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[Suggestion] Trial system revamp - lack of realism

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The trial system is broken within the game and needs a revamp! I have posted this within another topic so I will put it here as well in order to gain traction. The thing is - I believe that the current player trial system is very unrealistic and needs further tweaking in order to achieve the necessary level of realism and prevent cheating and exploits by human managers. My argumentation comes from the fact that I have been in contact with several professional clubs in my country through my work and was always interested in how they do certain things including trials. What I found out could not have been more different from its representation in the game - player trials.

Currently, player trials are used as a cost-effective way of quick "scouting", especially if a human manager is not allowed to send scouts abroad. By inviting players from abroad on trials, and especially young regens from South America or Africa, the player can quickly obtain an edge over the AI by having access to players which would normally be out of reach for those clubs. If some nations are not active with their leagues (e.g. Brazil or Nigeria) they will produce some 20 to 30 newgens each season and the vast majority of those players would me more than capable of playing for a vast number of clubs in Europe. It is not a problem when a talented Brazillian ends up in a Portuguese or Dutch club - it is a problem if a human manager consistently selects wonderkid-level players from trialists to a Bulgarian 2nd division or Iceland's top division club when in real life that club would not even be able to afford a plane ticket for that player for that trial and would be wary of gambling on signing a player without any scouting knowledge about him. Not to mention lower-league management in the UK with EU players where postmen, students and lawyers can quickly be replaced by foreign prospects after having 50 EU foreigners on trial happily spending their own money to train behind a bike-shed in rural England.

I believe it is highly unlikely to have 18-year-olds from Uganda on trial in the UK within 24h notice for a number of reasons.

Costs of trials

Travel, accommodation and visa procedures all incur costs. How can an average 18-year-old from Africa without a club afford a week-long trial in the UK, not to mention longer? It is a cost of at least 1000 GBP, something that would even put off some of the clubs willing to pay for players' costs. If the clubs do not pay for those costs, then the players' agents are the ones to do it or the players themselves - but only if the potential contract offer can justify the investment. There would hardly be an agent willing to fund a trial for a South American youngster going to a trial in the Slovakian 3rd division or English 6th division team offering him a side-job as a grocery store clerk. But if Juventus is calling him for a youth trial - that's another matter and well worth the investment.

Therefore, trials should be paid for either by clubs (and reflected in their finances, perhaps even rejected by boards in clubs scrapped for money) for players without agents who are based in far-away locations or by their agents who either have a high profile or a potential contract offer would be high enough for them to invest their money into a player. I have met many agents who simply do not want to take their non-European players on dozens of trials in Germany as it would be too expensive for them - they either ask for those clubs to pay for that or they do pay if the potential offer is good enough.

How can I get dozens of young Brazillian teenagers from favelas on trial if I am a semi-pro club from San Marino? Neither of us cannot afford that IRL. A Honduran player who had been playing US college football and is expecting to return to his home country and possibly find a club there would be far more available for a US/Canadian trial rather than for a trial in the suburbs of Katowice or Jakarta. If this were so easy - I am sure my local club would get 50 or so Africans and South Americans on trial and pick at least one who is good enough for their squad. I had asked them about that - the costs are the main problem even with the visa procedures taken care by the club.

You can see attached official correspondence between Zenit St Petersburg and FK Sarajevo (it was published in the media so no worries there) where the inviting club (Zenit) states that they will pay for flights, accommodation, meals and insurance. Since it is a 4-week trial it is definitely not a small amount, even if they have their own accommodation available.

Suggestion: Make trials incur travel and accommodation costs to the club if the player is based abroad and does not have an agent OR the potential contract value is too low to justify those costs (e.g. trial costs of 1000 GBP for inter-continental trials are unjustified for a player willing to sign a weekly contract of 100 GBP or an amateur/youth contract).

Documentation issues

When taking non-EU players on trial or when playing outside the EU, visa issues are something that should be taken into account. Even if the club pulls all the strings and pays for an urgent procedure, it is almost impossible to get a visa under 5 days. Now imagine getting a visa for places like the UK, USA or Saudi Arabia where the procedures are extremely strict. 

Suggestion: We can expect that all visa applications within the game itself will be granted but they should take time the same way you have to wait for work permits or transfer negotiations to go through their course therefore limiting human managers in bringing in loads and loads of trialists from abroad within the first few days in their new clubs. How to implement it? Researchers can very easily find out which nationalities need visas in order to visit their countries and add that to the database - obviously much easier within the EU/Schengen area.

Time and logistics

Travel and preparation take time as well - if not chartering a plane that only the top clubs would do for their SIGNINGS (e.g. Man Utd for Pogba or Cristiano Ronaldo - confirmed in Alex Ferguson's autobiography), it would take at least 48h from the moment you get a message: "Pack up your boots son and come to Nuneaton for a trial. We've heard that you're killing it in football on steppes of rural Mongolia." to actually getting where you're supposed to be.

Suggestion: Create a gap of at least 12 to 48 h from the moment a player accepts a trial offer for him to actually reach your club if he does not need a visa rather than him appearing instantly. This will simulate him gathering his things, catching a car/train/plane ride to you. The closer he is based, the less time it would take him to reach you and vice versa.

I hope that this will catch the attention of SI. If they need any more information about this or further help, I would be more than happy to provide it as an ex-researcher for FM and great enthusiast for the realism within the game.


Edited by Eborg

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Whilst I mostly agree with all of your post Eborg I was under the impression that some of that was already in FM.

I haven't used trialists in FM16 but my understanding was if you managed in the lower leagues in the UK you couldn't trial anyone from outside England.  I know there was a thread maybe last year discussing that it would be realistic for southern clubs to perhaps trial players from Northern France.

Maybe I got it wrong, maybe it changed, maybe its a bug but yes I agree that clubs should be limited when it comes to trialists.


I don't think the cost aspect is in FM and I think adding it would be a good way to limit the quantity brought in for trial, maybe with the board setting some sort of soft? limit and eventually refusing due to cost if you take too many in a short space of time.


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I have not managed in England so often so I do not know what limitations might be present there but it still seems highly illogical to limit trials to within a single country/home nation if the trip is not too far apart (New York to Los Angeles or Vladivostok to Moscow might be a problem for really small clubs). For example, some Scottish towns are much closer to towns from northern England rather than those from Southern England. It takes only £80 or so for a return ticket from Glasgow to Bristol so the financial or legal aspect should not be present there. Tradition is something else.

Also, there is one other thing that I consider as a bug that has to be fixed. When you bring in a foreign player on a trial (let's say a Nigerian to Poland), he will automatically be considered as "based in Poland" for the time being and will be approached by other Polish clubs despite that he was only training for your club and is still unknown to other clubs. I can understand that it can spark interest from journalists or scouts IRL as it has happened before but I find it highly unlikely that an unknown foreign player would almost always get 2 or 3 contract offers from other clubs while trialling for your club.

Nigerians who are on trial in Poland should become eligible for scouting for other Polish clubs but should NOT become automatically equal to out-of-contract Polish players in regards to interest from domestic clubs and attract so much interest.

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