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Game Rules

Below is a list of various rules and parameters within the game. It is updated regularly. If you spot any issues please let me know.

1. League Structure - League games are typically played on Sundays with occasional midweek games.

1.1 Current structure is 2 leagues, made up of clubs from all around Europe. 12 teams per league, totalling 22 league games for each team. 
1.2 Each team plays each other twice, home and away, gaining 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and no points for a defeat.
1.3 If teams are level on points the league positions will be decided on goal difference, and then number of goals scored. If things remain tied then it will go to results between the two teams, and then a playoff if necessary.
1.4 At the end of the season the bottom 3 teams will be relegated from each league, with two automatic promotions and a playoff system to determine the 3rd promotion spot.
1.5 During the season there will be cup competitions, The League Cup and PBEMFF Cup. There is also the minor cup, the Woolmore Trophy, for the lowest ranked 16 sides in the game. Home bonus is at 300 as cups are historically less predictable - any FA Cup-esque shocks coming??
1.6 These cup results do not influence league results (apart from injuries and suspensions, of course!).

1.7 Home Bonus for league matches is set to 500. Those thousands of baying home fans spur you on!

1.8 The playoffs - In order to reach the Division 2 playoff for a chance to be promoted to Division 1, you must finish between 3rd and 6th position. 

1.9 Playoff format will be 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th; the 2 sides who came higher will have the home advantage

2.0 The two winners meet in the final at a neutral venue (home_bonus set to 0), with extra time and penalties if needed. Any youth minutes WILL count - if you're brave enough to play them you deserve a reward (but more on youths later)

2. Prize Money

2.1 There will also be further prize money determined by each team’s final league position. To the left in the Division 1 figure and to the right, the division 2 figure (top Div 2 sides get more due to the riches of being promoted):

Champions – £40,000,000 - £30,000,000
2nd – £30,000,000 - £25,000,000
3rd – £25,000,000 - £20,000,000 
4th - £20,000,000 - £18,000,000
5th - £18,000,000  - £17,000,000
6th - £16,000,000  - £16,000,000 (then all the same below)
7th - £15,000,000 
8th - £14,000,000 
9th – £13,000,000
10th – £12,000,000

11th - £11,000,000

12th - £10,000,000

The playoff winners receive a £5m bonus

2.2 The prize money for the PBeMFF Cup will be as follows (as the major cup competition, it carries extra prestige):
Winners – £30,000,000 
Runners Up – £15,000,000 
Losing Semi Finalists – £8,000,000
Losing Quarter Finalists – £6,000,000

2.3 The prize money for the League Cup will be as follows:
Winners – £15,000,000 
Runners Up – £8,000,000 
Losing Semi Finalists – £6,000,000 
Losing Quarter Finalists – £4,000,000

2.4 The prize money for the Woolmore Trophy will be as follows:

Winners – £6,000,000

Runners Up – £4,000,000

Losing Semi Finalists – £2,000,000

2.5 At the commissioner's discretion, special bonuses may be awarded to any team that has massively exceeded expectations - for example a weak squad that has a great season. After all, it's easy if you have a good team!

2.6 Any team who sheets 100% of the season without missing a submission will receive a £10 million bonus.

2.7 ALL prize money/bonuses to be paid at the end of the season.

3. Cup Competitions - played mid-week

The PBeMFF Cup - The Big One
3.1 This is a straight knockout competition, with home bonus = 300
3.2 If the games are level at 90 minutes, they will go to a replay, as they would in the FA cup. However if the scores are still tied after the replay, extra time will be played followed by a penalty shootout if necessary. No away goals.

3.3 The victor of each match will progress to the matches in the following round.

3.4 Fixtures are drawn on a random basis, as would be the case in a English Cup format.

3.5 The semi-finals and final will be played at a neutral venue (home bonus = 0)

League Cup Competition
3.6 This is a straight knockout competition, with home bonus = 200
3.7 If the games are level at 90 minutes extra time will be played followed by a penalty shootout if necessary.
3.8 The victor of each match will progress to the matches in the following round.
3.9 Fixtures are drawn on a random basis, as would be the case in a English Cup format.

3.10 The semi-finals and final will be played at a neutral venue (home bonus = 0)


Woolmore Trophy

3.11 A knockout competition for the lowest ranked 8 teams in the game, with home bonus = 300

3.12 The "bottom 8" teams are determined as those 6 who finished outside the playoffs (bottom 6) and the 2 losing playoff semi-finalists

3.13 In order to help these lower ranked sides develop players, this will be a 2-legged competition, at QF and SF stages, home and away (no away goals rule, ESMS wasn't really designed for that).

3.14 If the games are level on aggregate after 2 matches, extra time will be played in the 2nd leg, followed by a penalty shootout if necessary.

3.15 The victor of each match will progress to the matches in the following round.

3.16 Fixtures are drawn on a random basis.

3.17 Final played at neutral venue.



3.18 Friendly games may be arranged between manager, pre-season. There is only option to play ONE game per team and this must be arranged via the correct forum thread.

3.19 Friendlies will be run around 1 week before the season starts.

3.20 To most closely mimic reality, any ABs and minutes WILL COUNT towards the season's totals.

3.21 However, to also mimic reality, any INJURIES received WILL COUNT as well! Enter at your own risk.

3.22 Suspensions will NOT count as they are not received in official competition.

4. Players


General Information: PBeMFF does not use FITNESS (fit) in the rosters, so each game, your team has full fitness. This is to try and take out some of the complexity that might put people off, after all we are all busy.

That said, in-game fitness is still a thing, so if you are in a cup match in extra time for example, your starting players will deteriorate throughout the game itself, and so, a wise manager with some squad depth would be in a much better position if they had good subs to use (otherwise you could just have a star team of 11 players or so and require very little thought whatsoever)

4.1 There are 3 kinds of players in the game:
Senior players - for example R_Perry 33 sco 1 32 20 10 10 300 446 310 846 - a normal, named player
Youth players - for example x06 21 sco 1 19 14 13 25 300 433 523 487 - have no name, only an x number
Academy players - for example L_Matteo_x09 2
2 ita 1 20 15 9 22 300 643 446 106 - have both a name and an x number.

4.2 The difference between a youth and an academy player is as follows:
4.3 The youth player is an x numbered player who plays for your reserves team. He is numbered from x01 - x22 and is usually 21 and under.

4.4 The academy player is also x numbered, however he will also have his own player name, as in the case of L_Matteo_x09 above
4.5 Academy players are youths who have been promoted to the senior team on a 1 season trial to see if they can make it in the big leagues
4.6 If a Youth player hits age 22 and is not being promoted to become an Academy player in the seniors, he will disappear from the game and be replaced by a new, younger player, of the same x number, from a default template of players, if he is not sold on by the new season's deadline day. Presumably, he never showed enough talent!

4.7 At the start of each season you will be asked to select up to 3 of the numbered Youth players from your reserve team that you wish to promote to your senior squad to become Academy players. This is not mandatory.

4.8 You will be asked to give a name and nationality to the player, as well as a number between 1 and 22, if you wish to change the existing number. Please do your best to ensure that your name is not already being used in the game as a name clash will result in your player being re-named.
4.9 To assist in keeping a check on these players, the promoted Academy player may NOT be relegated to the reserve team for the duration of his first season. This is his trial season after all, so he is committed to that trial and if he doesn't make it, he can always move back to the reserves the next season.

4.10 Most managers will wish to develop their Academy players, however the option exists to trade these between clubs. Academy players will, by default, stay at the parent club unless agreed with both managers that the move can happen. You may wish to agree to this if you are anticipating a long cup run and want to play him yourself for extra minutes. The downside is that your team will ultimately be weaker by doing so.

4.11 Once a player has been promoted to your senior squad, as in real life, it is always a gamble as to how he is going to progress. You might uncover a potential superstar such as Owen or Rooney, on the other hand you could end up with a dud. At the end of the Academy player's first season, every minute they play in the first team will be converted into ability points.

4.12 These can be spread onto any of the stats you wish in the case of an outfield player, however it is most likely you will want to maximise his main stat. Keepers must have 100% on the shot stop ability.

4.13 Each season, around 3/4 of the way through the season, I randomly draw lots on the academy players. This is to determine their star rating: Out of the 22 players:

1 will be classified as a flop (2 star)

1 will be a development player (2.5 star)

6 as sub players (3 star)

6 as potential first team quality (3.5 star)

6 as good players (4 star)

1 as a game changer (4.5 star)

1 will be a superstar (5 star)


2 star players receive 2 ability points per minute played, 3 star 3 ability points per minute, up to 5 star players who obviously receive 5 ability points per minute played. If your academy player plays for 2000 minutes and gets a 3* rating, he will receive a total of 6000 ability points which will be placed by default onto his main stat, unless the manager specifies otherwise.

Worked example:

L_Matteo_x09 22 ita 1 20 15 9 22 300 643 446 106

L_Matteo plays for a total of 2,150 minutes across the season and he receives a good 4* rating. He received a total of 2150 x 4 = 8600 ability points and he will become

L_Matteo_x09 22 ita 1 29 15 9 22 300 243 446 106

Of course, you could potentially split these in a different way if you so wish, an example below is 7000 to the main and 1600 to the secondary:

L_Matteo_x09 22 ita 1 27 17 9 22 300 643  46 106


The academy player, such as Matteo here, then loses his number at the end of his academy season and becomes a full senior player:

L_Matteo 23 ita 1 29 15 9 22 300 243 446 106

Although the academy player outcome is basically the luck of the draw, it could be in your interest to give these players some playing time, as a player with lots of minutes behind him at 4 or 5 stars can reach 30+ rated and become an instant star.


A 5* youth may turn out to be ridiculously good, which may result in 'too' strong a player from a young age. In order to maintain some realism, and prevent freak players in the game, an academy player may receive his ABs onto the main stat up to a specific cap:

33 rated for outfield players (eg DF, MF, DM, AM) - soft cap

33.3 rated for a striker only (FW) - soft cap
38.3 rated for a GK - hard cap

Players with too high stats can distort the game too much, especially keepers, anything above 40 rated might prove impossible to score against and become totally unrealistic, distorting matches, and hence the 38.3 is a firm cap that one cannot go beyond.


But you earnt those ABs so you do get to keep the leftovers.


Any ABs which would take an academy player beyond the above levels can be kept and re-distributed in accordance with the below guidelines:

a: Outfield youth: The ABs can be x1.5 and added to the player's secondary stat (or split between secondaries if you prefer).

b. Outfield youth: The ABs can be x0.5 and added onto the main stat above 33/33.3 - so you feel the effect of the soft cap, but could still take the player a bit beyond this, albeit losing 50% of the leftovers.


Example: If a Defender was rated 22-12 and gained 14,000 bonus, they would have 11 ABs up to the 33.000 level, giving them 3,000 left. They can either have 4,500 AB to be put onto his secondary (up to 23.000) and then any other secondaries (also up to 23). Alternatively, they may have 1,500 AB and add these onto the main stat beyond the 33 level (i.e. 34.500). This gives managers the option of either a strong main stat player or a more rounded sort.


Example A: L_Matteo_x09 22 ita 1 22 12 9 22 100 0 0 100

We choose to stop at the cap and put the rest on the secondary: L_Matteo 23 ita 1 33 16 9 22 100  0 600 100

Example B: L_Matteo_x09 22 ita 1 22 12 9 22 100 0 0 100

We choose to exceed the cap with the reduced reward of 0.5x: L_Matteo 23 ita 1 34 12 9 22 100  500  0 100

c: GK youth: The ABs can be x1.5 and added to a sub-keeper's MAIN stat. The limit for any ABs being added to a sub keeper CANNOT take him above 37 rated. He's a sub keeper, so can't be better than the main keeper!

d: Alternatively, if your sub is already too good, the remaining ABs may be x1.5 and added onto one or more secondary stats outfield.


13-17 Outfield secondary - 2,000

18-21 Outfield secondary - 3,000

13-17 sub GK main - 1,500

18-21 sub GK main - 2,000

4.14 It is worth noting that in order to stop the crazy inflation of any young player (under 22), you can only put so many ABs onto them.

Rationale: Let's say you had an up and coming 19yo 35 rated keeper. Suddenly you crash the stat cap with your youth goalie and, let's say, you have 3,000 spare AB at your disposal. Suddenly, your young backup is a despicable 19yo 38 rated monster. Who then gets more rerates and becomes an absolute savage by age 22. It would just do too much damage, we've seen it before and these freak keepers literally let in about 5 goals a season. Similarly, the limit is set slightly lower for u18 players as again, they could end up silly.

4.15 Youth x-number players aged 22 leaving the game. 

When a manager has promoted all available youths to the academy, there may be other good 22 year olds in the roster who have no place to go with their current team. As they are 22, they either get promoted or get replaced with a younger player from the template. Each season the commissioner sets a deadline for all transfers and moves prior to the new season, there will be a deadline for youth academy picks included in this.

4.16 If a manager has no picks left he is still able to sell his 22 year old players to another team, providing this is done BEFORE the above specified deadline.

4.17 Any youths you sign during the off-season, from other clubs, when they are 22, WON'T COUNT towards your allocation of 3 (this would stifle transfer activity - you can pick 3 of your own and potentially buy 3 others - it's suicidal but hey, you're the manager)

4.18 Any youths age 22 who have not been sold/promoted by the deadline day will be removed from the game and replaced by a younger one from the youth template.

4.19 Any Youth Academy player cannot be promoted until they reach the age of 20. This is because of the time a 19 year old hit 5*, maxed out, and will still get 2 further seasons of rerates on top, which was never the intention of the youth system. Limiting this to age 20 helps balance the risk-reward of such a tactic.

4.20 - No player in the game aged over 22 may be re-named, as he will have reached his peak by this stage and managers may wish to monitor his career.

4.21 - If your youth plays less than 500 minutes he will be deemed to have been rejected and failed in the first team, and will leave the squad altogether at the end of the season. This is to stop managers promoting youths, just to never play them, and retire them EOS for a few extra quid. This commissioner does not appreciate extra mindless admin on his pet hate task!

5. Reserve (Youth) League

5.1 Each team has a reserve team that plays in the corresponding league as the first team
5.2 The reserve fixtures will be identical.
5.3 The reserve league tables will be visible from the corresponding league's page on the website.
5.4 As explained above, Each reserve team is made up of 22 unnamed youth players and they will be numbered from x01 to x22. These players will usually have much lower ratings than your first team.
5.5 At the start of the season you may place up to 6 named players into your reserve team to enable them to gain experience, and improve their playing abilities, and with luck they will eventually become first team players.
5.6 Once the season has started though, you may only make 1 reserve change each way per week, that is, promote 1 player and relegate 1 player. These changes will be processed in line with all other transfers, before each week's league matches.

5.6.2 Why can't you do it before the cup I hear you say? Because a very naughty manager was once mindlessly moving an under 22 player up to the seniors, just to sit on the bench and get 30 free ABs merely for existing in the midweek roster, and then moving him down again. It annoyed the commissioner so he stopped the loophole. If you genuinely cannot field 16 players, please contact me or post on the forum to state this, and you may emergency promote anyone over 22 from the reserves, or, if you really have NOBODY ELSE, you can stick an under 22 in, but the rerate ABs will be removed. If any of this is unclear of you feel you haven't got sufficient players to field a squad, speak to the commissioner.
5.7 No outfield player over 29.000 rated (main skill) or 34.000 for a goalkeeper may feature in the reserves. When they hit this point, they are moved back to seniors, so keep an eye out.

5.8 Any tactic may be used in the reserves, however, a MINIMUM of 4 defenders and a MAXIMUM of 3 strikers may be used. This will be monitored by inbuilt checks in the game engine. Any sheet found to be in breach of this will be replaced with a 442N automatically.

5.9 It is not compulsory to sheet for your reserves. If you fail to submit a sheet for the reserves, there are no penalties. Your reserves will instead have a default 442N sheet run for them using your best 11 available players, rather than a T sheet. This is worth remembering when you relegate players to the reserves, as the team sheet creator program automatically picks the best players for the 11 positions, so in the unlikely event that one of your numbered players is better than one of your named players relegated from the seniors, the TSC will pick the numbered player. 
5.10 Injuries or suspensions picked up playing for the reserves will mean the players will also be ineligible for the first team, and players injured or suspended whilst playing for the first team will be ineligible to play for the reserves too.

6. Transfers

6.1 Private transfers between teams won’t be processed until I receive forum confirmation from both managers that the deal is to go through. There is a specific place for this on the forum, to ensure transparency in deals between teams.
6.2 Be aware though that once you have confirmed a deal to me the transfer will be put through, so make sure you are certain before posting on the forum your confirmation.
6.3 If making a deal takes you into debt, this is permitted in the off-season. The commissioner sets a date when all squads must be ready, all game admin done, and all finances clear. You will have until that date to sort it out.

6.4 If you start the season having not recovered your debt, you receive a 3pt deduction from the authorities (1pt if the debt is under £1m), and have ONE WEEK to finally resolve this debt. Failure to do so will result in the commissioner auctioning off a suitable player (his choice) from your team in order to acquire the necessary funds as well as an additional 3 point deduction for the 2nd week.

6.5 If you make a deal which puts you into debt DURING the season, you will receive a 3pt deduction from the authorities (1pt if the debt is under £1m), and you will have ONE WEEK to recover the debt IN FULL. Failure to do so will result in the commissioner auctioning off a suitable player (his choice) from your team in order to acquire the necessary funds.

6.5.2 Even if the debt is only very small, a strong player will be chosen, so it is in your interests to sort the debt out quickly! You effectively stand to lose 3 points and 1 player should you not do so!

6.6 Any repeat offences will result in a further 3 point deduction for each instance of debt, after 1 week if each instance is not resolved a player will then be sold, another 3 points gone, another player sold, and so on and so forth.
6.7 If any manger from any team involved in the transaction leaves PBeMFF then the Commissioner may deem the transfer void and return all players and monies back to their initial clubs. This will be on a case by case basis.
6.8 Transfers are to be processed AFTER each set of games. So you agree a deal, then play your next match, and the player will become yours after that.

6.9 If the Commissioner receives details of a transfer between clubs that they consider to be unfair, they reserve the right to block it. This will only happen in exceptional circumstances, and if a manager can justify their deal, I will not interfere with it.
6.10 The transfer window opens in full as soon as the season ends, right up until 1 week before the start, when the usual season-long rules (see 6.3 - 6.6) will apply.

6.9 Transfer deadline day: The transfer window stays open to all wings, all season, until the advertised transfer deadline day, which will usually be after the 16th league games, meaning 6 game weeks without the ability to bring in players. This is to prevent "tactical" transfers to help any friends you may have playing the game, and also applies to loans. This is applicable to all teams across all leagues.

6.9 No deals at all will be done on a buy now pay later scheme. If cash is involved you must have the cash and transfer it at the time of the transfer, not on future promised earnings. You may agree EOS deals, but the WHOLE deal would be EOS.
6.10 The only exception to the above rule is when dealing with academy players. You may get players/cash immediately with the undertaking that the academy player will be played for you then transferred end of season.
6.11 Youth players may be used in transfers, as well as academy players. However, as they are all numbered players, this could lead to chaos, with multiple players in the reserves of the same number, etc. To prevent this happening, there is a hard and fast rule - If you purchase a youth named x10 then your existing x10 will be REMOVED from the game, unless you clearly specify to rename the purchased player at the point of transfer. He must replace a player in the same position (e.g DF for DF) if you do so.

6.12 Working example: Liverpool sign x06 17 sco 1 14 9 9 29 300 700 900 900 from Aston Villa, Aston Villa will get whatever is due to them. Liverpool MUST replace their existing x06 with this new x06 player they have bought from Villa, unless they specify his new number at the point of transfer, Liverpool may allow the old x06 to leave, or they may wish to rename the new x06 to x04 (same position) and lose their existing x04 instead.


Aston Villa's vacant slot will be automatically filled by the x06 player from the default Youth Template, which can be found by clicking HERE


6.13 30% transfer incentive - For the 2 weeks prior to the transfer deadline day (typically week 14-16) any CASH involved in deals will result in a 30% uplift in price for the selling club only. This is to encourage deals without penalty for the buying club.​

6.14 The deal can be cash only, or players may be involved also.

6.15 For example, SHU receive A_Player and 30m, and AZA receive B_Player. AZ have paid 30m in the deal but SHU will get 39m (the extra 30% being 9m) added onto the funds.

6.16 LIMITS - to prevent abuse, only one deal with each club shall count, for example, if SHU and AZA did 2 deals, involving cash, the 30% bonus would only apply to the selling club of the first of those deals. That way folks can't be naughty and just do random back and forths sending each other some cash in a deal, to eke out some extra pennies.

6.17 LIMITS - The maximum bonus you can receive per deal is £30m. So if you sold a player for £100m, you would get £30m. If you sold a player for £150m, you would still only get £30m (i.e. £180m in total). This is to stop it getting crazy.

7. Loans

7.1 Teams are allowed a maximum of 3 loans in and 3 loans out at any one time throughout the season. This is 3 each, not 3 between the two types.
7.2 All loans will last for a fixed number of weeks, for example, 4 weeks, 10 weeks. Alternatively, half a season, or a full season loan, are acceptable periods, as most loans are likely to be for full seasons. The term "weeks" means PHYSICAL WEEKS, not game weeks.
7.3 Players may not be returned before the end of the agreed loan period unless stipulated at the point of deal agreement, or permission is later granted by the loaning club.
7.4 Loan Deadline Day will be towards the end of the season - this will be identical to transfer deadline day mentioned in 6.8.
7.5 Loans already active after Deadline Day may stay for the rest of the season or until whichever pre-specified date, but no new loans will be allowed. This is to stop “tactical” loaning of players in a last gasp effort to secure promotion/titles for other managers.
7.6 Players on loan have their nationality changed to the loaning team's roster name (eg ARS, CVG etc), to clearly signify who the player has been loaned from. This will ensure quicker clean-up of rosters and enable me to monitor loans in and out.

7.7 Minimum loan period of 4 weeks. This is because anything shorter would be seen as cynical and doesn't happen in the real world. 4 weeks is under a quarter of a season and is slightly more plausible.
7.8 No deals will be allowed involving 3rd parties. Players must move from one club to another for a fee/player/s from that club. Basically deals only allowed through 2 clubs.

7.9 Emergency loans - not dissimilar to the real life version, if you find yourself with no goalkeeper during the season, including after the transfer window, you can bring one in. But be warned, it 'aint cheap and he 'aint very good. But it beats using a 5 rated defender, right?

7.10 You incur a minimum £1m fee, and you get to keep the emergency loanee for 4 weeks; you're copping for all the agents, paperwork and weekly wages of this hapless fellow.

7.11 The goalkeeper will be 30 rated, so he's fodder really. But like I said, it beats being murdered with a 5 rated defender in goal...

8. Player Retirements and Re-rates

8.1 During the end of season break, players reaching a certain age automatically retire.
8.2 Players will automatically retire when they reach 37 (the EOS of age 36)
E.g. Once S_Supersub 36 bra 1 6 6 26 turns 37 at the end of a season he will automatically be retired.
8.3 Rerates of players - Players will naturally decline as they get older. This is to mimic reality and encourage transfer activity. Some managers may wish to hold on to a veteran and try for one last tilt at glory, whereas others may sell him and rebuild the team before he reaches terminal decline.
8.4 Details of the player growth and decline can be found on the "Game Parameters" page which lists all game engine numbers.

8.5 Retirements

8.6 If you choose to retire a player, you must do this in the pre-season window. You will receive payment for the retiring player dependent on his age and stats. Send the details to the commissioner via the "Manager admin" board on the forum (click HERE). The player's retirement value is generated using a spreadsheet. This is sent back to you. Decide if you would like to retire him. The spreadsheet can be found in our PBEMFF Dropbox page which contains all relevant game files.
8.7 Once a player reaches 37 you can still retire him, but he will be worth next to nothing... he only has 1 year left after all!
8.8 To prevent too much use of retirements rather than deals in the market, you may only retire up to 3 players per season.


9. The Game Engine


9.1 The ESMS game engine settings and parameters are updated from time to time to reflect the changing needs of the game. All of these can be found, up to date, on the separate section: THE GAME >> GAME PARAMETERS

10. Additional sources of income - News Articles and Pools

10.1 Press Releases/News Articles

10.2 Managers are encouraged to submit articles in our Articles section on the forum. These may be match previews, reviews, transfer gossip, press conferences or even a combination of all of them!

10.3 Managers may submit one detailed articles per week. For every article published your club will receive £3m. This boosts your bank balance and adds to the interest and enjoyment of the game.

10.4 Articles must be a minimum of 300 words.

10.5 Any particularly detailed and enjoyable articles will be awarded an extra 500k at the discretion of the commissioner.

10.6 PBeMFF Pools

10.7 Pretty much as it sounds, this was brought in to add some spice and see who can predict the results most accurately.

10.8 You are given a list of each week's league fixtures and you predict Home (H) Away (A) or Draw (D/X) as you would in the Pools.

10.9 The prize pot is 3m per week. In the event of a tie this is split equally. £20m if you win overall for the season, £10m for 2nd and £5m for third.

11. Scouting


11.1 You are sending your club scouts all around the world to find you the very best talent not yet in the game, before your rivals can snap them up! Therefore this is done secretly by email to the commissioner at
11.2 If you do not wish to promote any number of youth players to become academy players, you may instead choose to scout for a player at any point in the season.
11.3 You are allowed one scouted player for every academy player you choose not to promote, up to maximum of 3. You can have any combination of academy and scout players, as long as it does not exceed 3, so if you promote two to the academy you can scout one, or promote one academy player and scout two, or 0 and 3 either way.

11.4 For a fee of £1 million per scout you email your scouting details to the Commissioner and your scouts will go and find you some promising talent. In other words, the commissioner uses a spreadsheet to randomly generate a scouted player for you.

11.5 You must provide the following criteria to find the type of player you desire:

* Senior player or Youth (x numbered) player (youths are much cheaper but need to be developed in the reserves before heading to the academy several seasons down the line).
* What position you want (either GK. DF. DM. MF. AM or FW).
* An age band (Under 17. 17-20). No players over 20 may be scouted as they will be too good too soon, they wouldn't require any development which defeats the object of scouting for hidden talent.

11.6 The scouting program randomly seeks a player within those parameters and generates his stats and his value in the PBeMFF world.
11.7 These are capped according to age. The highest rating available is 30-30.5 rated (very low end of 36 rated for a Keeper) and the likelihood or finding such a quality player is rare.
11.8 Once we email/PM you back the scout's findings, you will have the option of purchasing him.
11.9 The purpose of scouts is to find a player not known to all in the world and snap him up at less than market value. Therefore any price shown will automatically have about 30-35% removed from it and this is the price you pay for him.
11.10 You have 2 weeks to raise the cash if you do not already have it. Now all this is behind closed doors so if you need to sell players to raise cash then nobody will rob you blind as they know you would be desperate.
11.11 If you don’t wish to purchase him, his stats are made public and an auction will take place with managers free to bid.
11.12 You cannot bid on a player you declined.
11.13 Bidding will be on the forum only and the winner of the player will be the highest clear bid for 24 hours. Players will be sold with starting bids at 75% of their official value.

11.14 If you buy a youth scout, then he can replace any x numbered player of your choice, however, position wise this must be a like-for-like. So if your youth scout is a DF, you must replace a youth DF in your reserves.

11.15 You can sign any of the 3 players you scout - all of them, none, or some in between.

11.16 If not made clear elsewhere - the combined total of selected youths (Academy players) & scouts per season is 3 - a text file records this to ensure all managers are within the rules.

11.17 You may still sign others' rejected scouts via forum auction - they do not form part of your own allocation. Therefore, you can scout 3 of your own, and potentially buy another one that another team rejected.

12. Teamsheets

12.1 Teamsheets must be sent in by the deadline to
12.2 you will be given plenty of notice of the deadline along with several reminders
12.3 If I don’t receive your teamsheet by the deadline your team (seniors) will play using the default 442T tactic, which means you will be playing at 2/3 (66%) strength and therefore very liable to lose as your team effectively lost 1/3 of it's stats. Reserves are not penalised with T, instead N is used.
12.4 There are various tools on the PBEMFF Dropbox page, to enable you to complete your teamsheets correctly. I advise you to use the team sheet maker for your teamsheets, this will ensure there are no mistakes in them when you submit them to me. It is also worthwhile downloading the checker in order to check they are correct.

12.5 For any errors, the Commissioner will attempt to change the teamsheet manually in the first instance. Examples of this: 


A player is unavailable: I will pick someone not on the sheet to fill in the gap, so as not to mess up the rest of your plans.

Conditional error: if it's obvious what you tried to do, I will correct it, if not, I will remove the line.

General: sometimes spaces in the wrong places can disagree with the game engine, again, I will tidy it up.

Error formations: where formation is outside of tolerance, I will adjust to the most plausible alternative (i.e you have 3 DMs, I will make the best passer into an outright MF)

The Commissioner will advise you as to what your mistakes have been in the weekly errors file that comes out with the games.

12.6 Any more than 1 (one single) mistake and your team will play using the 442N tactic - regardless of how trivial.

12.6.2 No errors are allowed for reserves, as obviously there is really not very much on the line. So any one error will default your sheet to 442N

12.6.3 If you have the same error 3 times on the spin, that will also be a 442N as it shows you aren't reading the error file!

12.6.4 Assistant Manager sheets are also subject to the same 1+ error rule

12.7 The common mistakes are:
Spelling players' names incorrectly – a sure sign that you have attempted to make the teamsheet manually, the game won’t run if the names in your teamsheet don’t correspond with the names in your squad list.


Attempting to play players that are suspended or injured – again if you used the teamsheet maker, you would be unable to do this as it disables the players that are not available, therefore preventing you from picking them.

Also the abbreviations of players must be correct:

GK = Goalkeeper

DF = Defender

DM = Defensive Midfielder

MF = Midfielder (not MD)

AM = Attacking Midfielder

FW = Forward

12.8 There are minimum and maximum numbers you can play in each position:
Min_DF = 3 (4 for reserves)
Max_DF = 5
Max_DM = 2
Min_MF = 0
Max_MF = 6
Max_AM = 3
Min_FW = 0
Max_FW = 4 (3 for reserves)


Anything less than 4 defenders tends to leave your team vulnerable to giving away opportunities, and anything less than 3 is total suicide in ESMS, hence this position is quite regulated.

12.9 The game engine glitch. Where you start with the maximum number in any position (for example, 5 DFs or 4 FWs) and then sub off one of these players, switching someone else into that role, this will crash the engine. Whilst clearly not an attempt to abuse the constraints, it is a known flaw in the program.


For example you have 5 DFs on the pitch as well as a competent DM. You sub the defender for a MF but move the DM into the DF slot. This is technically still 5 DFs but the game engine seems unable to handle this and will crash. It can be cynically used to stop a game when you are losing.

Here is a real example of this: you play a back 5 with a DM, you're facing Sheffield United (well, who wouldn't be scared) and you quite fancy a point away from home. But disaster, the ref has sent off your best defender. Not to worry, that DM has a super tackling stat and can fill in nicely. Want to move him into defence? The game engine fails to realise you now only have 4 defenders (not 5) due to the red card, and it 'aint having it! So your (noble) attempt to pack the defence actually crashes the engine. This is why one must be careful when starting with max number of players (usually DF will be the issue).

It can happen accidentally but is widely known within the game.


12.9.1 In the first instance, this glitch will be reviewed by the commissioner. If the conditional is innocent (i.e. has nothing to do with your team being in a bad position) it will be removed and your original sheet allowed to stand for the re-run, but any further errors will cause the 442N rule to kick in, as normal. After all, it was clearly an accident, right? Why would you crash the game engine when you're in a decent position...

Any repeat offences in relation to 12.9.1 will receive 442N sheet in the first instance and a manager will be given plenty of warning about this by the commissioner including an explanation/advice if needed.


12.9.2 However, should the glitch come into effect due to a negative conditional (i.e. when your player is sent off or you are losing) this will be penalised with a 442N sheet, in the first instance, which is hardly the biggest punishment in the world, and the game is re-run.

12.9.3 The other, more obvious game engine glitch. If you have 2 contradicting conditionals, they can constantly override one another, causing the game to simply run with minimal activity and lots of mindless tactic swapping. It has been abused before when someone was 1-0 up.

12.9.4 As per the rules for 12.9.1 etc, this will be reviewed to see if it kicked in harmlessly (human error) or when it directly benefits you, and the results will be the same as above: remove the 2nd conditional, and re-run with rest of sheet if innocent, if it does benefit you it'll go straight to 442N re-run.

12.9.5 Any repeat offences in relation to 12.9.3 will receive 442N sheet in the first instance and a manager will be given plenty of warning about this by the commissioner including an explanation/advice if needed.

12.9.6 Regardless of how you get there, the Commissioner will be keeping a list of any such errors, as per the 2 major types above, and, any THREE issues of this sort during the season, for one manager, will result in default 442T sheets from then on, from and including the 3rd instance, and a manager will be given plenty of warning about this by the commissioner including an explanation/advice if needed. Basically, 2nd time will be your last strike and we all know what happens when "three strikes" rules kick in (there's a theme of 3 going on in the game, much easier for me to remember rules if the numbers are static)

12.10 Teams not having 16 eligible players in their first team will be fined £500,000 and a reserve player (over 21) promoted to fill the vacancies. Should no over 21 be available, an under 21 can be promoted but if it is a cup game, they won't get any rerates.
12.11 If no reserve player is available, or the team has already made their maximum 1 promotion for that week, then a made up player with the rating of 1 1 1 1 will fill the vacancy.
12.12 Managers not submitting team sheets consistently will be sacked. This is at the discretion of the commissioner but any 3 in a row will be a dismissal, and consistent missed sheets (i.e. 4/5, 6/8) will likely be the same. Managers will be emailed to warn that sheeting must improve, or they risk being fired by their club's board.


12.13 In the event you do not have time, I accept an email with a chosen formation and tactic. For example if you email me asking for 451P, I can generate this for you using the best players in each position using a program. Please note, DMs and AMs cannot work with this program, so if you asked for a 41212P or something else using a DM or AM, I will have to replace it with a 442P.
12.14 You could even contact another manager and get them to do one for you.

12.15 You can ask me to use the previous sheet, but any more than 1 error will still result in 442N just like it usually would.

12.16 I am very flexible and understand we've all got things to do, so a quick email along the lines of the above will spare you the dreaded 442T sheet and inevitable loss.


12.17. If you sheet AFTER the deadline even if by 1 minute, and I've already run the games, unlucky. If I haven't of course I will use the sheet. I will continue to allow managers to keep their sheeting bonus if I feel they have tried their best to sheet.
I will send 3 reminders for each set of games, I feel more may be excessive.

12.18 Assistant Manager Function. Struggle to sheet during midweek? Have periods where life gets in the way? Want to avoid that dreaded T sheet? Well now, for a one off annual fee of £10m, you can hire an assistant manager.

He knows you and your team. He knows the way you play. He lives and breathes the game. You can call upon him, even if he's tucked up asleep or relaxing in the Bahamas, you sweep him away at your beck and call, and that's why he's so expensive! For 10m, you can hire this world-class assistant manager, who will cover for you in the event you miss your sheet.


Please see details below of how this works in practical terms:
1. Pay your 10m fee (if you wish to hire an assistant manager in the middle of the season, the commissioner will advise of the cost)
2. Select your favoured formation and tactic - please note only DF, MF and FW can be used as the teamsheet maker doesn't handle DM's and AM's. Valid examples are 442P, 532C, 433A etc. Invalid examples are 41212P or 4213C. N is accepted, as is E.
3. Should you fail to sheet, your much beloved assistant can step in and play your favoured tactic and formation to avoid a T sheet and keep you on track!
4. In other words, the commissioner creates a teamsheet via the teamsheet maker program, using your strongest available players.

5. You may also submit a template sheet, your preferred sheet, which will be used in the first instance, but please note that errors count. If you use an Assistant sheet, the 2 errors rule still applies (i.e. 442N after 2nd error)

12.19 Sheeting bonuses - if you sheet 100% for the season, you receive a £10m bonus for all your hard work. Please note if you have an Assistant Manager in place and he has had to cover for a T sheet, this will prevent you being eligible for the bonus.


13. Finances

13.1 Your finances are updated after each round of games, to match up with any monies in (pools, articles, transfers) and out (transfers)

13.2 You cannot lose money apart from when you pay out for players in deals, or for scouting/admin fees. There are no wage costs or stadium maintenance costs to worry about in PBEMFF. We want to keep it simple.

13.3 At no time should clubs go overdrawn, if they do, they receive a 3pt deduction and they have ONE WEEK to fix it or a suitable player will be auctioned off to cover the debt, no matter how small. If the debt is not resolved (as per 6.3-6.6) within the week's notice, a suitable player is then sold at auction and another 3 points will be deducted to cover the 2nd week of debt.

13.4 In the off-season, the rule is relaxed, as finances can be recovered before the start of the season. If the balance is not recovered by a set deadline (usually a week before the new season begins) then as per 13.3, a 3pt deduction will be handed down. You will have a week to clear the total debt. If the debt is not resolved (as per 6.3-6.6) within the week's notice, a suitable player is then sold at auction and another 3 points will be deducted to cover the 2nd week of debt.

13.5 This will effectively be the game's equivalent of administration and you will have had a 6 point deduction.

13.6 Any further instances will be treated the same, with an initial 3 points removed, a week to fix the issue, and then another 3 points off and a player auctioned to cover the debt.

13.7 It is worth noting that after this auction has started, it MUST complete, so even if you then fix your debt, it's too late. The player will be sold. In the bizarre and unlikely event this does not cover your debt, you will have a week to sort this out again and the process repeats.

13.8 You can agree 2 deals within the same week (say, one buying and one selling a few days later) to prevent any debt. Say you had £10m, bought a player for £20m and then sold one for £15m, once that batch of deals is processed, you'd still be fine as have £5m net.

14. Caretakers


14.1 In the event a club is manager-less, a caretaker who already runs a team in the game, may be appointed.

14.2 His regular club must not be in the same league as the caretaker side for obvious reasons!

14.3 The caretaker may make youth promotions and scouts to help the side he is looking after.

14.4 The caretaker MUST use N tactic to ensure no bias in how he affects other clubs in the game.

14.5 However he may use ANY legal formation along with the N tactic to help run the club better in the event of injuries, etc.

14.6 The caretaker may also loan in and out for the benefit of the club.

14.7 The caretaker CANNOT bid in the main mid-season auction but CAN bid on forum auctions.

14.8 The caretaker must NOT make any permanent transfers nor loan any players with their main team in the game as this would be helping them.
14.9 Any players the caretaker sells, cannot then join the caretaker's own/main team for whole of that season (to prevent concerns around using 3rd parties to breach rule 14.8)

14.10 For example, Jake is the manager of Chelsea and has agreed to care-take Arsenal. Jake may NOT make transfers between the two clubs, nor can he do any loans. Jake can however make loans with other teams, as well as scout, etc.

14.11 Should a caretaker meet their regular club in a cup contest, care-taking duties will be replaced by a default 442N sheet for the manager-less side.

15. Donations

If you are feeling generous and appreciate the effort that goes into running the game for free for you guys, then by all means send something by way of appreciation. I’m not begging and I’m not going to start charging a fee for the game, it will definitely remain free to play, but if you want to donate anything to the running costs, by all means do, anything received will be greatly appreciated.

Any manager donating cash will have every pound donated turned into £1,000,000 on your balance and for every £5 donated you will receive 500 Ability points to distribute among your squad. There is no restriction on donation amount (other than a maximum amount of £40), though it makes sense to have a minimum of £5 so you can get the 500 ABs. For example, you may wish to donate £5, £10, £15, £20 etc...



Max of 500 ABs on to any one player (or 300ab max for under 18s).

Senior players - 29 rated for outfield players' main stats, 22 for any secondary, and 34 for Goalkeepers

Above applies to Academy players in their development season as well.

Youth players (x numbers) in the reserves - 19 rated for outfield players (all stats), 24 for Goalkeepers

If unsure please PM or e-mail before donating. All donations are non-refundable under ANY circumstances.

Use Paypal to help the cause. Please use the pay a friend option. Donation needs to be sent to paypal account

Please e-mail pbemff admin ( or PM on forum after donating so I can confirm your payment and add your cash/ab points. This will be done as soon as I can.

Further info - the current season's donation ABs remaining are listed at the bottom of the Finances document

16. Pre-season young prospect coaching

16.1 When a player is too skilled for the reserves, they then have a way to go until they are truly first team quality. The pre-season coaching is there to help them reach their best.

16.2 The concept is that they spend time with the team behind the scenes, getting specialist support, extra training, working with the experts and so on.

16.3 This is about helping promising players to reach the top - your best prospects get that extra bit of attention.

16.4 How this works is to benefit, there is a fee, as you are investing substantial resources in this player's development. You pay £10m (I know it's grossly inflated, but ABs should never be cheap!) and the player's mentoring and coaching will yield a 500ab benefit into their main stat.

16.5 This can only be used on ONE PLAYER per season, pre-season only.

16.6 Parameters - Skill level - between 29 and 31 rated or between 34 and 36 rated for a GK.

16.7 Inevitably, such an occasion will arise where any ABs take a player PAST those levels. This is not permitted. Anything that goes beyond 31 rated will have to be allocated onto the secondary stat. Since keepers don't have a secondary the ABs are permitted to be kept - developing keepers is especially hard.


17. Overseas Offers

17.1 To encourage more activity in the game and trim the fat from the squads, a new trial of overseas offers is coming in for season 47.

17.2 You send details of the player you're trying to sell to the commissioner, who generates you a price using their stats. There is a random element of luck, as different clubs would of course value players differently.

17.3 You then choose to accept or decline the offer. If no response in 2 weeks, it is assumed you have declined.

17.4 There is only 1 attempt per season at this and you incur a £1m agents' fee - I know right, the shameless greed, all those phone calls your agent makes, such hard work...

17.5 You can do this any time of season but can only request it ONCE. If you're not happy with the price then by all means, keep the player.

17.6 It is recommended to contact the commissioner by email/PM so other managers do not know you're trying to sell someone, as they could potentially use that to their advantage or get a heads up on your plans.

17.7 There are limits to what type of player you can offer overseas; this is not a retirement function, these are good, solid players that rival clubs from outside of PBeMFF are wanting to sign, after all. Saudi Pro League, anyone??

Minimum main stat to be eligible: 30

Maximum age: 30

Maximum rating: 36/39 (this is purely because the spreadsheet breaks if you put in anything higher)

Luck factors involved (percent of base price - lower number is therefore worse offer). After all, this overseas club is looking to get the best value possible:

80,80, 80 (cheeky offer)

90,90 (decent offer)

100 (great offer - full price)

18. Numbers and Limits Summary

Below is a list of all the caps and numbers in the game, for easy reference:

18.1 Reserve limits: 29 main stat (outfield), 34 (GK).

18.2 Donation limits - seniors - 29 (main), 22 (seconds), 34 (GK)

18.3 The above also apply to an academy player who is in his full development season where he gets his star rating.

18.4 Donation limits - youths (x) - 19 any outfield stat, 24 GK

18.5 Donation limits - max of 500ab onto any player; 300 for under 18s.

18.6 Keepers over 32 re-rate EOS - plus 300ab

18.7 Youth academy player CAP if rated too highly - 33/33.3 (outfield/FW), 38.3 (GK), see the relevant section for details on what happens to spare ABs in section 4

18.8 Retirements - max 3, only in pre-season.

18.9 Youth academy promotions - max 3, shared with scouts.

18.10 Scouts - max 3 shared with youth academy promotion.

18.11 Auction bids - max 3

18.12 Team moves - max 1 up and 1 down each league game week (done prior to league games)

18.13 Donation amounts - max £40.

18.14 Promotion/relegation - 3 teams up and down.

18.15 3 consecutive missed sheets with no contact will be a dismissal from the game.

18.16 General penalties for repeat offences kick in after 3 offences. Told you the number 3 came up a lot...

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