The FA Discipline Guide

Discipline

Players should be familiar with the fact that they must abide by the Laws of Association Football and that the Match Officials enforce these Laws. The consequences of breaches of the Laws of Association Football are cautions, dismissal from the field of play and possible charges from the County FA.

Participants are likely to be less familiar with the wide range of disciplinary procedures and to assist this The FA has developed guidance to summarise the County Disciplinary Procedures at Step 5 and below.


The FA Discipline Handbook 2017-18

The Discipline Handbook 2017-18 is an online interactive reference guide to aid Leagues, Clubs and Players through the forthcoming season.

You can access the handbook by clicking on the following link: The FA Discipline Handbook 2017-18

The handbook will be a useful guide to explain the disciplinary process and details the changes that have taken place over the last few years – including match based discipline, sin bin trials, sanction guidelines, the whole game system and changes to handling discrimination. This year’s guide also includes videos and resources that will go into greater depth to explain the disciplinary process.


Videos:

  • Introduction from Mark Ives, Disciplinary Manager
  • Sin Bin Trials
  • Eligibility of Players in Fixtures
  • Who is responsible for ensuring Players are not suspended before they play?
  • Wrongful Dismissals
  • Why have the RESPECT sanctions been introduced?
  • Player Insurance
  • Whole Game System
  • What steps are The FA Taking to improve handling of discrimination cases?
  • Reporting Discrimination - Grassroots Players and Supporters
  • Why do County FA's issue fines in youth football?
  • Sharing your ideas to improve grassroots football


Resources:

  • Board of Appeal
  • Guide to the Appeals process
  • Standard Code of Rules Template
  • Standard Code of Rules Youth
  • Reporting Discrimination booklets for grassroots players and supporters
  • Sanction Guidelines - UPDATED for 2017-18

There is also a Leagues section to provide guidance for administrators regarding the Powers and Duties of the League.

Further Information

There may be occasions when are you are asked to attend to a County Disciplinary Hearing – either as a Player charged with misconduct, or attending as a witness to misconduct, or as a Match Official giving evidence.

The FA has produced a series of guides to help prepare you for the hearing and let you know what to expect covering topics such as:

  • What should I bring with to the hearing?
  • What should I wear?
  • Can I bring witnesses with me?
  • How long do Personal Hearings normally last?
  • What happens if I am not happy with the result of my Hearing?
  • Procedures for young people

 These can be downloaded from the resources section below.

The Chairman's checklist is a useful aid for County FA Commission Chairman to ensure that all the necessary processes have been correctly followed. It can also help Participants understand the general format of their hearing. It should be noted that this document is just a guide and not compulsory so Commissions may adopt varying approaches. You can download this from the documents section below.

Over recent years The Football Association have been promoting RESPECT visibly both on and off the pitch with the aim to reduce the bad discipline, increase and promote good behaviour from Players, Clubs and all individuals who are involved in the game.

An automatic charge has been introduced which will affect Clubs at Steps 5-7 and outside the National League System called ‘RESPECT’. This charge will be raised by the County should a team receive 10 or more yellow/red cards in a season for Dissent or Foul & Abusive language.

The table below provides further details on the sanction that will be imposed when if the thresholds are to be exceeded by a team throughout the season. Please note: The only discipline that counts towards the charge are cautions for dissent and sendings off for foul and abusive language.

Step 5

Stage 1 (accumulation of six offences): Warning as to future conduct

Stage 2 (accumulation of 10 offences): £150

Stage 3 (accumulation of 15 offences): £300

Stage 4 (accumulation of 20 offences): Charge under FA rule E20 - Failure to control players

Step 6 & 7

Stage 1 (accumulation of six offences): Warning as to future conduct

Stage 2 (accumulation of 10 offences): £75

Stage 3 (accumulation of 15 offences): £150

Stage 4 (accumulation of 20 offences): Charge under FA rule E20 - Failure to control players

Outside National League System (including youth)

Stage 1 (accumulation of six offences): Warning as to future conduct
Stage 2 (accumulation of 10 offences): £50
Stage 3 (accumulation of 15 offences): £100
Stage 4 (accumulation of 20 offences): Charge under FA rule E20 - Failure to control players

Our principle is that the sporting sanction should be consistent across ALL levels of the game and the fluctuating element would be the monetary sanction imposed to reflect the level of game.

The Sanction Guidelines document enables clubs and players to be aware of the guidance given to County Associations and Disciplinary Commissions for when assessing and deciding on disciplinary cases. This document will serve as a useful guide for Participants to have an awareness of likely sanction should the case against them be found proven.

You can download this from the resources section below.

Changes have been made to permit wrongful dismissal claims at Steps 5-7 and below without having to submit video evidence as we understand that not all games at these levels are filmed. However, we do require that the match footage is submitted when available to help demonstrate that the Referee made an obvious error in dismissing a player. The deadlines for appeal and submitting evidence have also been amended to be more beneficial for Clubs operating at Steps 5 to 7 and below – appeals will still be heard before any suspension is due to commence.