“Realistic” Rules Summary

This is an updated article of the heavily detailed realistic rules guide I created at the beginning of the blogs inception. The summary provides a quick access list of the rules. The detailed version explains a lot of the rationale behind the rules and lists any updates and changes that have been made to the rules since they were first posted. To see the detailed version click below:

In this article I’m hoping to summarise the rules to be able to more easily provide a reference for career modes for those that have understood the rules and just need a guide (or for those that simply don’t want to read so much – I don’t blame you). For credits please see that article where I reference Transfermrkt.com and a couple of Reddit posts. With that being said let’s begin the summary before even this gets too lengthy!

Part One: Purchasing Players

  • Keep it Realistic – every signing needs a “story” that would make sense
  • Purchasing Players in the Summer Window:
    • Two signings allowed for the Starting XI
    • Two signings allowed for the bench
    • Three signings allowed for the reserves
    • A maximum of three of all these can be loans
    • If you sell two starting XI players you may buy an extra player for the XI or bench
    • A maximum of two of all the purchases can be between 16-21 years old
  • Purchasing Players in the Winter Window:
    • One signing allowed for the Starting XI
    • One signing allowed for the bench
    • Two signings allowed for the reserves
    • A maximum of one of all these can be loans
    • If you sell two starting XI players you may buy an extra player for the XI or bench
    • A maximum of one of all the purchases can be between 16-21 years old
    • Maximum of two pre-contract signings between the ages of 24-29, these count towards next Summer’s transfer limits
    • Unlimited number of pre-contract signings 30+ years old, these count towards next Summer’s transfer limits
  • General Rules on Purchasing Players:
    • Scout players completely before signing them
    • Signings may not come from a league higher than your club – unless they can be considered deadwood or would be loaned to you
    • No signings from teams in the Champions League – unless:
      • Your club is also in the CL
      • The selling club is not in the top 5 leagues
      • The player would be considered deadwood
      • You may even buy a regular starting XI player from a CL side if you the champion of a top 5 league
    • Work out your team average – Sum of your Starting XI overalls divided by 11.
    • Use table to calculate position averages: – take the team average and plus or minus the area difference value to work out your position average
AreaPositionsAverage PotentialArea Difference
GKGK931
Central DefenceCB920
Wide DefenceRB/LB/RWB/LWB90-2
Central MidfieldCDM/CM/CAM920
Wide MidfieldRM/LM/RW/LW920
OffenceST/CF942
 Average92 
  • Team Average PLUS/MINUS Area Difference EQUALS Base Average – Base average being the average player rating for each of your positions.
  • You are not allowed to purchase players who are 3 or more overall points higher than their position’s base average
  • Only allowed to purchase one player who’s greater than their base average per window
  • The exception is for older players. For every year over the age of 30 you are given an additional one overall point allowance. E.g. 31 year olds can be 3 overall points higher than base average, 35 year olds can be 8 overall points higher than base average – this does not apply to keepers
  • You cannot approach players that have been at their clubs for 7 or more years unless they are either unhappy, rumoured in the media to be unhappy or not within 5 points of their team average.
  • When buying a player <30 years old from a team in the same league as you, you must add an additional 10% of the player’s original value on top.
  • Buying players between 16-24 – Developing/Players with potential:
    • Rated higher than their base average offer x2 original value
    • Rated the same as their base average offer x1.75 original value
    • Rated lower than their base average offer x1.5 original value
  • Buying players between 25-29 – Prime/Peak
    • Rated higher than their base average offer x1.4 original value
    • Rated the same as their base average offer x1.3 original value
    • Rated lower than their base average offer x1.1 original value
  • Buying players aged 30+ – Past their Prime/On the decline – they may be signed for any fee agreed upon.
  • When doing player swap deals make sure that they are realistic and the value of the player you’re offering (plus any cash) matches the value of the multipliers mentioned above.

Part Two: Weekly Wages/Contracts

  • At the start of every season establish a wage cap 20% higher than your highest paid player
  • New contracts must be 0.25% of the player value as a minimum – if you have recently purchased the player then the player value is the price you paid for them. If they suggest they want more than this then use their current salary to negotiate with
  • Release clauses left to your personal discretion – I typically avoid using them, if a player wants one then I will try to bring it to at least five times the player value at point of contract negotiation for a five year deal. Four times for a four year deal etc.

Part Three: Youth Academies

  • If your club is in the CL a maximum of 8 stars is allowed per scout – e.g. 4*4* or 5*3*
  • If your club is in the top tier of its country but not the CL a maximum of 6 stars is allowed per scout – you must also only scout players from the same continent as yours
  • If your club is in the lower leagues of its country a maximum of 4 stars is allowed per scout – you are only allowed to scout domestically and neighbouring countries
  • Your first scout must be sent to your home country and always be settled there
  • Your second scout must be sent to a neighbouring country
  • Your third scout can be sent where-ever the rules allow your club to send them to
  • Before promoting a YA player save the game. When promoted if they have any low work rates or 1 star skill moves or weak foot you must reload the save and release them from the YA
  • A full YA must be formed as soon as possible. This means one player in every position of your first team’s formation and then one backup Wide defender, Central Defender, Wide Midfielder, Central Midfielder, and Centre Forward/Striker.
  • To sign players once you have the full 16 size academy you must wait until you know their position and then release one of their counterparts in your academy
  • You can promote as many YA players as you like per season, however they must stay with the club for at least 12 months after being promoted before being able to be released/sold
    • Their first contracts can be on what the player requests as a contract (weekly wage wise)
    • Once you go to give them a renewed contract then the 0.25% rule applies

Part Four: Selling Players to Other Clubs

  • You cannot sell players within 12 months of signing them
  • Every season you are assigned a local rival or league rivals, you are not to deal with them directly
  • You can’t sell club legends or long-time players (7+ years at the club) provided they meet the following criteria:
    • They are within 5 points of their base average
    • They aren’t asking to leave
  • During a window you will receive what we will call “Qualifying Offers” that meet the rules outlined below. However, you are allowed to reject ONE qualifying offer per transfer window, no matter the offer
  • Qualifying Offers:
    • Clubs that are smaller than yours do not qualify (use discretion)
    • If you receive an offer from a club that is better or at the same level as yours you must accept or counter offer
    • Reserve Players must be sold if the offer is 40% higher than their value. Unless they are 21 or younger and deemed a part of the club’s future (be honest and look a few seasons ahead at what your future Starting XI & bench might look like), then you counter offer 2.5x their value and must sell if that is reached
    • Bench Players must be sold if the offer is 75% higher than their value. Unless they are 23 or younger and deemed a part of the club’s future, then you counter offer 2.75x their value and must sell if that is reached
    • Starting XI Players must be sold if the offer is 2x their value. Unless they are 23 or younger and deemed a part of the club’s future, then you counter offer 3x their value and must sell if that is reached
    • If you’ve already sold a starter this window and the player is 24+ then you can counter offer with an additional 15% of their original value
    • If the club making the offer is in the same league as you then you may increase the price by 15% of the original value.
  • You are only allowed to sell 3 players from your XVIII man squad in the Summer Window, and only 1 in the Winter window – unless anyone requests to be sold after the cap is reached
  • If a player requests to leave you must let him leave – You are allowed to counter offer with what your advisor recommends or 10% above his valuation if there’s no suggestion
  • If a club pays the release clause for a player you can’t renegotiate a contract and must accept the sale – Unless the player is a club legend or long term player, then you may renegotiate

Part Five: General Rules

  • Disable first transfer window
  • At least 6 players in your 18 man squad must be of the same nationality as the league you are in
  • If your team is in the CL, no starting XI players can play domestic cup games before the quarter finals – Unless there’s fatigue/injury issues preventing this
  • Don’t use weekly training, natural development is high enough with dynamic potential too – Unless the player is 21 or younger, has stamina rated lower than 70, and is either 60+ OVR, OR is showing great potential or better. There is one bronze training session “Keep Up The Pace” that trains stamina that is allowed until the player no longer meets the criteria
  • If a player has “Excellent” form (arrow pointing directly upwards) he must start the next game provided the usual starting XI player isn’t also in Excellent form
  • Give players appropriate kit numbers after signing them – (check Transfermrkt for kit number history or use a system)
  • With regards to unrealistic A.I. transfers – I don’t condone too much save loading, however I know of players that will re-load career modes if a crazy transfer does happen which could protect you against that aspect too (this would require an objective rationale rather than a bias of not wanting your rivals to sign a great player).
  • Keep the culture of the club alive (optional) – This is entirely optional and is more of a challenge than a rule. Most managers have their own preferred formation and will try to mould teams to suit. In your career modes I’m asking if you have what it takes to mould your play to the team? Don’t amend their formations and don’t amend their tactics (you can amend instructions as this isn’t so much cultural and is more based on the players – I typically just switch all of these to default).
  • Play players in their preferred positions (optional) – This is an optional rule that doesn’t necessarily add to the realism as players can in real life be retrained and try other positions out. However, in my career modes I only play players in positions they prefer and ideally their primary preferred position. This adds further to keeping the culture of the club alive as you now have to get used to different positions and therefore different players. Note that WB’s are included in the FB positions and that if someone can play wide midfield I assume they can play as a winger and vice versa. The CF position usually has a secondary position of CAM or ST which indicates their preference, if not then they’re interchangeable.

Summary complete. Hope you find this useful and a better tool to refer to than the previous rules article.

The Reddit posts that were particularly useful:
The original post for FIFA 18 by user: Daggyy
https://www.reddit.com/r/FifaCareers/comments/732pwk/realistic_career_mode_rules_for_this_year/

An updated post by user: buzzballs (who references Daggyy in his post)
https://www.reddit.com/r/FifaCareers/comments/ebtezl/realistic_fifa_career_mode_rules/

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