The Football Manager Pre-Game Editor allows you to make all sorts of changes to the game’s database, from altering player attributes to giving clubs a boost in their finances.

You could choose to manage in one of the best leagues to manage in on FM22, but you could also create new teams, competitions and players altogether.

And we’re not talking about creating draft leagues here. This article will focus specifically on showing you how to create new leagues in Football Manager 2022 that exist within the real football pyramid.

Examples of new leagues you can create include adding more obscure divisions from less well-known countries, or extending a nation’s league structure beyond the game’s existing level of depth, in order to include its lower leagues. Or perhaps you’d like to create a hypothetical, alternative universe situation where the much-maligned European Super League was successfully introduced!

For this guide, we’re going to show you how to extend the lower leagues in England, in order to allow you to start at a smaller club than would usually be permitted within the game and make your road to glory save even longer and more satisfying!

Firstly, you will need to install the official pre-game editor for Football Manager 2022, which is available for free. To install it on Steam, go to your library and select ‘Tools’ from the drop-down menu on the left. The editor will be visible in the list, so just right click on it, select ‘install’ and then launch the programme.

Activating Existing Divisions

Once you’ve opened the editor, you’ll need to load database you want to edit. If you have no others installed, this will be the game’s default database. This database allows players to take charge of clubs in England as low as the sixth tier, the National League North/South.

Fortunately, the pre-game editor already has the seventh tier leagues included, they’re just inactivated so you’ll only need to activate them and set the promotion/relegation rules, then you’re good to go! In order to do this, first click on ‘Rules’, ‘Add Nation Rules’ and then select England from the ‘Current Nations’ menu.

For this guide, we want to ‘Add Lower divisions to an Existing Structure’, so select this option and click on ‘Finish’. In the menu on the left, then select ‘Divisions’, scroll down to find ‘English Regional Premier Divisions’ and select it.

You’ll note that for the ‘Type’, the ‘Inactive Division’ option is selected. We need to activate the division by changing this to ‘League’. Now, we need to set the automatic promotion/relegation rules to ensure the right number of teams move up into the sixth tier National League North/South and down into the eighth tier each season. For the ‘Number of Promotion Places’, you can select 3 (one from each of the 3 sub-divisions).

In order for relegation to happen, you will need to create an eighth tier though, even if you make it inactive. If you’d rather not do this, then leave ‘Number of Relegation Places’ at 0, and no relegation will take place. If you do intend to create an eighth tier, select 12 (4 from each of the 3 sub-divisions).

Within each of the sub-divisions, you can then set the number of promotion/relegation places in the same way, 1 promotion place and 4 relegation places for each sub-division.

Now we need to define the system for promotion via the playoffs. Select ‘Playoffs’ from the sidebar on the left, and tick the ‘Promotion Playoff’ box. Then select the number of teams that qualify for the playoffs (4) and the number that are promoted through the playoffs (1).

The teams are already setup in the database, so you’re now ready to play the game with the seventh tier included! If you want to add any further tiers to the pyramid, you’ll have to do a little extra editing in order to create the divisions/sub-divisions and add the teams, as they’re not included in the game’s initial database.

NB: The makeup of the English football pyramid is changing for the 22-23 season, where 8 teams will be promoted/relegated from 4 sub-divisions between tiers 6 and 7, so you may have to make some further adjustments if you want it to reflect real-life.

Adding New Divisions

In order to add an eighth tier (and any additional leagues), we need to first create the parent division for all the sub-divisions that make up this level of the English footballing pyramid. Within the ‘Database’, select ‘Competitions’, then click ‘Add’.

In the ‘Details’ section, you can give the league a name (full, short and abbreviated), i.e. Regional First Divisions, and decide on the league’s colour scheme. Now, select which nation the league exists in (England), and the continent option will autofill (if you were creating a continental competition, you would just select the continent and the nation would not be required).

At this point, you must select the league’s reputation. This should be lower than the lowest currently available league, in our case that’s the Regional Premier Divisions that we just activated, which have a reputation of 35 in the existing database. 

Next, tick the box for ‘Type’ and select the type of competition you want it to be, in our case that’s ‘Domestic Division’. Also tick ‘Competition Level’ and select where in the footballing pyramid you want the league to be. For the eighth tier we’re creating, we obviously want this to be 8! You can then select a number of different options for the pitch size, the makeup of the refereeing team or the use of a winter ball and VAR. These are up to you.

Now we need to create the sub-divisions that comprise the Regional First Divisions. You do this in exactly the same way, but when creating the sub-divisions, we need to include the ‘Parent Competition’ option and select the Regional First Division that we just created.

Now we have created the parent division and its sub-divisions, we can establish rest of their makeup and all the promotion/relegation rules in the same way as we did before, via the ‘Add Nation Rules’ option.

In addition to the options we chose before, we’ll also need to select the ‘Min/Max Number of Teams’ in each sub-division and the ‘Number of Rounds’, i.e. how many times teams play each other over the season.

The last step is to add the teams to the sub-divisions. To do this, select the sub-division and choose the ‘Teams’ option from the sidebar on the left. You can either add existing teams or create your own.

And there you have it! You can now play Football Manager right down to the eighth tier of the English football and challenge yourself to take a team of minnows on a journey up the leagues.

Other options for creating new competitions include domestic and continental cup competitions, where you would need to change ‘Type’ to the appropriate choice, or a continental league, but these are ideas that will have to wait for another article!

As for what to do next, why not create a team in FM22 to play in your new league?