FIX: Football Manager 2020 not launching

John Nedelcu
by John Nedelcu
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Affiliate Disclosure

  • Football Manager 2020 players have been hitting the forums looking for a solution why the game won't launch. Today we're having a look at all the reasons and solutions
  • Most of the issues encountered by gamers are due to corrupted game files. The easy way to fix this is described below, along with other possible solutions.
  • We cover a wide variety of sports games and football is among our favourites to play on Xbox, Windows 10 PC or out in the field.
  • Our gaming section offers guides, fixes and reviews for a wide variety of games across all different genres so be sure to have a look.
football manager not launching

Football Manager 2020 launched back in November 2019 from developer Sports Interactive to a warm welcome, boasting a Metacritic score of 84 and Very Positive reviews on the Steam platform, despite users reporting Football Manager not launching on some machines.

Have you encountered issues with Football Manager 2020 not starting? The solutions outlined below will provide some workarounds and get you playing in no time.

What can I do if Football Manager is not launching?

1. Verify the integrity of the game files

football manager not launching

    1. Right-click on Football Manager 2020 in your Steam Library
    2. Click on Properties
    3. Navigate to the Local Files tab
    4. Click Verify integrity of game files

If you’re running the game from Steam, one of the first things to do if Football Manager won’t start is to use Steam’s built-in file verification.

2. Launch Football Manager 2020 with administrative rights

football manager not starting

When Football Manager is not launching or crashing on start, a lack of administrative rights would be a potential reason.

To fix this, you will need to navigate to your installation folder > right-click on fn.exe > Properties > Compatibility > tick the box next to Run this program as an administrator.

When Using Steam, to find the installation directory of Football Manager, right-click on the game in your Steam library > Properties > Local Files > Browse local files.

Nothing happens when you click on Run as administrator? Don’t worry, we’ve got the right solution.

3. Update your graphics card driver

update nvidia graphics driver

  1. Update your nVidia driver by opening GeForce Experience > Drivers > Check for Updates and follow the update wizard.
  2. Update your AMD driver by downloading the Radeon Software Installer > Click on the recommended version > Install.
  3. Update your graphics card driver manually by following our in-depth guide.

Note: Performing a clean install will ensure that all files are up to date.

4. Update Windows 10 to the latest build

football manager windows update

You should always make sure that your system is running the latest build of Windows 10 and that all security updates and patches are installed. To help you manually update Windows 10, we’ve put together a short guide and a list of the latest updates.

5. Add Football Manager to Firewall and Ransomware exceptions

Depending on which antivirus solution you’re using, you will have the option to add certain applications to the exceptions list. In Windows 10, go to Windows Settings > Update & Security > Windows Security > Open Windows Security.

From here, click on Firewall & network protection > Allow an app through the firewall > Change settings > scroll through the list until you find Football Manager 2020 and tick the box to its left.

If you have enabled Ransomware protection, you can whitelist Football Manager by clicking on Virus & threat protection > Ransomware Protection > Allow and app through controlled folder access > Add an allowed app.

If you’re having trouble opening the Settings app, take a look at this article to solve the issue.

6. Disable software which is known to interfere with Football Manager

Developer Sports Interactive has advised that the following programs have impacted the performance of Football Manager to the degree that they might inhibit it from starting or cause crashes:

  1. MSI Afterburner
  2. Riva Statistics Tuner
  3. EVGA Precision
  4. Toshiba DisplayLink
  5. openhardwaremonitor
  6. xsplit
  7. D3DGear

7. Clear crash dumps and preferences

football manager not starting

  1. Create a new folder somewhere on your system
  2. Navigate to
    C:Users[Your Windows Username]Documents Sports InteractiveFootball Manager 2020
  3. Cut everything (do not delete these files) contained in this folder and paste into the new folder created in step 1
  4. Launch Football Manager 2020
  5. If it launches with no issues, you can close the game and move back all the files to their original location

How to clear Football Manager preferences? You will follow a similar process to the one above, but this time you will find the files in a different location:

    1. Navigate to: C:Users[Your Windows Username]AppData Local Sports InteractiveFootball Manager 2020
    2. Select all the files in the Football Manager 2020 folder
    3. Delete the contents of the folder

Crash dumps can be useful diagnostic tools for troubleshooting, but if Football Manager 2020 is crashing on launch or not responding you you can reset the game by clearing these files.

8. Unable to initialize Steam API error

football manager not launching admin rights

Some users have reported that Football Manager 2020 doesn’t open because of the dreaded Unable to initialise Steam API error. Generally, there are two causes for this error:

    1. Your antivirus or Firewall is blocking Football Manager, in which case you will need to refer to the fix we provided above.
    2. Your Windows account does not have administrative privileges. To check if your account has admin rights, go to Windows Settings > Accounts > Your info and you should see under your name the type of account you have. If you don’t see Administrator, log in to an admin account and try re-launching Football Manager.

9. Repair .NET Framework

Football Manager 2020 publisher, SEGA, has responded to some players who have contacted customer support regarding the game not launching. They advised that a possible solution for Football Manager not starting is to use the .NET Framework Repair Tool.

Like its predecessor, Football Manager 2020 has a strong fan base and plenty of gamers return to the series with each iteration of the franchise, and just like the previous games in the series, it has faced a few hurdles.

We understand how frustrating not being able to play your games can be. Luckily if you are one of the few experiencing issues with Football Manager not launching, this guide has helped you address the crashes and you can be on your way to creating the ultimate team.

10. Ensure you have the minimum system requirements

  1. CPU: Intel Pentium 4 / Intel Core 2 / AMD Athlon 64 (2.2Ghz or more)
  2. GPU: nVidia GeForce 9600M / Intel GMA X4500 / Radeon 3650 (256MB of VRAM)
  3. Memory: At least 2GB of RAM
  4. Storage:  7GB of free space

As you can see, Football Manager 2020 has modest system requirements, but if you are planning on playing on a laptop or a low-end PC, you should make sure that your system meets these specs.

For any other questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate to reach for the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about Football Manager 2020

  • Can my PC run Football Manager 2020?

If you’re having trouble running FM20, then have a look at the system requirements and the solutions provided to fix Football Manager 2020.

  • Do you need Steam to play Football Manager 2020?

If you want to play on PC, you will need to install the Steam Client. Even if you buy a physical copy of the game, it will need to be activated on Steam. You can also buy the game for other platforms, such as mobile or Nintendo Switch.

  • How do I install Football Manager 2020?

Once you’ve activated your purchase on the Steam client, simply click on Install Game and your download & installation will complete automatically.