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Sports Interactive reveals the first vital statistics for its highly-anticipated football management simulation

Graeme Souness may have taken his place in the dugout at St. James' Park, but Sir Bobby Robson shouldn't worry, as he'll soon be able to choose his next management position from thousands of club and international vacancies - 2,351 to be precise, as that's the number of teams which will be available to players of Football Manager 2005 (FM 2005), the eagerly-awaited football management simulation from Sports Interactive.

Due for release later this year, FM 2005 will feature teams from 158 divisions in 51 countries. With the inclusion of reserve and youth teams, the number of league teams available to players of the game exceeds 5,000, while the international teams (with the senior squads augmented by their under-19, under-21 and under-23 counterparts) brings the total to 5,300.

"Our games have always been known for their attention to detail, but FM 2005 goes beyond anything that we've achieved before," says Miles Jacobson, Managing Director of Sports Interactive. "For example, where our previous games included teams from the Football Conference, we have now added the Northern and Southern divisions, increasing the depth of our football universe."

FM 2005's scope easily exceeds that of Sports Interactive's previous most comprehensive football management game, which showcased teams from 42 nations. FM 2005 includes leagues from a number of countries which have not featured in Sports Interactive's previous titles, including Belarus, Bulgaria, Chile, Iceland, Malaysia, Peru, Romania, Slovenia and Uruguay.

Football Manager 2005 is the new football management simulation from Sports Interactive, the creator of the Championship Manager® series (which has sold more than 5,00,000 copies worldwide), since the expiry of its long-term agreement with the software publisher Eidos in September 2003. Sports Interactive signed a five-year publishing deal with the international game-publishing giant SEGA in February of this year and recently released its first non-football title, NHLTM Eastside Hockey Manager, under that agreement.

FM 2005 Statistics Snapshot

Playable countries - 51

Playable first-team divisions - 158

Playable first teams - 2,351

Playable reserve-team divisions - 70

Playable reserve teams - 1,000

Youth-team divisions - 117

Youth teams - 1,651

Total league divisions - 345

Total league teams - 5,002

Maximum number of playable international teams - 94

Levels of international team (First, Under-21, Under-19) - 3

Under-23 teams (Olympics) - 16

Total of playable international teams - 298

Total number of playable teams - 5,300

Football Manager 2005 will be published by SEGA in the final quarter of 2004. Further information is available online at the both the official FM 2005 and Sports Interactive websites (www.footballmanager.net and www.sigames.com).

About Sports Interactive

Sports Interactive (SI), the creator of the Championship Manager® series, is the world's leading developer of sports management simulations. Founded in 1994 and based in Islington, North London, SI has a full-time staff of 34 and employs the services of more than 2,500 part-time researchers across the globe. Five of SI's creations are among the UK's Top 20 best-selling PC games of all time. The company's future games will be published by the global computer and video games giant, SEGA. Further information on the company is available from its website, www.sigames.com.

SEGA® is a registered trademark of SEGA Corporation. Football Manager and Sports Interactive are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sports Interactive in the UK or other countries. Championship Manager® is a registered trade mark of Eidos Interactive. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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