Manchester United has broken ranks with the highly popular simulation game Football Manager, in a decision that will see their name changed in the game’s database.
Football Manager players will no longer be able to manage ‘Manchester United’, following a settlement between the club and the games developer Sports Interactive.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) August 6, 2021
In a settlement that was reached between the club and the games’ publisher SEGA pertaining to an ongoing trademark dispute, Manchester United will be referred to as Manchester UFC (or Man UFC) from the game’s latest installment in the upcoming 2022 release and onwards, Sky Sports reports.
Both Manchester United and SEGA released a joint statement after the ruling;
“Manchester United and SEGA have agreed a settlement to amicably resolve their trademark dispute relating to Football Manager.
“Both parties are pleased to resolve this matter to their mutual satisfaction”
However, the ruling does not target the online gaming community at large that continues to develop user-made logo packs that are free to download and are shared across multiple sources in a bid to add and restore aesthetic realism to the game.
Serie A giants Juventus have themselves already gone through a similar process with Sega, and have been known in-game as “Zebre” since the game’s 2020 release, which continued in 2021 and onwards. The Italian club’s exclusive rights deal with developers Konami and their popular game Pro Evolution Soccer prohibits their name to be used in any other gaming title.
Despite the name change, this will have no bearing on the rights of Manchester United players in Football Manager.
What this ruling could mean moving forward is that more clubs could look to protect their intellectual and commercial properties in a similar fashion. EA Sports’ FIFA franchise has already been made to suffer similarly to SEGA when they were made to also remove Juventus from their title and change their name (as well as club crest) to Piemonte Calcio, in reference to Turin being located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.
Whether or not more clubs will take similar actions remains to be seen, but the possibility certainly exists.