FWF ONLINE IN 2016!

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As a new year is upon us, I want to let you know about new features and changes to the game launching soon!

Firstly, a strong gaming platform is built by having a strong community – that’s you guys – and for 2016 we’d like to significantly grow our community and we welcome your own ideas in doing this as well as having our own plans.

From our side, the Game will be made more interesting and fun for existing players as well as more competitive and fair. We will also be adding incentives for new players not just to join, but to continue playing long enough to become properly interested in and really enjoying the Game. New players are the life-blood of any game and it’s in all our interests to grow the community which means more games each week, more competition and ultimately more prizes and goodies for everyone!

So here are a few things we’re moving forward with…

  1. BECOME PART OF OUR TEAM: We’d like to offer a number of experienced FWF ONLINE players a chance to be an Administrator for the gaming platform which will help develop FWF ONLINE in line with player needs and wants encouraging new players to join.
    You can be from ANY League and be playing at any level, but in order to best help and represent the community you should have experience of a variety of online games (not just FWF Online), at least 1 year’s football card collecting experience (not just Futera cards), be a member of one or more card forums so that you are familiar with the interests of global collectors, be happy to give your advice on player issues and to contribute ideas for the benefit of all players in the game, existing and new (details of how to apply are at the bottom of this blog).

  2. REALLY EXCITING CARD NEWS….
    A new Collection called ‘FWF All-Stars’ is born…. AND EVERYONE CAN GET A FREE PACK!
    This new limited edition virtual Collection comprises a Base set and a HEROES Insert set – and the great news is that you’ll be able to buy packs with Tokens!  New players joining the game will get 1 FREE PACK of ‘FWF All-Stars’ after playing their 1st game, and 5 FREE PACKS after completing 10 games – so tell your friends to join up and enjoy the game! (existing players are excluded from starting new teams just to try for these new packs! – you could risk a ban!). To celebrate the LAUNCH, EVERYONE can claim 1 free pack! (limited period offer/ details published shortly).
    Launches in March.
    (Note: this does not take the place of FWF Online Series 6, which will also launch shortly)

  3. HELP IN GETTING STARTED: Every new team that joins can choose 3 HEROES players to take ‘ON LOAN’ for 10 games. This is to provide a more level playing field for new teams until they have built up their team and become familiar with how to play.
    Launches in March.

  4. PLAYER STATS CHALLENGE: Each week, your cards’ statistics will be tweaked up and down, meaning you might have to re-assess which card plays where.
    Launches in the next 14 days.

  5. BECOME A BETTER MANAGER: Building a team is not just about having the best cards, but you must work out which other cards bring out the best in them, and how they work together. As a Manager, you will now have to put more thought into how your team gels together and this will be shown in your cards’ ratings.
    Launches within the next 14 days.

  6. PLAYER IMPORTANCE: 2016 will see a change to the Managers’ algorithm, where the most important decision for game success will be selecting your ‘First XI’ Team players. Managers/Coaches will still make a difference to how your team plays, but their influence may change from game to game.
    Launches within the next 14 days.

  7. NO MORE SHOCK RESULTS: Its the request that we get more than any other so … with the changes in the managers algorithm, plus with the new challenge of card ratings going up and down and learning what makes your team gel, I think its time for shock results to be turned off.
    Launches within the next 14 days.

  8. AND THERE’s MORE!
    There will be even more new features introduced to the Game, but you should see the above appearing from the next couple of weeks!
Finally, a big ‘thank you’ to all who have been sending emails with great suggestions about what you’d like to see in FWF ONLINE in the future (and for your nice comments, thank you) – keep them coming!

WANT TO BE AN ADMINISTRATOR? Administrators will:-
a) have access to an exclusive Facebook group with me where we can discuss the game and any issues you have.
b) help police the game and consider player issues and decide together the penalties/bans for unsportsmanlike play
c) help grow the community through social media and/or other promotional initiatives
d) share and contribute to discussion on new features 
e) be involved with new experimental features on our Beta site
 
Whilst this would be a voluntary role with no remuneration, in recognition of the time and contribution made on behalf of the community, Administrators will receive a non-FWF ONLINE gift award(s) at the end of, or during, the season.
 
Interested? Please email mark@futeraworldfootball.com giving a summary of your experience in relation to each of the aspects above plus a short paragraph explaining why you think you’d make a good and fair Administrator for FWF ONLINE. We must have a limit on the number of Administrators we can take on for now, so please don’t be disappointed if you don’t get a place this time as we will likely rotate Administrators periodically so that there are always new ideas and contributions coming on board.

Enjoy your games!

 

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online. mark@futeraworldfootball.com

It’s been a big few weeks 

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Sleep … I’m not sure I quite remember what that word means at the moment. Whilst we’re always crazy busy, the last 2 months pre-production stage has been particularly hectic at Futera HQ as we’ve been handling not just one Futera Collection, but several.

After months of development work, the new FWF ONLINE website has finally released. This has effectively meant the re-coding of the whole game which has been a much bigger task than any of us had anticipated, but a worthwhile one because what we’ve created is a much fairer, more competitive competition … once the bugs are fixed!

I can’t pretend that the launch has gone as smoothly as we had planned (!!). The Auto-match feature  – which will be a fantastic bonus for players worlwide to help with time-differences and being able to play while you’re out or at work…. has caused us many sleepless nights as it’s one of those complex features which, once you fix one part of it, a new bug appears which then needs to be traced and sorted.

Getting technical:  I’ll try to keep this simple….the job of fixing bugs is generally a walk in the park for our super-Tech guys – however,  some particular game bugs can be difficult to replicate – in other words, sometimes where a bug occurs for 1 player we can’t necessarily make that bug occur for ourselves – which means that if we can’t manually recreate a player’s experience to identify what the bug is and how it occurred, we don’t quite know what we’re looking for in order to fix it.  Fixing it is the easy part!

Normally we’d perform the fixes on our Dev Site, test in-house and then once we’re happy upload onto the live Server… However, with this particular Launch, the only way to find each bug and have long enough to identify its behaviour is to have a lot of people playing the game at once – and this is only possible to do ‘live’ – i.e. with you guys helping us.

So it really helps a lot when players email with some background to their experience about when and how the bug occurred and even if they have any idea what triggered it.

Different browsers can affect play stability and effectiveness.  For example, Online games don’t seem to behave too well with Internet Explorer, so if you’re finding the Game problematic, you could try Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera…

Myself and the Dev Team would like to thank everyone for their amazing emails since launch.  Without your constructive criticism and in-depth  ‘Bug lists’ our job would have been more difficult and some bugs a lot harder to pin down. I’m amazed at the level some of you have gone to in helping us pin-point certain issues.

Let’s look at the positives. This week we will start sending out the latest round of Redemption Cards for Series 5.  As I’ve said previously, from this Series forward we will be sending out Redemptions a lot quicker, and this is the first example of that. I cant wait for you to get the Redemptions in hand … they’re really great this year!!!   For those who are not familiar with what a ‘redemption card’ is – this is a special, actual physical card which you could find in a virtual pack.  If you find one of these special cards, we would automatically email you to arrange to post it to you by registered mail. A ‘Redemption card’ is usually quite rare, and could be a gold-plated framed player Autographed Card or a player Memorabilia/Game Jersey Card.

FUTERA UNIQUE 2015:  Normally this is where my blog would end… however… the Limited Edition Futera UNIQUE 2015 World Football Collection is now shipping!!! I can honestly say that in my opinion this is the greatest Football (soccer) Card Collection ever produced.  Obviously I’m biased, but the cards look beautiful, and an amazing Checklist includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic game-used memorabilia, Pele and Maradona game-used memorabilia on the same card, and Lionel Messi and Neymar COMBO Autograph with Game-used Memorablia cards – it’s all pretty impressive!

This collection also contains a few ‘world firsts’; one being a stunning George Best cut Autograph ‘1 of 1’ presented in a gold-plated frame. The cut autograph archive collection also includes other greats from a bygone era such as Puskas and Di Stefano!!! The other ‘world first’ is the ‘MatchDay’ set. These cards feature not only a piece of the player’s Game-used Memorabilia but also a piece of the Match Day Programme from the same game.

Futera UNIQUE 2015 World Football Collection is on sale now from http://www.futera.com/latest-product – limited to only 200 cases worldwide!

And finally, in the words of my hero Steve Jobs (my other being Bobby Moore, but none of his quotes really fit here), “one more thing…”. When I first started at Futera in 1997 we were making official trading card collections for a number of Premier League Clubs with some of the sets still talked about as some of our best work, such as the commemmorative ‘Trebles’ and ‘Captains’ Collections. Well, I’m pleased and proud to announce that very soon we will be launching both an Arsenal UNIQUE Collection and a Manchester City UNIQUE Collection, following in the tradition of the great quality, innovation and design that you have come to expect from Futera. Both will be limited to just 15 cases each!  Look out for release announcements VERY SOON!

It looks like I still won’t be getting much sleep for the foreseeable future, but I’m immersed in football all day long and watching cards of great football stars take shape stage by stage as we work through a Collection…  It’s not really a job is it!!??

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online. mark@futeraworldfootball.com

COUNTDOWN to FWF ONLINE SERIES 5… and other Collections!

I first introduced some of the new features of FWF Online a few weeks ago.  We had been expecting that the new release would launch by Christmas, however sometimes testing can bring up things that suddenly halt the process and make us rethink how things should be done – the good news is that this is usually for the better and hopefully for you guys it will have been worth the wait!

We want FWF Online to be played in the most sportsmanlike way possible, just as most of you do, however, over the past we have seen methods used by some Teams in both the main League and Mini Leagues to manipulate game activity in order to create a better advantage for themselves.

This is a common problem for many Online Games of course, but much of what we have been working on these past few weeks has been a new structure for FWF Online which we believe will put a stop to this problem as far as possible. The new structure has recently been activated in the ‘Development Version’ of the new game and is being tested in-house. This should make a real difference to all loyal Teams who have had to suffer the frustration of unfair play and unsportsmanlike tactics of some Teams over the past.

Please be assured that our programmers do track and take action against Teams where unfair play is identified – and in line with our terms & conditions, this could result in their having to forfeit prizes, having their accounts temporarily suspended or suffering complete loss of their account without notice (including forfeiting their cards).  We appreciate your emails to the Game Department advising when you think someone has not been playing in a fair manner (although sometimes the programmers can identify that those reporting others may also be guilty of unfair tactics themselves which must be taken into account…).  Please remember this is a game for everyone to enjoy themselves.  So enjoy!

More good news is that together with the new features, FWF Online has a ‘new look’ website which we think will be much easier for new players to use and bring added enjoyment for those of you who have been playing for a long time.

To give you a sneak preview of what we have been working on, here are some EXCLUSIVE screenshots…

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team-1

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In other news, apologies that I haven’t blogged for a while, its CRAZY season at Futera HQ with the Futera UNIQUE 2015 Collection nearing completion, and a couple of other ‘surprise’ Releases for 2015 which I’ll tell you about the minute I can (my lips are sealed at the moment … but I think it would be fair to say that a good number of you will get pretty excited!!!).

In my last blog I promised that I’d draw one Lucky Winner to win that mystery Memorabilia card you saw in the video… well check out my video below to find out who the winner was!!

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online. mark@futeraworldfootball.com

 

The Hobby

We were recently contacted for Checklist information for a new football cards Price Guide which provides card values based on actual sales data www.Priceguide.cards.  What occurred to me was the incredible time and effort that people have put into the hobby over the years, creating websites that are constructive to a hobby, with many services free to use.

 

When I first came into the trading card industry (18 years ago – surely it’s gold watch time soon!), the internet was very much in its infancy. If you wanted to know about football cards you would have taken a subscription to a magazine and waited for the Postman to arrive once a month with your copy. Now, a quick search will instantly bring up Forums, Youtube/video channels, Blogs, Box Breaks and other helpful resources about the hobby and where you can exchange news and views with fellow collectors.

 

Just a few of the many available are websites such as the Cartophilic Info Exchange which is building a complete history of Football Card Collection Checklists; SoccerCardIndex is another site where a lot of work has gone into helping collectors; Forums such as the excellent FootballCardsForum.com (FCF) and LastSticker.ru  are great platforms for collector communication, and new forums and blogs are emerging from around the world, in countries such as Serbia, China, Australia (all of which I’ll hopefully cover in a future post) and a number of other markets to hopefully add to the wealth of balanced information available to collectors.

 

The variety of online resources emerging for the football card collector gives the ability for collectors to get independent information about all the publishers’ card collections and is refreshing for the card industry in general. Sites such as the new Priceguide.cards and SoccerCardIndex are right up my street. The amount of effort that must have gone into these sites is mindblowing and can only be put down to a complete labour of love of the hobby by these guys. I think that’s the thing with all of these sites… they are all created through a love of the hobby and the dedication that has gone into creating them is appreciated as you click through their pages. If you’ve never been on them, or are new to trading cards, take a look.

 

This month our CEO, Gwyneth, was invited to give a talk to the industry people and hobby distributors in China alongside other industry publishers and suppliers such as Topps, Panini, Wizards of the Coast, Ultra Pro and Games Workshop at a Trading and Game Card conference. From a publisher’s point of view, it’s nice to see that the card world is recognising the importance of a balanced environment to explore how we can all move forward together in developing the trading card hobby as a whole into the future. Exciting times ahead I think.

 

China Trade Conference (Futera presentation)

The Dev guys will shortly add a new Links section on the Futera.com website outlining the sites I’ve talked about in this Blog plus some others which I haven’t had the time to mention here… there are so many great sites out there!

 

Competition:
For the eagle-eyed amongst you, you may have noticed an unfamiliar  card showing in the presentation… it’s actually an unreleased card from a future Futera collection!!! To become the first person in the world to own one of these limited edition cards, tell us (in a comment on this blog) which minute in the video the card appears,  and also who features on the card.  The first correct answer picked out of ‘the hat’ (I’ll post a video of me picking a winner out of the hat in my next blog post) will win this very exciting new card! The first 100 people to enter (1 entry per person) will also win a free pack of FWF Online Series 4 virtual football cards (so include your email address when entering).  Good Luck!

 

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online. mark@futeraworldfootball.com

 

FWF Online Series 5, what’s different?

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FWF ONLINE SERIES 5 – What’s different?

So I thought I’d write a blog with a bit of a difference …

From the title you’d expect I may be about to give you a rundown of the new Card Sets and Features in the upcoming FWF Online Series 5. However I’m going to leave you waiting a little longer for that… This blog is going to be an upfront account of exactly where I think we could improve on what we’ve done before.

Virtual cards are still a relatively new concept in the world of trading cards, and with each new Collection we’re learning more about what you guys want. We’re  still not going to please everyone all of the time, or necessarily get everything right every time we introduce something new, but we do listen to all feedback with the aim of moulding FWF Online and its cards in line with what you, the collectors and gamers want (not what we think you want).

Let’s first touch on the redemption process. For FWF4 we’re the first to hold our hands up and say it’s been slow and not up to the standard we pride ourselves on at Futera – we had relied on a schedule which was outside our control and the delays that we suffered in production in turn meant that we couldn’t get the Redemption Cards to you as quickly as we’d intended.  With FWF Online Series 5 this will be the first thing we’ll address. No more waiting for cards to be produced. All Redemption cards for Series 5 will be ready to send from the day of launch and planned to be sent out on a weekly basis.

So what about the cards themselves? Well, the style of the Redemptions for FWF5 will be back to the Futera card norm you know and love.  The historic ‘Taddy’ brand football cigarette card Redemptions from Series 4 were a labour of love for us at Futera. We hold one of the biggest private collections of Taddy cards in the world and have been huge fans of the brand over the years.  The football cigarette cards of yesteryear span such an important period of the trading card hobby, and feature such football greats that we wanted to preserve and commemorate the past 100 years of football cards through the creation of a Taddy set, featuring original Taddy cards framed in 23ct gold plated frames with precious stones as well as a Set featuring modern day players, and where all these cards could be used in FWF Online.

However we’ve listened to feedback and understand that the market isn’t there right now for a historical Football trading card featuring either past or modern day players, and therefore we’ll place this concept in archive… for now.  For those that have received a Taddy card from FWF4, we expect these will actually become quite sought after as, with only a small number actually released and with no plans for more in the foreseeable future, these should be regarded as quite rare Futera collectibles. The next thing we thought about was ‘rarity’. One of my favourite things about Futera is the fact that we produce short runs for all our products, for example with the Futera UNIQUE Collection we only released 200 cases. Yet to make just 200 cases it took around 18 months due to the complex specification, specialist content and processes required to produce it.

With Virtual cards living in an infinite domain, consideration for rarity can sometimes be overlooked, yet a card’s rarity is a core mechanic for the hobby of trading cards and consequently for the FWF Online game itself. With FWF Online Series 5 Virtual Collection we’re going to really limit the run … in fact just like the Futera UNIQUE physical card release, we will only release 200 cases! That’s less than half of what we released for FWF4.

With designs completed and the Checklist in place, FWF Online Series 5 is now close to being released, however I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas and let’s see if we can incorporate any of your feedback into this or a future release!  Don’t worry guys, you’ll get an exclusive sneak peak on here before anyone else!!

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online. mark@futeraworldfootball.com

What does the future hold?

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What do you think we get most emails about per week? ‘Mythicals’ cards? Card reboots? Prizes? Thank you letters???

None of the above. The email subject I get more question about than anything else is “why does my League 5 Team have to play League 1 Teams?”. For a long time we have been exploring a method to fairly allow Teams to only play Teams in their own League whilst still keeping the flow of games constant (an easy task in League 5 but difficult with only 50 teams in League 1) … and now we have a plan!

Our Dev Team is currently performing an exciting revamp of FWF Online – including implementing a new League system… Here’s the plan:-

• Teams can only play other Teams in their own League (BUT you can still play anyone in a friendly game)

• Games are played in a one-off game format (like the Mini Leagues) not in Tournaments.

• Pre-saved Team & Tactics: Teams can be pre-set and ‘parked’ in the Game Room. You can change tactics for half time, and state how many games you want your Team to play whilst you are not online.

• All challenges accepted: No Team can turn down a challenge from another Team – failure to play a game will result in a win for the other Team.

• Teams can only play each other maximum twice per week.

* Teams can play up to a maximum of 50 games per week.

• Multiple Games while offline: A Team can be set to play other parked Teams, allowing for multiple games to be played without the need for anyone to be online.

• Star system: A new ‘star system’ will be introduced where a player can specify before each game how many total stars can be used by each team. For example, ’33 stars’ would allow a player to use say 4 x 2-star cards + 4 x 3-star cards + 2 x 4-star cards + 1 x 5-star card in their Team at one time.

• Monthly Cup Competition: a monthly Competition will be held in which your Team will be drawn against another Team from any League for each round.

• ‘Risk It’: and finally our favourite idea at Futera HQ … the ‘Risk It’ Room! Play in Tournaments or one-off games where all Teams have to put up tokens or cards as entry into the game … the winner takes all!

What do you think? Are these good ideas that will benefit the game, or do you see reasons why any may not be the best direction for the game to go in? I’m really looking forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas on this.

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online.
mark@futeraworldfootball.com

 

What a week!

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I can truly say that this has been the most testing and anxious game-related few days since launching FWF Online some 5 years ago, frustrating because we were looking for a needle in a haystack when there was no needle there…

On the odd occasion when our servers go down or there is some anomaly with the game, our experienced Development Team set about fixing the issue in the quickest yet most thorough way possible and we’re usually back online before many realise there was even a problem…  Technology today means that game-related errors are generally fairly easy to identify using specialist software and our Team can normally fairly quickly pinpoint what they have to work on. On this occasion, however, there were no errors, no apparent problems, and therefore we had nothing to go on in order to remedy.

What happened?  

On Thursday we’d picked up an error in eFutera (www.eFutera.com – our online card trading market). It seemed like a small problem which our Dev Team set about fixing. After a few hours all seemed well and we ticked that off the list.

As Saturday approached we began to get reports that people were unable to play the game. On checking, there seemed to be nothing within our logs to suggest a problem, and it was established that it was not related to the eFutera blip.  We therefore rebooted our system believing that this would fix the issue.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that simple and the game remained down.  With our Dev Team working through the night to go through our code, it was decided that as still nothing was showing up as an error there must be something wrong with the server itself.

It was relief all round when we heard that the problem had been found, and we sat back to wait for the Server guys to give us word that all was up and running. A few hours later they did. Great!  …. or so we thought. As I rushed to my computer to play a game I was  greeted with the spinning wheel of doom!  Back to the Server guys, and 24 hours later the whole site went down.  After numerous talks with the Server guys and brainstorming with our own Devs, we decided that rather than keep waiting longer when already our patience was running thin – and I’m sure that of our customers (!!) – we took the decision to bypass whatever the problem was that no-one seemed to be able to give us answers on, and that the quickest way to get the game online again was for us to rebuild the Server.

All our Devs were called in (including one who was on much-deserved leave and in a Tent up a mountain…) and the Team did wonders rebuilding everything.

We are pleased to announce that the game is now working.  Thanks go to all Futera Devs, and to P, thanks so much… you can return to your camping trip!

OUR THANK YOU
Your chance to claim FREE cards!
 

We know that you guys have not been able to play all your games, and as a ‘thank you’ for your patience and loyalty to the game we’re putting up a whole Case of FWF ONLINE virtual packs to share out as below (there will be some great Insert cards to be found!)

60 x ’10 FREE PACKS’ to give away

All you have to do is email techsupport@futeraworldfootball.com from your FWF ONLINE registered email address telling us your Team name. As long as your Team was registered before today and your email is among the first 60 ‘free pack’ claim emails to be received (only 1 claim per customer please, no multi-team claims from the same customer) – a code giving you 10 FREE packs of FWF Online Series 4 Virtual football cards will be sent to you. You have until the end of Friday (midnight GMT 22nd August 2014)  to get your email to us.

PLUS  1 lucky Team will receive a FREE Pack of Limited Edition Futera UNIQUE 2014 Collection football cards!

PLUS 11 other Teams will each receive 1 new 2014 Loanstars FuteraVcard from the NEW Loanstars Set!

GOOD LUCK!

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online.
mark@futeraworldfootball.com

Terms:
i) For Teams successful in their claim for the ’10 free packs’ gift, please allow up to 3 working days for an email to be sent to you with the code for your 10 free packs (please check your Junk/Spam folder in case the email does not go directly into your Inbox).
ii) Only 1 ‘Free packs’ claim per customer (customers should not attempt to claim for multi-teams or will lose their eligibility for all the above free gift giveaway opportunities).
iii) FuteraVcards are virtual downladable cards and are not physical cards, and are not available in packs.
iv) The recipients of the Futera Unique 2014 Pack and the Loanstars FuteraVcards will be selected through a random prize software programme.
v) Please refer to our full terms in particular relating to offers, giveaways, draws, etc. at www.futera.com.

My first post

The original logo as presented on launch day of Futeraworldfootball.com

We get many questions regarding FWF Online and its features that I thought we’d create a blog where I could answer some of them, and at the same time give you an insight into the game and some of the latest developments, even before some go live…

FWF Online – an abbreviation for ‘Futera World Football Online’ – launched 5 years ago and is enjoyed by gamers, football fans and card collectors in over 100 countries worldwide, and in that time our community has grown and the game has taken on many new aspects. Over the years you guys have come up with some great ideas which have helped shape the game as we know it today.

Cards playable in the game never go out of date – from the inaugural launch of ’Series 1’ through to the current ’Series 4’ and Futera UNIQUE 2014 Collection cards and future releases.  In fact, generally the older a card becomes, usually the more difficult it is to find them, and the more rare (and normally sought after) they become!

I’ll use this blog to tell you about the latest things that the Development Team are working on and welcome your feedback… Have you got your own ideas of what you’d like to see in the game?  Can we improve on existing features that you like but could be more exciting or challenging?

It’s important to us that the game grows in the direction that you, the community, wants it to. Through this blog we’ll give you a voice…

I’ll be updating this on a regular basis, so look out for my next post!

Mark
Director & Head of Development FWF Online.
mark@futeraworldfootball.com