Update (Thu 9th Jan, 2020 11:30 GMT): We've received a statement from Sega explaining the disappearances. It says that licensing agreements are to blame for the games' removal, and that each version of Football Manager can only be sold "for a limited time".
"The nature of the licensing agreements that SEGA and Sports Interactive sign with clubs, leagues and players mean that we can only sell each version of Football Manager for a limited time. In this case, the removal of older versions of FM has nothing to do with Nintendo, but is due to clauses in those licensing agreements. This restriction applies to all versions of FM on all platforms (so you can no longer buy FM19 on Steam, for example)."
Original Article (Fri 20th December, 2019): Last week saw the launch of Football Manager 2020 Touch on Nintendo Switch, giving fans the chance to pick up the latest version from the eShop just in time for Christmas. Strangely, it would appear that the older versions - 2019 and 2018 - have been removed from the digital store to make way for the new title.
The oddity was brought to our attention by Nintendo Life reviewer and all-round good chap Chris Scullion. As you can see below, Chris has spotted that the pages for both the 2019 and 2018 games have been taken down, with the old URLs now taking you to error pages. Here's the link to what used to be Football Manager 2019, for example.
Now, the reasoning behind the removal isn't clear at this stage so we don't want to second guess Sega's intentions, but we're hoping that this isn't simply a way of forcing fans to pick up the latest version. For anyone who's not too fussed about getting the updated teams and the like, grabbing an older, reduced version makes a lot of sense; as it stands, the only way for new players to enjoy Football Manager is by buying the latest, full price edition.
We've contacted Sega for comment on the removal of the two games and will update this story if and when we hear back.