8 KEY Differences Between Playable And View-Only Leagues (FM)

Setting up a new save on Football Manager is like building a brand new football world. That’s why you should never just rush through the setting up stage. Decisions you make there will affect how much you’ll enjoy that save in the long run.

After creating your manager profile and selecting a club to manage, you’ll be asked to choose specific leagues you want the game to load and can either set them as Playable, View Only, or Playable/View-only.

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Selecting the activeness of a league is one of the most important aspects of setting up a save. It’ll affect the type of regens the game produces, the quality of the simulation, the size of the database and the game speed. 

However, despite its importance, many players may not really understand it! Here, we’ll look into the major differences between playable and view-only leagues so that you can make more personal decisions when setting up a new save.

The Difference Between Playable and View-Only Leagues

Let’s look into the major differences between Playable and View-only leagues and how they affect a save in the long run. 

Team Management 

You can manage teams in playable leagues and run full simulations. With view-only leagues, you can only load these teams but can’t take up a managerial position there. When setting up a new save, the league of the team you choose to manage is automatically set as a Playable league, while you get to select the activeness of other leagues.


In Playable Leagues, the league’s complete player database is loaded. Every single player registered in the club actively participates in the game and can be transferred in and out. The game simulates realistic competitions in view-only leagues, but most players from these leagues will not be loaded.

Generally, players and teams in view-only leagues are loaded based on their reputation.

Youth and Reserve Teams

When you load a league as a playable league, the game loads the complete database for that league down to the U-18 team. For example, if you load the English leagues down to the Vanarama South/North as playable leagues, you can view active U18 and U21 leagues. The reserve and youth players in playable leagues actively participate in the saves and can also be transferred between youth teams. 

View-only leagues also have youth teams, but these players are simply there to fulfil league squad requirements and are greyed out. The game randomly generates them for the sole purpose of being fillers, and they hardly influence the gameplay.

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Player Development 

As I mentioned in the last point, the lack of activeness of youth players in View-only leagues heavily affects their development. One major factor that influences player development in Football Manager is game time, and youth players in view-only leagues lack this.

Playable leagues yield better youth players because, in most cases, players develop through the ranks, from the U-18 to the U-21 and then the senior team. Sometimes, they even get loans to lower leagues to build experience.

The activeness of Playable leagues results in better youth development.

Transfer Market

As you’d expect, view-only leagues transfer activity is significantly lower than playable leagues. Teams in view-only leagues hardly ever bid for players, and most players don’t go there unless they’re past their prime or can’t find success in the active leagues. Spending from view-only leagues is significantly lower and becomes less active as the save progresses. 

These pictures compare the headline tabs between the Playable English Premier League,

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and a View-Only Argentinine Premier League.

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In view-only leagues, the AI is mostly passive/inactive, and the simulation is simmered down greatly. You can still view the league standings, promoted/relegated teams, and teams that qualify for international competitions. However, the simulation is mainly based on reputation and lacks variation.

That’s why you are unable to watch highlights of games or view detailed players and team statistics. Only the basics, like goals, assists, and appearances, are available.

As the save progresses, you may notice that only the same teams qualify for international competitions and finish top 5. Also, the league positions hardly ever change and are not very realistic.

These view-only leagues lose relevance, and the deeper you go in the save. Their teams can’t keep up with the activeness of teams in the playable leagues in terms of transfer activity and youth development, and this results in weak performances in international and inter-continental competitions.


View-only leagues don’t add any new players to the database, so there are no regens or wonder kids to sign from there. As I have previously mentioned, the youth players in this league are mainly generated to complete squad requirements and are mostly greyed out.

This means that you can’t scout or sign them!

If you plan on signing regens from a particular country or league, do remember to set that league as a playable one!

Game Speed

Generally, the processing speed of a save is determined by the size of the loaded database and the processing power of your computer. Since they run more realistic simulations, Playable leagues have a greater impact on the game speed.

Running multiple playable leagues in different countries and continents will make the game more enjoyable but also slower. It’s advisable to set leagues you’ll likely manage and scout in as playable leagues and set other less important leagues as view-only.

While three stars are decent, this is the most ideal game speed:

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Here’s a summary of the comparison between these 2 types of leagues

Playable LeaguesView-only Leagues
Team Management Can manage teamsCan only view teams
Players Full Player DatabaseOnly High Reputation Players
Youth and Reserve TeamsAvailableUnavailable
Player Development YesSlow and 
Transfer ActivityVery ActiveFairly Active
RealismFull Simulation and High RealismLow Realism
Regens AvailableUnavailable
Game SpeedSlowFast

Ultimately, having multiple playable leagues increases realism, but it shouldn’t be prioritised over game speed. If you load all the leagues in the game and it takes several minutes to finish a day, you’ll get frustrated in the long run. 

If you’re managing an English team, it’ll be advisable to load the English leagues down to the Vanarama National League if you’re managing a low-level English club and the Sky Bet League two if you’re managing a team in the Championship or Premier League. 

Moreover, load the top divisions of the other major European leagues plus close-by leagues and at least two South American leagues because they consistently produce the best regens. If your computer can take it, load the Belgian League, Nigerian League, and one other South American League.

You can set leagues like the MLS and other leagues you don’t plan to manage or scout in as view-only.

Here is an example of a setup for an EPL team:

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How about ‘playable/view only below’?

When selecting the activeness of a league, there’s a less popular option called ‘playable/view-only. It’s a combination of the two, and with this option, you can manage the highest divisions in a particular country while the lowest divisions are view-only.

For example, if you set England as a playable/view-only league, you can manage teams in the EPL, Championship, and two lower leagues, while the three National Leagues will be view-only. This option is available in Football Manager 2023 and is nice for countries like England with a database of multiple divisions!

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