Sports Interactive has announced that Football Manager Live will be closing at the end of the next in-game season - the end of May.

"Simply put, with the current level of subscribers, we can no longer afford to keep the game alive," explained Miles Jacobson, studio director at Sports Interactive.

He added: "We've tried various marketing initiatives since the reset, including Google advertising, mail shots to over 100,000 people who have declared interest in the game, as well as the constant advertising to people playing Football Manager 2011 via the in game advertising hoardings which have been very successful for the third parties who advertise in game, but none of them have seen a great upswing in new or returning users.

"There are other things we could have tried but, to be frank, the market just isn't there to make the game viable and that's due to the design decisions that we made along the way."

Jacobson also ruled out moving to the increasingly popular free to play model.

"The MMO market has changed massively since we started working on the game. Very few subscriber fee games have survived, with many that started in this way switching to a free-to-play model. And with the way FML is, free-to-play just wouldn't work within the design of the game," he explained.

While Jacobson acknowledged the decision will leave current players disappointed, he hopes they will enjoy the time left with the game.

"We know that there are going to be lots of disappointed people out there with this decision, especially the 8,000 or so current subscribers that have supported the game through thick and thin," said Jacobson. "To each of you, we thank you for playing the game. For any of you who do play the final season of FML, which we hope will be all of you that are left playing at the moment, we will give each of you a Steam code for a free copy of Football Manager 2011 shortly after the final game of the final season so that you can hopefully still get some fun out of our work. If you already have a copy of FM2011, you will be able to give this code to a friend."

He concluded: "Once again, we thank all of you for the huge amount of feedback that you've given to this project over the years, and the huge amount of hours you've each spent playing the game. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we have done, and understand our decision. And to be clear, it was our decision, not SEGA's, who have been nothing but supportive with the project over the years."

There is however, some good news. The game's closure won't result in any job losses, with everyone currently working on FML at SI being given new roles on other projects.

When it worked Football Manager Live was a fantastic game with a great sense of community, but dwindling subscriber numbers meant the "online" element became increasingly lost as matches were played out against AI managers.

Even with constant updates - which have completely overhauled the game since release - plus a dramatic reset of the game worlds, FM Live simply couldn't attract a large enough audience willing to pay £5 a month.