We planned for Brexit at Football Manager. So why did no one else? | Miles Jacobson

The politicians were caught flat-footed – but for a sports game developer it was a tap-in to do the permutations for the Premier League

At Sports Interactive we’ve been making football management games for more than 20 years. We aim for Football Manager to be not only the best simulation of its type, but to create a world to escape into. People play the game for a long time – on average 240 hours a year. That takes them far into the future of their parallel universe. Brexit is going to affect football. So we had to have it in the game.

Before the referendum, I made sure my business had a plan for all the possible outcomes. And, unlike our politicians, I was happy to go public with it. As part of this I started talking about how it could affect football. There had been a claim during the campaign that 200 players at top flight clubs in the UK wouldn’t get work permits under the current football system if we left the EU. I worked it out to be closer to 150, but it included the likes of France’s N’Golo Kante and Dimitri Payet, both of whom were among most people’s players of the year last season. It also included most of my beloved Watford’s squad.

Related: Martin Rowson on the government’s Brexit plans – cartoon

Why had a game developer seemingly put more preparation into this most important of decisions than our government?

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