Gordon Taylor has revealed playing less than 45 minutes per half has been proposed ahead of the return of football in England.

There has been no professional football in England since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and players' union boss Taylor does not envisage a return until at least the middle of June.

The Premier League launched 'Project Restart' in a bid to conclude the 2019/20 campaign, with games potentially played at neutral venues in England or even overseas.

World governing body FIFA has proposed increasing the number of substitutions in an attempt to ease players' workload, with the prospect of a hectic schedule to come if the action gets under way again.

Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Taylor says reducing the duration of matches has also been discussed.

He told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "We don't know the future, what we do know is what propositions have been put, what ideas have been put, the possibility of having more substitutes, games possibly not being the full 45 minutes each way.

"We've talked of neutral stadiums, there's lots of things been put forward, try and wait and see what the proposals are and then have the courtesy to let the managers and coaches and players come to a considered view."

Taylor believes it would be unrealistic to expect games to take place before the middle of next month.

He added: "I wouldn't expect games to be played, if everything was positive and promising, you wouldn't be thinking of matches being played until around about the middle of June."

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero said players are "scared" to return and Taylor stated it is their choice over whether they take to the field.

The long-serving PFA boss said: "Sergio is a top-class player and is entitled to his opinion of course.

"It's not a question of being scared, it's a question of being fully informed and for the relevant authorities to try and make sure it's as safe as it possibly can be to return, and to pick out any particular statements or choose any parts of that process is not really fair until we've looked at the whole menu."

Taylor added: "They are professional sportsmen and professional sportswomen and of course they are concerned about their own safety, they are not stupid and neither are they naive, so they have to be satisfied that it is safe to return and it is their choice."

Hopes are fading that spectators will be allowed into English football grounds before 2021 after a revelation from former Premier League club Bradford City.

Now in League Two, Bradford said they had suspended 2020-21 season-ticket sales after being told of an "ever-growing possibility" of having to play behind-closed-doors games until next year.

Bradford, who were last in the English top flight in 2001, said it was "highly likely" next season would at least begin with games played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The West Yorkshire club's decision followed their involvement in a conference call with the English Football League (EFL) on Thursday.

Bradford said in a statement: "'City For All' 2020-21 season-ticket sales have today been suspended.

"The decision has been taken as the club continues to await further information regarding a conclusion to the current campaign, with the start date for next season yet to be confirmed.

"This comes following a meeting yesterday held between the EFL and the Bantams' League Two colleagues.

"City officials have recently been informed of the ever-growing possibility of supporters being unable to attend matches until 2021.

"And it is now highly likely that next season will commence behind closed doors."

The 2019-20 season stalled in March with the arrival and spread in England of COVID-19, and reports have claimed the EFL campaign could be abandoned because of the amount of testing that would need to be conducted just to allow closed-doors games to be played.

It remains to be seen whether the Premier League and EFL have joined-up thinking on matters such as playing games without supporters next season.

Although the Premier League has huge broadcast deals, which it is eager to preserve, clubs lower down the pyramid are facing a harsh reality of losing vital matchday income, amid fears many could be forced out of business.

The EFL has pledged to have rigorous coronavirus testing in place before its leagues resume in England, and insisted the return of football must not negatively affect key workers.

Reports on Saturday suggested Premier League football may return within weeks with matches taking place behind closed doors.

The UK government is said to have begun looking at proposals for the resumption of live sport as part of a bid to boost morale during lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The EFL said its own position regarding the return of action in the Championship, League One and League Two remains unchanged and that football will only resume when it is safe to do so.

An EFL statement read: "The position of the EFL remains unchanged in that the priority is to resume the 2019-20 season as soon as it is possible with matches only returning at an appropriate point and based on guidance from the relevant authorities. The health and well-being of the nation has to come first.

"Clearly, before any return to football can take place, suitable testing arrangements for participants must be in place and this is core to our current planning, as is ensuring there is absolutely no negative impact on the country’s front-line workers, the emergency services, league and club staff members.

"The EFL's medical advisor is working with a select group of medical professionals and sports scientists to ensure their collective expertise is utilised to address these issues. This group will consider the latest medical information and evidence from both in the UK and abroad, particularly around the viability and accessibility of the various COVID-19 tests that are currently available."

The EFL has been suspended since March 13 and the body's chairman Rick Parry said last week matches will likely take place behind closed doors with the intention to finish the 2019-20 season when it is deemed safe to do so.

Saturday's EFL statement added football can only resume successfully with a "collaborative approach with all stakeholders, including the Premier League and Football Association".

The scheduling of fixtures, promotion, relegation and the opening and closing of transfer windows are among issues the EFL said remain under discussion.

Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and David Beckham. The names are synonymous with Manchester United but the iconic 'Class of 92' sextet are behind the rise of League Two outfit Salford City.

All eyes have been on previously unheralded Salford since the former United stars completed a takeover in 2014, with the help of businessman and Valencia owner Peter Lim, who is the largest single shareholder at 40 per cent. Beckham became a co-owner alongside the Neville brothers, Scholes, Giggs and Butt last year.

It has been a rapid rise for Salford - four promotions in five seasons seeing the club go from the Northern Premier League Division One North to the fourth tier of English football for the first time in the history of the 80-year-old team.

Salford are now a full-time operation, far removed from the part-time outfit purchased by the 'Class of 92' six years ago, but there is no intention of slowing down. Reaching the Championship by 2029 was the initial target, with Premier League promotion and a fairy-tale date with United the ultimate dream for the group of former Red Devils, who won the treble at Old Trafford during their illustrious careers in Manchester.

Cameron Burgess swapped Scunthorpe United for Salford on loan at the start of the 2019-20 season and the former Australia youth international, who reunited with Graham Alexander at Moor Lane, told Stats Perform: "You hear about how the club is run and the first thing you hear is ambition, success. That's what it is all about. It's not so much that we have the resources and we're this and we're that, it's just success and that's what we want and you need to help us achieve that."

"Some people expect our owners down there, almost on the training pitch everyday sort of thing," he added. "It's not like that. It's the same as every other owner, they're very hands-on with things they need to deal with. But we have a manager and assistant manager who've played in the Premier League, it's not like they don't know what they're doing. Everyone does their own jobs, it's like not David Beckham is down on the pitch taking free-kicks. They're as hands-on as they need to be from an off-field perspective."

It is an ambitious and exciting project in Salford, where the Ammies were the subject of a popular documentary, detailing their rise to prominence in 2015. And expectations are high.

"You don't have to be told [about expectations]. It's there, you can see it," Burgess said. "Previous promotions, plastered on the walls. It's all there for everyone to see. You definitely feel that pressure but it's pressure in a good way. It's everyone moving in the right direction and making sure we're successful. It's that pressure to meet expectations but in a good way… it's what you want and what you play for to be able to succeed. You feel that as soon as you walk through the door."

Salford are a club close to the hearts of the 'Class of 92'. Scholes was born in the town, Giggs was raised in nearby Swinton, while the Neville brothers grew up in neighbouring Bury.

The co-owners have overseen improvements on and off the pitch, transforming Moor Lane into a 5,100-capacity arena with four new stands, modern seating, executive boxes and corporate hospitality. But the investment has not been without criticism.

Some supporters were frustrated when the team's badge and colours were changed from tangerine and black to red and white. Salford have also been previously dubbed the non-League Manchester City for their spending. Gary Neville was embroiled in a public spat with Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt in 2018 after being accused of "trying to steal" a Football League spot by signing Adam Rooney from Aberdeen.

"It's funny because obviously the people who criticise and say these things don't always know the full story and they don't know the reason behind things. It's all about the success. People on the pitch inside football, they probably know that a bit more, it's not that same vibe," Burgess said.

"We're sort of everyone's derby because they want to beat us and impress to show they can be the ones in our shirts. That's how it'll always be. The spotlight will always be on you, but you have to thrive on."

Salford were 10th in League Two and eight points outside the play-off positions when the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, vying for a fifth promotion in six years.

"It's definitely strange because we've never been in this situation before. It's like an off-season. We've been told and we're pretty confident the season will restart, so we're staying fit and keeping healthy," said Burgess, who is representing Salford in the EFL Football Manager Cup.

"At Salford, it's been pretty much business as usual. They've been great in taking away the outside noise and making sure we're just focusing on what we have to do. We've been working hard as a team on Zoom et cetera. It's keeping fit and healthy as best we can. It's been pretty enjoyable."

It has been a challenging and unusual situation for Burgess and Salford, with the squad training individually amid the COVID-19 crisis, but the former Fulham defender added: "It's been pretty interesting, especially for me. I'm one of those that if you get me out on the grass, everything flows. The competitive edge takes over, it's another world. Whereas when you're by yourself, you just have to be on it.

"We have these little Zoom sessions and challenges, but it's interesting to hear what's important. You learn a bit more because you have to know what you're doing and what makes a difference. When you're on the pitch, it doesn't really matter why you're doing it, you're just doing it cause it's going to win or get an advantage. We're doing movements on the grass you don't realise you're doing, whereas when you're by yourself, you have to keep on top of those things."

EFL chairman Rick Parry is unsure when football will return but revealed Championship, League One and League Two games are likely to be played behind closed doors when it does.

English football, like most sport around the world, is on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the United Kingdom extended lockdown measures for a further three weeks, dealing a blow to any faint hopes of an imminent resumption of the season.

In an open letter to fans, Parry indicated supporters are unlikely to be permitted to attend games whenever they are able to take place again.

"To give you an honest assessment of the current situation; the point at which you will be able to attend games again remains unclear," Parry wrote in an open letter to supporters. 

"Please be assured, however, that we are going to welcome you back to stadiums as soon as it is safe to do so. Your contribution to the matchday experience and atmospheres created in stadia up and down the country is something we should never take for granted.

"Unfortunately, I cannot tell you today when football will resume, though whenever we do return, matches are likely to be played without crowds.

"And whilst we are unfortunately without the presence of the hundreds of thousands of supporters who pass through EFL turnstiles each week, we will endeavour to bring live football direct into your homes once it returns.

"Plans are continuing to be worked up for all games to be broadcast either via our broadcast partners, iFollow or equivalent club streaming services. We will update you on this once we know when matches will recommence."

 

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) claims "essential public services" would lose important revenue if players take the 30 per cent pay cut proposed by Premier League clubs.

Highly-paid stars have come under increasing public pressure to commit to a wage reduction after the coronavirus pandemic brought England's top flight to a halt until at least May.

Liverpool on Saturday joined Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth in placing a number of non-playing staff on furlough. The scheme sees the United Kingdom government cover 80 per cent of an individual's wages up to the value of £2,500.

Health secretary Matt Hancock called on footballers to "play their part" and Premier League clubs agreed at a meeting on Friday to approach them over a pay cut.

No agreement was reached with the PFA, which suggested it was not the right approach, mooting that services such as the National Health Service (NHS) could suffer a financial blow.

However, the players' union stated a "substantial contribution" will be made once talks have been concluded.

The PFA's statement read: "The players are mindful that as PAYE [pay as you earn] employees, the combined tax on their salaries is a significant contribution to funding essential public services - which are especially critical at this time.

"Taking a 30 per cent salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.

"The proposed 30 per cent salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to the government.

"What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for the NHS? Was this considered in the Premier League proposal and did the health secretary, Matt Hancock, factor this in when asking players to take a salary cut?

"We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.

"It is our priority to finalise the precise details of our commitment as soon as possible. However, to achieve a collective position for all Premier League players - of which there are many different financial and contractual circumstances from club-to-club - will take a bit more time. 

"The PFA Charity has also agreed to make a substantial contribution to a player-led initiative once the details are finalised.

"There should be no doubting the players and captains are committed to achieving this as soon as possible. They recognise their role in wider society and what they need to do, as a group, to help and support others."

The PFA also claimed the Premier League's decision to advance £125million to EFL and National League clubs and donate £20m to the NHS and other charitable causes was insufficient.

"£20m is welcome, but we believe it could be far bigger," said the statement.

"The EFL money is an advance. Importantly, it will aid cashflow in the immediate, but football needs to find a way to increase funding to the EFL and non-league clubs in the long-term.

"Many clubs require an increase in funding just to survive. We believe in our football pyramid and again stress the need for solidarity between all clubs."

The statement added that players want to ensure their financial contributions support clubs, players and staff at all levels of the football pyramid and the NHS, whose workers it called "the real heroes".

Premier League clubs have agreed to consult their players about taking 30 per cent pay cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The proliferation of COVID-19 has seen the majority of global sport grind to a halt, with a meeting of Premier League shareholders on Friday acknowledging England's top flight will not get back under way at the start of May.

Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth have placed at least part of their non-playing staff on furlough leave at the United Kingdom government's expense.

Health secretary Matt Hancock called on Premier League footballers to "take a pay cut and play their part", with the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) attracting criticism for a lack of action in agreeing such measures.

However, clubs will now approach their players about reducing their salaries while football is on hiatus.

A Premier League statement read: "The sporting and financial implications for Premier League clubs as well as for the FA, EFL and National League were considered at today's meeting.

"In the face of substantial and continuing losses for the 2019- 20 season since the suspension of matches began, and to protect employment throughout the professional game, Premier League clubs unanimously agreed to consult their players regarding a combination of conditional reductions and deferrals amounting to 30 per cent of total annual remuneration.

"This guidance will be kept under constant review as circumstances change. The League will be in regular contact with the PFA and the union will join a meeting which will be held tomorrow between the League, players and club representatives."

The Premier League also announced that £125million would be advanced to the EFL and National League due to the "severe difficulties clubs throughout the football pyramid are suffering at this time".

All leagues overseen by the EFL and National League have been suspended indefinitely.

An additional £20m has been committed to support the NHS, communities, families and vulnerable groups during the pandemic.

"This includes a direct financial contribution to the NHS and funds to enable clubs to refocus their efforts and develop significant outreach programmes to help communities, including those most in need. This funding will enable both immediate and longer-term support during the crisis," the statement read.

"In response to COVID-19, Premier League clubs have been supporting tens of thousands of people in their communities each and every day through targeted activity including donations to foodbanks, telephone calls to the elderly, food parcels delivered to the vulnerable and a wide range of free resources to support wellbeing and education.

"Many Premier League clubs are also working closely with their local NHS Trusts to provide valuable support through the provision of resources, volunteers and facilities. Now, more than ever, clubs are playing a vital role to support the wellbeing of those in their communities and alleviate pressure on critical health services.

"Working closely with the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the NHS, the wide reach and appeal of the Premier League and our clubs will continue to be used to promote important public health messaging throughout this crisis.

"The Premier League would like to reiterate that the thoughts of all our clubs are with all those directly affected by COVID-19​."

The Premier League and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) are discussing player wages as part of talks over how football in England should respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Representatives from the English Football League (EFL) and League Managers Association (LMA) were also involved at the summit, which will continue for the next two days.

Premier League clubs Newcastle United, Tottenham, Norwich City and Bournemouth have placed members of non-playing staff on furlough, taking advantage of the UK government scheme in response to COVID-19 that will pay employees 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 per month.

Bournemouth and Norwich said they would top up those salaries to ensure furloughed staff receive full pay, although Tottenham's decision to cut staff pay by 20 per cent across the board came in for criticism given the wage packets of head coach Jose Mourinho and his playing squad are set to go untouched at this stage.

The resumption of the 2019-20 season and player safety was also on the agenda at Wednesday's meeting.

A statement issued by the PFA read: "Senior representatives from the PFA, Premier League, EFL and LMA met today and shared a constructive meeting regarding the challenges facing the game as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"The meeting reiterated that the overriding priority is the health and well-being of the nation - including that of players, coaches, managers, club staff and supporters – and everyone agreed football must only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

"No decisions were taken today with discussions set to continue in the next 48 hours with a focus on several high-profile matters, including player wages and the resumption of the 2019-20 season."

Professional football in England is currently suspended until at least April 30, with the Football Association extending its June 1 deadline to complete the season indefinitely.

The Football Association has agreed to extend the 2019-2020 season indefinitely, while prolonging the suspension of all its leagues until at least April 30.

Last week, the FA halted the Premier League, the English Football League, domestic cup competitions and the women's professional game in response to the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the sporting world.

The body's rules and regulations state that its leagues "shall terminate not later than June 1" but the FA's board has confirmed the season can now go beyond that date in order to try to complete the calendar.

It was originally decided the professional game in England would be suspended until April 3, with that date now extended until at least the end of next month.

The FA said UEFA's decision to postpone Euro 2020 until next year allowed for flexibility in their efforts to finish the domestic season.

A statement read: "The FA, Premier League, EFL and women's professional game, together with the PFA [Professional Footballers' Assocation] and LMA [League Managers Association], understand we are in unprecedented times and our thoughts are with everyone affected by COVID-19.

"We're united in our commitment to finding ways of resuming the 2019-20 football season and ensuring all domestic and European club league and cup matches are played as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

"We've collectively supported UEFA in postponing Euro 2020 to create space in the calendar to ensure domestic and European club league and cup matches have an increased opportunity to be played and, in doing so, maintain the integrity of each competition.

"The FA's Rules and Regulations state that 'the season shall terminate not later than June 1' and 'each competition shall, within the limit laid down by the FA, determine the length of its own playing season'.

"However, our board has agreed for this limit to be extended indefinitely for the 2019-20 season in relation to professional football. Additionally, we've collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than Thursday April 30."

There have been 2,626 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, with 108 people having died.

Liverpool are 25 points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League having won 27 of 29 matches in their bid to secure a first top-flight title since 1990.

Debate has been rife as to what should happen if leagues are not able to be completed, with many pundits saying the season should be declared null and void despite Liverpool's sizeable advantage, while others have argued they should be awarded the title.

The former option would cause a headache in determining promotion and relegation and the potential make-up of leagues in England for 2020-21.

Bobby Madley will return to refereeing professional football in England next season, two years after the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) sacked him for sending a video in which he mocked a disabled person.

Madley left his role in August 2018, with a PGMOL statement at the time saying he had "decided to relocate due to a change in personal circumstances".

The 34-year-old went on to explain in a blog post on New Year's Eve last year that his dismissal related to a Snapchat video he sent to a friend that was subsequently passed to his employers.

He captioned a clip of a person with a walking impairment: "F*** me, I have a chance of winning the parents race this year" – something he later conceded was a "badly misjudged... private joke".

Madley moved to Norway after his dismissal and continued refereeing under the auspices of the Norwegian Football Federation.

In a blog post entitled "A New Chapter", the 34-year-old explained he would resume work in English Football at League One and League Two level – the third and fourth tiers of the country's professional structure.

"I've been away from the Premier League for what will be two years come the new season so a return to that level was never a possibility," he wrote.

"With the introduction of VAR and the many hours of training missed it would not have been reasonable to expect that. 

"I was offered, and accepted, the opportunity to start next season as a National List Referee. This group of referees officiate in League One and League Two.

"Like any referee I have the desire to perform at my best and to achieve the best I can.

"I know how hard that road is to referee at the top but I have the desire and passion to work hard to achieve my potential whatever that may be.

"I still have dreams that I thought were dead but for me they are now very much alive."

For the remainder of this season, Madley will officiate at games lower down the pyramid to reintegrate into the English game. He has also agreed to attend a Football Association discrimination workshop. 

Former England Women's manager Mark Sampson's Football Association (FA) charge for allegedly using racist language has been found not proven.

Sampson was caretaker boss at League Two side Stevenage at the time he was alleged to have breached FA Rule E3, relating to a comment that was "improper and/or abusive and/or insulting".

It was claimed to be an "aggravated breach", meaning it referenced "ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality".

However, Sampson denied the charge and requested a hearing, which took place at Wembley on January 9 and 10.

An independent regulatory commission found the charge not proven and it was dismissed.

The decision, published on the FA website, outlined "a direct conflict of evidence" within the hearing.

"Put simply, some of those giving evidence had lied," it said, adding none of the evidence was "sufficiently compelling".

Stevenage, who appointed Graham Westley as manager last month, seeing Sampson revert to a coaching role, had previously said the claims had "no foundation".

Sampson, who led England to the semi-finals of the 2015 Women's World Cup, was sacked as the Lionesses boss in September 2017.

The FA said it had made the decision after evidence emerged of "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" during his time with Bristol Academy.

It insisted Sampson's dismissal was not linked to allegations made by former England forward Eniola Aluko that there had been alleged discriminatory behaviour on the manager's part.

Former England Women's manager Mark Sampson has been charged by the Football Association (FA) for allegedly using racist language.

Sampson is now caretaker boss at League Two side Stevenage and is alleged to have breached FA Rule E3, relating to a comment that was "improper and/or abusive and/or insulting".

It is claimed to be an "aggravated breach", meaning it referenced "ethnic origin and/or colour and/or race and/or nationality".

Stevenage undertook an internal investigation in September after "allegations of racially discriminatory language" were reported in the media.

The club said the claims, purportedly made by a Stevenage coach dismissed by Sampson, had "no foundation".

However, following the FA's own investigation, Sampson now has until December 6 to respond to the charge.

The Welshman, who led England to the semi-finals of the 2015 Women's World Cup, was sacked as the Lionesses boss in September 2017.

The FA said it had made the decision after evidence emerged of "inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour" during his time with Bristol Academy.

It insisted Sampson's dismissal was not linked to allegations made by former England forward Eniola Aluko that there had been alleged discriminatory behaviour on the manager's part.

Another football season is in full swing and a new edition of Football Manager is right around the corner following its beta release on Thursday.

The classic football management simulator is set for full release on November 19, but you can get early access to the beta version – which may contain bugs and issues developers Sports Interactive still need to fix – if you pre-purchase the game.

Therefore, it's time to start thinking about which club you might want to take the reins of. However, with playable leagues in over 50 countries, such a decision can often feel a little daunting.

Do you fancy yourself as a miracle worker who can take a tiny club to the Champions League final? Want to test yourself with a newly promoted side in a top league? Or how about managing an established club amid a rebuild?

Whichever's your preference, we've identified six clubs we can't wait to leave our mark on...


Norwich City - Premier League

Football Manager and developing young players go hand-in-hand, so Norwich City will surely be the first port of call for many. With Emi Buendia, Todd Cantwell, Max Aarons, Jamal Lewis and Ben Godfrey, the Canaries have one of the strongest sets of young players in the Premier League, having returned after three years in the Championship. They've also attracted significant praise for their stylish brand of football under Daniel Farke over the past couple of years, something you might aim to emulate. Avoiding relegation will be the target, but their talent gives them a real platform to build on.


Stuttgart - 2.Bundesliga

A former Bundesliga-winning outfit that have fallen on hard times, Stuttgart suffered relegation to the second tier for the second time in four seasons in 2018-19. Last time, they bounced back at the first attempt - and they have the talent to do so again, given they managed to keep the likes of Santiago Ascacibar and Nicolas Gonzalez. The German club have a strong fanbase, massive stadium, history and a well-regarded academy. If you can steer them back on track, you could potentially awaken a sleeping giant.
 

Salford City - League Two

Backed by the wealthy Peter Lim and the Class of '92 crew and into the Football League for the first time in their history, Salford City represent an intriguing option in Football Manager 2020, particularly if you like the idea of taking a club from the lower leagues to the top but want a little helping hand at the start. There are few – if any – small clubs in England with comparable potential.


Paris FC - Ligue 2

That's right, France's capital has another club. Formed due to a split from Paris-Saint Germain in the early 1970s, Paris FC's history is rather less glamorous than their world-famous, Qatar-backed neighbours. They have yet to return to the top flight since their relegation in 1978-79, but last season's fourth-placed finish in Ligue 2 showed promise, even if they lost to Lens in the promotion play-offs. With €7million being poured into their facilities and the fact they're located in a city drowning in young talent, it might be a risky job to take but the rewards could be glorious. Their position at the foot of the table with eight points from 12 games in real life proves you might have your work cut out, however.
 

Sevilla - LaLiga

Revered sporting director Monchi is back at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and, after two years of relative underachievement in his absence, Sevilla's squad has been truly ripped up. Thirteen new players – including highly rated Jules Kounde and Rony Lopes – have arrived and eight departed on permanent deals. Several others left on loan, yet it's still a squad bursting at the seams, meaning there's potential to build up a decent budget as well. European football should ensure you still attract decent additions, while the club's academy is well-regarded. But with so much upheaval, is Champions League football a bridge too far? Because that'll be your target.


FC Andorra - Segunda B3

Although they should be competing in Spain's Tercera Division, FC Andorra – yes, from the country of the same name, as opposed to Spain – find themselves in Segunda B for the first time since the 1990s. Bought by Gerard Pique last December, the club paid a substantial fee to take the place of Reus in the third tier after they were relegated two divisions for failing to pay player wages. Getting out of Segunda B is a notoriously arduous task given there are only four promotion spots between 80 teams in four groups of 20, but defying such odds might be the challenge some desire.

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