decided to “strike the best possible balance between realism and escapism”.

Let's see what that entails exactly.

First of all, they clarified that the virus itself (as an injury type) won't be in the game.


  • Chosen club’s finances will be in a worse state than what you would normally expect.
  • Transfer system has been rewritten so that superstars and wonderkids will retain value but ‘mid-range’ players and other players losing value.
  • Clubs in financial trouble will try to move on players more regularly.
  • More ‘loan-to-buy’ offers and loans rather than bids.
  • Over time, more money will come back to the game and “the transfer system will adapt and eventually return to some sense of ‘normal’.”

Fans in Stadium

Fans will automatically attend matches from the very start of your save.


  • Adjusted the calendar when appropriate, will revert to normal the following season.
  • Certain leagues (such as the MLS) will not start ‘in the past’ but rather start the next season.
  • Start dates of saves will change depending upon league. Reverted to ‘normal’ following season.
  • Pre-season will be adjusted to reflect real life including start dates. Reverted to ‘normal’ the following season.
  • Transfer windows will “start by matching their current real life counterparts, but will revert to ‘normal’ in season two.”

Football Manager 2021 New Features


  • Substitution rules will be related to real life; if league allows 5 substitutes then so is the game for that competition/league. Will revert to ‘normal’ in season two, “unless the competition in question has already indicated that the plan is to adopt the new rule for the long term.”
  • Team line-ups will be normal.
  • No cleaning of posts before penalty shoot-outs as which takes place in real life thanks to COVID protocols.


SI has allowed the fanbase to vote on whether to change certain gestures – rather then “Shaking Hands” you can “Elbow Bump” instead. This can be voted upon whether to have ‘Normal Gestures’ or. COVID Safe Gestures’.
Whether or not these Gestures ‘revert to normal’ after a season is unknown.

Source: Our approach to Covid-19 in FM21

Pre-purchase FM21 from to enjoy early access to the Beta version by early-mid November, a free copy of FM Touch 2021 for PC/Mac (also with early Beta access), a unique buyer badge on our site, and our gratitude for supporting our community financially.

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Discussion: Covid-19 in Football Manager 2021

3 comments have been posted so far.

  • Jabluvious's avatar
    Who cares?! Talk about the ME already SI... This is the only thing people want to know about. Yet they avoid it, probably because it will be the same crap
  • Stam's avatar
    @Den1s: What's explained above is not speculation. It's the official approach that we simply reformatted in a more readable way. Check the original post on the official blog.
  • Den1s's avatar
    I would never buy it if they put this bs in the game
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