Interactive Football League

1997-1998 Team 17

Platforms: PC, Mac and Amiga

A quick entry post for a football management game that was due for release by non other than Team 17 back around 1997/98 time – thanks to Niklas Lindholm for the heads up.

The game was to be released for PC, Mac and Amiga and was to be an an online/play by mail football management game, and was even beta tested by Niklas at the time. It was possibly one of the first online football management games that was developed alongside Soccer Nation that we recently covered.


It just seems to have completely disappeared though and its unsure if it evolved into something else. We’re hoping to get hold of someone from Team 17 to clarify exactly what happened. All that exists at the moment are remnants from the old website, which Wayback machine sadly didn’t capture images from. There are also some news items about the game, where we’ve managed to grab some screens. See below.

Amiga User International back in late 1995 gave the following segment of news:

“Team 17 have launched a new game for the Amiga called Interactive Football League. It’s a mix between Player Manager and fantasy football with a unique twist – you can sell players and bargain with other managers over the internet! There’s a £500 prize for the league champion at the end of each season.”

Amiga Computing also showed some screenshots and informed us that you either played via post with a floppy disk, direct by modem or over the internet. You would pay £20 a season for the online versions, with an extra £10 for playing by post. As well as a £500 prize, there would be £50 for cup winners. Manager of the month awards could also be won. The Amiga Computing (and PC Zone) screenshots also revealed that RW Software was working with Team 17 too.

CU Amiga had the following in June 1995:

Team 17 are set to become the first computer games publisher to branch out into the world wf on-line games with the launch of IFL (Interactive Football League) early this Summer.

“IFL will be the first of many on-line games from the company”, claimed PR manager Alan Bunker. Their first effort is a multi-player football management game, where the player has the opportunity to test their management skills to the limit. You can buy and sell players, determine tactics, enter into home and European cup competitions – even send secret messages to other managers.

Prize money is on offer for league and cup champions and manager of the month awards will be presented to those who really lead the way in the world of soccer management, Expect IFL to be launched on June 1st – you can phone Team 17 on 01924 267776 or email them for further details at:”

Then finally, FREEPLAY! gaming newsletter had the following to say back in December 1996:

Interactive Football League (Play By Email) (W,Mac,Amiga) (FRANK – Link sadly dead in Wayback Machine)

Interactive Football League (or IFL to it’s friends) is a new development from The Games Room, the multi-player games division of Team 17 and RW Software, one of the worlds leading play-by-mail companies. It’s a football management game, but it’s not like any other football management sim you may have come across. Instead of playing against a badly programmed computer controlled manager, IFL lets you play against other real people. Instead of playing for no reward, you could win big cash prizes…

What sets IFL apart from the rest is that you are in full control of all aspects of your team and make all the key decisions affecting its performance. The client software comes with a hassle-free graphics user-interface (take a peek at the screenshots) with plenty of help pages and tutorials to guide you along. Expert or beginner, you’ll find the game both challenging and fun to play. You can either play over the Internet, or by disk.

Launch: Early 1997

Some meat overall about the game itself, and an interesting prize incentive. It almost sounds as if the game was launched in some form? Maybe it never exited beta testing?

Thanks to Rygar, who pulled out some links (see comments), Team 17’s old webpage had some details and screenshots (see gallery). Here are those details:

So what is this IFL thing then?

IFL is a game from RW Software (one of the world’s leading play-by-mail companies) and The Games Room (a new division of Team 17). It’s a football management game with a difference. Instead of playing against a load of computer controlled players, you can play against real people, with all the possibilities that entails. You can control every aspect of your team, including training, aggression, set moves and all that. You set up your team, decide how they are going to behave, buy and sell new players, send messages to other managers and the like.

Cool. So how does it work then?

When you sign up for the game we send you a program which allows you to set up your team and how much you will spend on your players from the initial pool of money assigned to you. This means that you can set up a team with certain strengths: they can be defensive or attacking, or you can spend a lot of money on a star striker. You save this out and send it to us. We then assign you a team where the skill levels are based upon the money you spent and the league begins from there. For every game you can change how your team will play as well as buying or selling players. There is also a financial aspect to the game; if your team are playing well, more people will come to see them play, giving you more money to spend on players. You can even send out your scouts to check on players you are thinking of buying or to watch a team you are about to play.

So how do I send my choices to you?

You can send the data to us by any one of two means: on a disk, or over the Internet. Different versions of the program are available for all three methods of transmission. For the disk version, the program saves the data out to disk and you send this to us in a pre-paid envelope. We then process this data, save out the results and send the disk back to you. The Internet versions work in a broadly similar way, although you don’t need any stamps. We receive this file (along with the files from the other players), process them all, save out the results and you then connect to us and receive the new file containing your data.

So it’s a bit like the Football league then?

Yup. Every team gets to play every other team in their division twice and the points are assigned in the same way as real football. There is also a knockout cup competition, where you play another team and the winner goes through to the next round. Both of these are included in the price and are played at the same time. There are 12 teams in each division and 6 divisions in a league. Finally, there are 10 leagues in each conference.

What’s in it for me at the end?

The satisfaction of winning or of putting in a good performance. Oh, all right then. You could win a prize. The winner of the conference gets a rather nice prize of £500 and there’s also a £50 prize for the winner of the cup. We also have monthly prizes for the Manager of the month, which is judged on a number of criteria, including your team’s performance and the number of points gained in any one month. However, remember that negative things such as yellow and red cards shown to your players will count against you, so be careful how aggressively you get your players to play!

Hey, this sounds rather groovy. How long can I play for?

Each season is 22 games long. For the Internet version, a game is played once a week. For instance, if the games were played on a Thursday you would make your choices and send the file up to us at any point up until 9am on Thursday and pick up the results file at any time from 9pm on Thursday. For the disk version, the turnaround is 10 days, but please bear in mind that we can’t be held responsible for the vagaries of the postal service, so please allow at least 3 days for your disks to arrive. We can’t be held responsible for disks arriving late because of errors or mistakes by the post office. This gives a season of 5 and a half months for the Internet version, and eight months for the disk version.

What happens if I miss a turn because I’m on holiday?

No need to panic. If you miss a turn for any reason, your team will play their scheduled game using the instructions you issued the turn before, so you shouldn’t loose any sleep over missing a game or two.

So what sort of machine do I need to play? How does the Internet version work?

Versions of the software for IFL are available for IBM PC Compatiables (With Windows 3.11 or above), Apple Macintosh and Amiga. For the Internet versions, you will need a full Internet account (terminal accounts such as those offered with CiX are not suitable), and Internet software which is Windows Sockets compliant (such as Trumpet Winsock).To send your data to us all you need to do is set up the connection (by dialling your service provider or whatever) and kick off the IFL software. Simply selecting the appropriate option from the menu will then connect you to us and transfer the data. Dead simple, really. Please note that we can’t set up your Internet software for you.

So what’s the bottom line? How much does it cost?

Each season costs £20 for the modem or Internet versions and £30 for the disk based version, which covers postage both ways. It’s a small price to pay for five months of heavy duty footballing fun….

Do you have a question about IFL? Then send it to OLD EMAIL REMOVED.

Euro Manager link up?

What is interesting is that Team 17 also had a separate game called Euro Manager in development for PC and Mac, developed by Roger Womack – containing statistics of 12,000 footballers and 400 teams. This was a separate development to IFL, but the plan was to link up with IFL via the Team 17 website according to

Do you know anything more about the game?

With thanks to Niklas Lindholm for flagging up the title, Rygar for the waybackmachine links and for saving the screenshots and Team 17 details of the game.


6 Responses to Interactive Football League

  1. I’d also like to add that the beta I tried was not play by email but rather “play by weekly data batch”. You’d download that week’s dealings then do your thing and re-upload. Now this is all 20+ years ago so I could remember this wrong or I could be mixing games up since I beta tested a few of these back then (like “play as manager” by anco and manager one I think) but they way I remember it ending was the developer sent a few questions about about the beta including “how much would you pay to play” and I suspect they didn’t get the answers they wanted because it was as far as I remember never heard of again, until now.

  2. Great dig Frank! That Euro Manager game sounds interesting, I haven’t heard of it… I wonder what became of it!

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