CM97/98 marked a step forward for this aspect of the game - nine playable nations/league systems, three times more than in the previous version. It was also the first time ever that players could run more than one league concurrently (up to three in this edition). For example, the English, Spanish and Italian leagues would all be simulated and players could manage a club in any of these nations and move between them. It also allowed the user to view results and league tables in these selected leagues, adding to the sense of realism. The full selection of playable leagues was as follows:
This was also the first time in the series that the Portuguese league system had ever been a playable league.
- Championship Manager 97/98 was the top selling PC game of 1997, despite Sports Interactive encouraging game-sharing by not including any CD-protection; The game could be installed on any number of PCs without needing a copy of the CD to play it, which indicates that it was most likely even more popular than it seemed. SI have since said that this move was to gain as much exposure from the CM2 series as possible before the release of the CM3 series.