FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION

                        Challenge Cup]                   [Sunday Cup]                       [Embleton Cup]  







Minor team

County Info







This handbook covers Disciplinary Procedures for teams dealt with by County Associations under Match Based and

Time Based Discipline Regulations.

From the start of 2011/2012 season all open aged football will receive Match Based suspensions i.e. Saturday, Sunday,

Midweek and Veterans. All Discipline in Youth and Small Sided football will remain time based.

In 2009/2010 season five leagues outside of the National League System operated under the Match Based Disciplinary procedures as a pilot, they were Kershaw, West Riding Amateur, Suburban, Bedfordshire & District Sunday and Herefordshire Saturday Leagues. Last season The FA included the Cambridge & District Sunday League and the St. Neots Sunday League who, along with the above Leagues piloted the system.

The FA Council agreed that all open aged football from the start of 2011/2012 would operate under Match Based

Discipline regulations which will improve the consistency of sanctions across the Country and ensure suspensions that are imposed on Players are fair and in proportion to the offence they have been charged with.

Please note, the information in this document is correct at time of print. You will be notified of any alterations.


Standard Charges

If you have a Player sent off it is a fact the Player will be suspended 14 days after the date of the game.You will receive the following information from your County Association:

  •  Letter from your County Association providing details of the charge

  •  Reply form

  •  Copy of the Match Officials report on which the charge is based

If a Player is sent off on a Saturday, the suspension will be from Saturday type football only. This would mean should the Player participate on a Sunday or in a midweek league, they will still be able to play for these teams whilst the Player is serving the ban from Saturday type football. This is the same for a Player who is sent off in Sunday football, they can still play on a Saturday.

Qualifying matches for a suspension can only be for the team whom the Player was playing for at the time they were

sent off. If a Club operates a number of teams and is dismissed from one team, that Player is unable to participate until the team he/she were sent off for play the appropriate number of games relevant to the Players suspension. e.g. A Player is sent off playing for the First team, the Player is unable to play for the Reserves or any other team until the First team have played the number of qualifying matches that relates to the Players suspension.

Standard Charge Suspension

Serious Foul Play 3 Matches

Violent Conduct 3 Matches

Spitting at an Opponent 6 Matches

Use of offensive, or insulting or abusive language directed at a Match Official 2 Matches

Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball 1 Match

Denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by an offence punishable by a free kick or penalty kick 1 Match

Receiving a Second Caution in a Match 1 Match

(Please note a standard fine will also be imposed on the Player)

The amount of games a Player will be suspended for is the same for everyone who operates under the Match Based Discipline System, therefore the Player/Club will already be aware of how many games the Player will miss prior to receiving the reports from the Parent County Association.

If the fixtures that a Player is due to miss change for any reason you must notify your County Association immediately,  If you are awaiting details of upcoming fixtures, please return the form stating this clearly and send an updated copy once the fixtures are known.

If there are not enough fixtures left in a season to complete a suspension please return the form stating this clearly. Once the fixtures for the following season are released you must update your County Association.

The Player is free from suspension between the last qualifying fixture of the season and the opening qualifying fixture of the new season

  • If a player is dismissed from the field of play in normal circumstances the matches which would qualify for suspension will be matches for the team which the player was dismissed for at the time.


  •  An abandoned fixture will not count towards clearing a Player of suspension as it is not a completed fixture, any Misconduct received in the fixture will still be processed. Importantly, this is still the case even if a League decide that the result from the abandoned fixture stands.

To clarify, a Player who is sent off playing for his Club on a Saturday will be suspended only from Saturday football until the Player has served the correct amount of qualifying matches for that type of football.

A Player who is sent off on a Sunday, will be suspended only from Sunday football, therefore will be able to continue for their Saturday side, whilst the suspension is being served.

A game that is classed as a ‘double header’ where teams play each other twice on the same day is classed as two matches. A Player can therefore serve their final suspension on the first game, and be eligible to play in the second game.

Suspensions under the match based discipline system commence 21 days from the date of the fixture. If you have not received correspondence relating to a fixture within 10 days you must contact the County Association immediately. The suspension is to be in qualifying matches of the Club relating to the team for whom the Player was playing for at the time.

Non-receipt of paperwork is not a valid defence where a charge is issued for playing whilst under suspension.

Continuing Misconduct - 2 or more Sending’s off in a Season

Players who are dismissed from the field of play for a second time in the same season, in addition to the automatic suspension applicable to the offence, will be suspended for one extra match. A Player who is dismissed for a third time in the same season will be suspended for an extra two matches, and so on.

Qualifying Matches

The following competitions will qualify for a Player to serve the suspension imposed by the County FA:

  •    FA Competitions (Cup, Trophy, Vase, Women’s Cup and FA Sunday Cup)

  •    League Matches

  •    League Cup Matches (subject to being confirmed by the County FA)

  •    Parent County Cup Matches (subject to being confirmed by the County FA)

If you are Sent Off on a Saturday, the suspension is from Saturday type football only. You will be able to play on Sundays.

If you are Sent Off on a Sunday, the suspension is from Sunday type football only. You will be able to play on Saturdays.

Standard Charges - Responses

When a Player receives a Standard Charge after being sent off from the field of play, the suspension will commence 21 days after the date of the sending off. For example, Player is sent off on Sunday 6th March 2011 for Violent Conduct, they will serve a 3 Match Suspension, commencing Sunday 27th March 2011.

When you receive the Standard letter from the County, along with the Match Officials report, you must complete the pro-forma and return this to the County within the specified time, detailing which games the Player will miss. If you are unaware of the forthcoming fixtures, you must notify the County, and once the fixtures have been released, complete the form and return it to them.

There are no appeals against a Standard Charge, personal hearings will not take place if a Player receives a red card. If you believe you have a Claim of Wrongful Dismissal or a Claim of Mistaken Identity you must adhere to the procedures.

On ALL Standard Charges the Players signature is not required on the response form. The Club Secretary is duty bound to inform the Player of their suspension and it is the Players duty to ensure that he does not play 21 days after being sent off. The Player knows he was sent off, and therefore knows they will be serving a suspension as its a matter of fact.

Standard Charges - Appeals

Appeal - Claim of Wrongful Dismissal / Mistaken Identity

In all cases the appeal fee, which must be submitted with details of your appeal is £50, for Clubs outside the National League system the fee is £30

Day of Dismissal        Notification to the County FA           Relevant Appeal fee, DVD.Video evidence of

                                   of your intention to appeal by 5pm       the incident and any other correspondence

                                                                                                       to by received by 5pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Saturday                                   Monday                                             Wednesday

Sunday                                     Monday                                              Wednesday

Monday                                   Tuesday                                              Thursday

Tuesday                                   Wednesday                                         Friday

Wednesday                             Thursday                                            Monday

Thursday                                  Friday                                                  Tuesday

Friday                                       Monday                                             Wednesday

Time limits for a Claim are strict, claims received late will not be considered

(If Bank Holidays fall within the period, the appropriate number of extra days will be made available)

Wrongful Dismissal

(You must provide DVD/Video footage that the Match Official made a serious and obvious error in dismissing the Player from the field of play)

A dismissal from the field of play for S6 (using offensive language and/or insulting and/or abusive language and/or gestures) or S7 (receiving a second caution in the same match) is not within the criteria for a claim.

A Club must, within one working day of the match, notify the County Association of their intention to lodge a claim. They must submit to the County Association a DVD/video recording, which shows the full incident leading to the dismissal of the Player, together with written reasons for the claim of wrongful dismissal, any supporting evidence and the relevant appeal within three working days.

Please be aware that the DVD/video must show that the Match Official made a serious and obvious error.

If a claim is successful the appeal fee will be returned and the suspension/fine will be removed from the Player’s record. However, the details of the dismissal will remain.

Mistaken Identity

(The Match Official dismissed the wrong Player from the field of play)

A Club must submit to the County Association written reasons for the claim, any supporting evidence and the appeal fee, within three working days of the match. If a claim is successful the appeal fee will be returned and the suspension/fine will be removed from the incorrect Player’s record and transferred to the correct Player.

Misconduct Charges

A Misconduct Charge will be issued where an incident is reported which does not fall under standard dismissal offences or is a serious offence. A Discipline Commission will convene to consider all Misconduct Cases, whether the response to the charge is accepted or denied.

A Player can be charged with Misconduct following being dismissed from the field of play e.g. Player is sent off for violent conduct (will receive the standard three match ban), and before leaving the field of play used abusive/insulting comments towards a match official. The latter would be dealt with as Misconduct and subsequently the Player will have a second charge that they need to respond to, having the options to accept or deny the charge.

A Club or an Associate with the Club, e.g. Manager, Coach, Physio can also be charged with Misconduct, the response to the charge is the same as detailed below.

If you receive a Misconduct Charge and it is found Proven, you will be suspended

from ALL Football

If you are issued with a Misconduct Charge you will receive the following correspondence from your County FA:

  •   Charge Sheet explaining the details of the charge levied against you

  •   Response Sheet which details your options when responding to the charge

  •   Reports on which the charge/s is/are based

On the response sheet you will be offered four options, one of which you must choose:

A. I am pleading guilty to the charge and I wish the case to be dealt with in my absence. I request any correspondence that I have submitted to be considered and I await the decision of the Disciplinary Commission as to my punishment.

Where shown the Participant/Club must send the administration fee. A Discipline Commission will consider the case, taking into consideration the Participants/Club discipline record from the previous five years and all documentation that has been sent to them in relation to the case. The Commission will impose a punishment, if any, that they deem appropriate.

B. I am pleading guilty to the charge and I wish to attend a Discipline Hearing to enter a verbal plea for leniency. The personal hearing fee of £50.00 in addition to the administration fee of £10.00 is enclosed where applicable. I am aware that I am accepting the charge and I will not be able to question the basis of the charge and that the match officials will not be in attendance.

Where shown the Participant/Club must sent the administration fee along with the hearing fee. The appellant, having already accepted the charge, will put forward verbal mitigation in relation to the case, which could include previous discipline history. A Commission will consider the appellant’s submission and impose a punishment that they deem appropriate. The charge has already been accepted so the Match Officials report will not be able to be contested by the appellant.

C. I am pleading not guilty to the charge, as indicated above and I wish the case to be dealt with in my absence. I request any correspondence that I have submitted be considered and I will await the decision of the Disciplinary Commission.

The Participant/Club must submit the relevant administration fee to the County, along with all relevant documentation that the Participant/Club wish the Discipline Commission to consider. If the Discipline Commission find the case Not Proven the case is concluded, with no further action taken and the details being expunged from the Players record.

If the Discipline Commission decide the case is proven, they will consider the Participant/Clubs previous five year history, and, where appropriate, impose a punishment.

D. I am pleading not guilty to the charge, as indicated above and I wish to attend a Disciplinary Hearing. The personal hearing fee of £50.00 in addition to the administration fee of £10.00 are enclosed where applicable, together with written reasons as to why I am requesting a personal hearing and the number of witnesses I intend to represent me, along with any other documentation to be considered.

The Participant/Club must submit the relevant hearing fee, and administration fee (where applicable) to the County Association. A full list of witnesses who will be attending and the reason why the Personal Hearing has been requested also needs to be submitted to the County Association (and any other documentation you may wish for a Commission to consider at the hearing). A Personal Hearing will be called for the case to be heard. Should the case be found proven the Commission can exercise the right to impose costs.

If you deny any aspect of the charge and report on which it is based you must select option C or D.

In all cases you must return the response form, along with the appropriate monies, within 14 days from the date that the charge was issued. Any responses received after this this date will not be accepted. A Discipline Commission will be convened to consider the case, based upon the correspondence that was presented at the time. (Please note where there is already one offence arising from one Referees report a administration fee will not be added)

Upon receiving the decision, you are entitled to appeal if the punishment exceeds 3 matches and/or £25 fine.

Punishments imposed from a Misconduct Charge will result in the Player being Suspended from playing ALL football.

A Player who receives a match suspension as a result of a misconduct charge is unable to participate in any football, until the team he was charged playing for serves the qualifying amount of fixtures, as imposed by a Discipline Commission.

Multiple / Lesser Charges

A County Association, based upon the Match Officials report, may find it appropriate to raise multiple charges against the Player/Club or raise a Higher charge. When responding if the Player/Club have pleaded Not Guilty to the higher charge they must also respond to the lesser charge, that way should a Commission find the higher charge Not Proven they will automatically consider the Lesser charge.

Multiple Charges

A Multiple Charge is where more than one charge has been raised from the same game, and all charges must be responded to, pleading guilty or not guilty where appropriate. An example of a Multiple Charge would be where a Player has been charged with Assault on a Player or other Participant and also have a charge of Causing the game to be abandoned. Both charges require a response.

On Multiple Charges you are able to respond by accepting one charge, and denying a second charge. Your response to the charges are not required to be the same. Please take your time to complete all of the paperwork before returning the forms and payment to the County Association.

Lesser Charges

Where appropriate a County Association may raise a Higher Charge and a Lesser Charge against an individual. Upon receipt of the notification from the County Association the Player will be required to respond to the first charge, which will be detailed. The Player will be required to either tick Guilty or Not Guilty.

An example would be that the Higher Charge, 1a Use of abusive words or gestures - considered to be mid range.

A Lesser Charge of 1b Use of abusive words or gestures - considered to be less serious.

Should the Player choose Guilty, the Lesser Charge, detailed as 1b would no longer exist and therefore would not require a response.

If the Player pleads Not Guilty to the Higher Charge (1a), at the same time he will also have to make a plea of Guilty or

Not Guilty for the Lesser Charge (1b). The Lesser charge will only be considered should a Discipline Commission find

the higher charge Not Proven.

When returning the form make sure it has been completed in full where required

by the Club and the Player