The goal of the game is to win as a manager the virtual Champions League with a team of players you have put together yourself. The game’s concept is based on the rules of the Dutch Paidiagames, who have organised similar games for more than ten years. The difference to other Fantasy Football games is that your players do not simply collect points for your team, but that you will play each match day of the UEFA Champions League against the team of another participant. Our game runs parallel to the Real Life (RL) tournament with group matches and a knock out stage. The players you have purchased for your team can gain points for your side and –hopefully- enough to beat your opponents’ teams each match day until the final.
Before the season starts you have to assemble your own team as a manager in an auction of the real football players. The caveat is that each football player can only be in one team: there is only one Messi in the game, one Ronaldo and so on. When assembling your team, you thus have to decide: do you use your budget to get one or two superstars and fill up the rest of your team with exotic nobodies, or do you rather invest in a broader, balanced squad? Do you use your budget for strong, experienced defenders or rather for some striking promise?
1. HOW TO START
When the game starts each team has nothing more than a name and 1000 Paidia Credits (PCs) in its budget to get a strong squad together. The first transfer period, before the UEFA Champions League starts, is divided in four auctions (Find more information about the transfer period in section 2). All football players that are included in the official selections for the UEFA Champions League by the 32 participating RL clubs will be available. The managers will make (blind) offers on their wish players and the players will join the teams with the highest offers.
The first transfer period is split in four rounds of eight RL clubs, going from up to below according to the UEFA club coefficients. If a player is not sold, he will remain on the transfer list for the next bidding round.
Each virtual team has at least 11 and at max 20 players in its squad. There are also some restrictions concerning the positions of the players: (I) each team has at least 1 and at max 3 goalkeepers; (II) each team has at least 4 and at max 8 defenders; (III) each team has at least 4 and at max 8 midfielders; and (IV) each team has at least 2 and at max 5 attackers.
At the end of the first transfer period each manager is supposed to have a functioning team for the game. In case a team does not comply with the minimum requirements in terms of players, it will be randomly filled up with football players that are still on the transfer list. They will be for free, but you will only get the players that nobody else wanted.
If you do not make any offer on a player you will get thus a random team of non-sold players for 50 Million Euros, which is the minimum amount to spend in the preseason transfer period. So, after the first transfer period each team should be ready and prepared to participate in the competition.
2. BUYING PLAYERS
A crucial part of the game is to assemble a squad that will collect as much as possible points for you in the matches (Read more about this in section 4 “The Matches”). You can purchase new players from the transfer list in the transfer periods. In addition to the preseason transfer period, the transfer window will also be opened at the end of each stage in the tournament: after the group matches, after the second round, after the quarter-final and after the semi-final. There will also be a transfer period halfway through the group matches.
2.1 The transfer list
On the transfer list are all the available players, without a virtual team. In the preseason transfer period all RL players are free agents. You can find the information about the available players, their RL clubs, and their positions on the game’s website.
2.2 How to buy a player
The way how you can buy a new player is in each transfer period the same. You can only purchase players that are on the transfer list, it is thus not possible to transfer a player directly from one team to another.
If you want to contract a player you have to place an offer on him during the transfer period. Players are sold in an auction: each team can make one offer on a player and once the transfer window closes, the player will join the team with the highest offer.
During the auctions you can only spend as much money as you really have in your budget. You can bid more money than you have in your budget, but if you cannot pay the transfer fee you will not get the player. However, it can be a tactical choice to use more money as you really have at your disposal for offers to split your chances. For example, if you bid 70 million Euros on each Messi and Ronaldo, you will for sure not get both players but increase your chances to buy at least one of them.
When placing a lot of offers at the same time, you can also set some restrictions. For instance, it may be sensible to not spend your entire budget in the first auction round of the preseason transfer period or to reach your max of 20 players too early. For these reasons, the managers can also set the following limits in each auction round: (I) the max amount of money to spend; (II) the max amount of goalkeepers that will be bought; (III) the max amount of defenders that will be bought; (IV) the max amount of midfielders that will be bought; and (V) the max amount of attackers that will be bought.
2.3 How do the auctions work?
In each auction round each team has a maximum amount of money to spend. This is either the spending limit set by the manager or the money still available in the budget (plus the amount of money a team needs to comply with its minimum requirements in terms of selected players; this is 100k Euro for each player that still has to be bought).
Once the deadline of the offers has passed, all available players on the transfer list will be sorted by the highest offers put forward. All the offers made on a player will be automatically ranked from the highest to lowest. Then each player will be allocated to the team with the best offer.
In principle the player will join the team with the highest offer, except the following cases: (I) the team cannot pay the sum; (II) the team already has 20 players; (III) the team already has the maximum number of players for this position; (IV) one of the limits set by the manager has already be reached.
In this case, the first offer will be deleted and all offers presented in the auction will be re-evaluated. In case the second highest bid on the player, is also the second highest bid of the entire auction the player will be sold to this team (provided that it complies with all the rules previously stated). If this is not the case, the player with the second highest offer will be first sold. In other words, after each deleted offer the order will be completely recalculated. Once a player is sold to a team, the corresponding sum will be subtracted from the team’s budget. If a player cannot be allocated to any team he will remain on the transfer list.
An example: Team A has offered 500 PCs for Messi, and Team B has put forward an offer of 200 PCs. At the same time, Team C has offered 300 PC for Neymar. The auction will start with Messi, because Team A’s offer is the highest total offer. But imagine that Team A has only 300 PCs left and is not able to purchase this player. In this case this offer (500 for Messi) will be ignored. The next player to be auctioned is Neymar as Team C’s 300 PCs offer is higher than Team B’s 200 PCs offer on Messi.
In case the two (or more) highest valid offers on a football player are exactly the same, he will allocated to one of the teams according to these rules: (1) the team with less players in its squad at that point will get the player; (2) if this criterion also does not make a difference, the team with less money spent will get the player (3) if this criterion also does not make a difference, the case will be decided by a draw.
The auction will finish when there are no players left or all teams are full.
2.4 The transfer periods
Most players will be sold in the preseason transfer period that is divided in four auction rounds of eight RL-teams. If a player will be added to the squad of a RL-Champions League team, he will also be added to the transfer list for the next auction round.
After the third group match, there is an auction in which the managers can strengthen their team for the final three group matches by buying players from the transfer list. For each transfer period during the tournament, the clubs’ budgets will be topped up with the won prize money (read more about this issue in section 3).
During the season we will add extra players that are bought by the RL clubs, provided that they have at least played one match for their RL team in the Champions League.
After the group phase the tournament is over for both 16 virtual and RL teams. All players of the eliminated RL clubs are removed from the game, as they cannot generate any points for their teams anymore. At the same time all the RL players of the eliminated virtual teams (whose RL teams did qualify for the second round) are put on the transfer list.
The managers of the 16 remaining virtual teams will then bid for these players in a new auction. The priority for each manager is to fill up the gaps in his team (left by the players from eliminated RL-teams) with new players. If a team does not fill all minimum positions, it will be filled up automatically and randomly with players, which have not been sold during the transfer period. Each of them will cost the team 100K Euros. The same procedure will take place after each KO-round.
2.5 Fire a player
A manager may fire a player at any moment. This can be useful if you have reached your limit of players for a position, or the player has been sold in RL to a team that does not participate in the Champions League. The player will be added to the transfer list and can be bought by other teams from the subsequent transfer period on. If you sack a player during a transfer period he cannot be bought in the same period by another club.
3. THE BUDGET
Each manager has a budget, which he/she can use for buying new players for his/her team. Each team starts with 1000 PCs and can gain extra revenues for the budget through prize money.
A win in the group is awarded 30 PCs and a draw is worth 15 PCs. In addition, the teams reaching the first knockout round receive 500 PCs, each quarter-finalist 500 PCs, 500 PCs for each semi-finalist, and 500 PCs for the two finalists.
The managers can use this money to buy new players during the transfer periods, but are not obliged to spend the entire budget. There is only a small extra rule to keep in mind: you need to spend in the preseason transfer period at least 500 PCs: so even if you only buy 11 players for 1 PC, you will still get 500 PCs subtracted from your budget.
4. THE MATCHES
In this game the virtual teams compete with each others in direct matches. Before each match you have to choose your starting 11 (1 keeper, 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and two attackers). Based on the performance of your players and the players of the opposite side, the match result will be determined.
Each player of your team that plays during a match day can give you some points. There are two different categories of points: offensive and defensive points. Offensive points are added up to count how many goals a team has made, while defensive points are subtracted from the other team’s offensive point. If Team Red and Team Blue have both 2 offensive points, but only Team Red has 1 defensive point, Team Red wins the match 2-1, because it can neutralise one of the offensive points of its opponent. The points are rounded up and down to get a result. Obviously, a team cannot end with a negative score: in that case it will end with 0 goals.
An example: Team Red has 1.7 offensive points and Team Blue 1.1 offensive points. Team Red has 0.4 defensive points and Team Blue 0.2 defensive points. So, Team Red has 1.5 points (1.7 – 0.2), which gives them 2 goals, and Team Blue 0.7 points/1 goal (1.1 minus the 0.4 defensive points of the other team). Team Red would thus win this match 2-1.
4.1 How do players win you points?
Football players can win offensive points for your team in four different ways: (I) marking a goal (1 point); (II) scoring a penalty directly during the match (0.5 point); (III) winning a match (0.2 point); and (IV) drawing a match (0.1 point). Yellow and red cards, assists and own goals are thus not relevant.
To give an example: imagine you have Lionel Messi in your team and he makes one goal out of the match (1 point), scores one penalty (0.5 point)) and FC Barcelona wins (0.2). In this case he will give you 1.7 offensive points for your team.
So, how can you win defensive points? The key is that your players’ teams keep a clean sheet. If your goalkeeper keeps in reality the nil, this gives you 1.5 defensive points. If the team of your defenders does not receive any goal it gives you 0.25 defensive points and in case of a midfielder 0.1 defensive points.
It is important to note that you only get points for a player if he (I) has been part of your 11 selected players for that match; and (II) has played during the match. If a player of a winning team has only sat on the bench you will not receive any points for that. On the other hand, if a player only plays for one minute (even a goalkeeper) you can get the full points for him. So, if a team is keeping the nil on the goal sheet and has to substitute its keeper in the last minute, both keepers will get the 1.5 defensive points (provided that they keep the 0 until the end of the match).
Each round, you can specify your lineup on the website, until the moment the first RL match has started (usually on Tuesday). Until this moment, you can make unlimited changes on the website. After that you can still make changes, but you can only replace players with players if the match of both of them has not started. For example: you can still change one defender for another on Tuesday night, when both RL home clubs play on Wednesday. This can be useful, if one player injures himself on the match day before the kick off.
Before each match you can choose between two different tactical approaches: normal or offensive. If you choose a normal tactic, your points will be calculated as described above. However, if you take the offensive tactic you cannot get any defensive points, but your positive points will be multiplied with 1.25.
It depends on your players, what is the most promising strategy: if you only have a very weak keeper, probably the offensive option is better. If your team has a strong keeper and a couple of decent defenders, the normal option is perhaps the better choice.
4.4 Data sources
In principle, the website of the UEFA (UEFA.com) will be the guidance for the game. We have connected the website’s information to our game, so that all the points will be counted automatically. The data on the website at 23.59 (CET) is decisive; if anything changes afterwards (e.g. the maker of a goal), we will not take this into consideration anymore. If a match is abandoned or postponed in whole or in part, we will determine on case by case base how to handle this situation.
5. THE TOURNAMENT
Just as in the real UEFA Champions League the 32 virtual teams will be divided in eight groups of four. Before the draw each team will be linked to a real team, which will determine your schedule. For example: if your team is linked to Bayern Munich, you will play in the same group as the Bavarian team and on the same match days. These links will be made randomly.
After the group matches, the number 1 and two of each group qualify themselves for the knock out stage. The number 3 and 4 are eliminated. The draw for the second group is again linked to the real Champions League: if the winner of Group A meets in the real tournament the runner up of group B, the equally placed teams will also meet each other in the second round of the virtual Champions League.
5.1 Ranking in the groups
In principle, we will apply exactly the same rules as the real UEFA Champions League to rank the teams in the groups. The teams are ranked according to points (3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, 0 points for a loss). If two or more teams are equal on points on completion of the group matches, the following criteria are applied to determine the rankings: (1) higher number of points obtained in the group matches played among the teams in question (2) superior goal difference from the group matches played among the teams in question; (3) higher number of goals scored in the group matches played among the teams in question; (4) higher number of goals scored away from home in the group matches played among the teams in question; (5) If, after applying criteria 1 to 4 to several teams, two teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 4 are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the two teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 6 to 10 apply; (6) superior goal difference from all group matches played; (7) higher number of goals scored from all group matches played; (8) the total points not rounded up and down of all matches; both offensive and defensive points of a team are accumulated positively; (9) the total not rounded up and down offensive points of a team; (10) Draw.
5.2 The KO rounds
During the KO phase, only the Real-Life results after 90 minutes are used to calculate the points for the Paidia Champions League. Any changes to the result and events in the extra time are not taken into consideration (except as a tiebreaker, see below).
The usual UEFA rules apply to decide what time makes it to the next round of the Paidia Champions League. If two teams are equal after two matches, the following rules (in order) will be used: