Every individual or Club has the right to request a Personal Hearing to deny a misconduct charge raised against them, or present mitigation in person to plead for leniency.
If you have submitted evidence against an individual or Club which has resulted in a misconduct charge being raised, you may be asked to attend a Personal Hearing to present your evidence and answer questions relating to it in person.
We acknowledge that disciplinary hearings can be a daunting experience, no matter how old or experienced you may be. There are very strict regulations for the format of disciplinary hearings in order to ensure there is fairness and consistency across all hearings throughout the country. This page provides additional information relating to the misconduct process, the kinds of disciplinary hearings that may occur, and what you can expect on the night.
There are three key stages to a disciplinary hearing:
1. Questioning of County FA witnesses. The County FA will invite those witnesses who provided statements in support of the charge to attend the hearing. The Participant charged and the Commission will have the opportunity to ask them questions regarding their statement; however the witness cannot ask questions of the Participant charged.
2. Questioning of defence witnesses. After the County FA witnesses have been questioned, the Participant charged puts forward their own statement denying the charge and the Commission can ask them questions. Once this has been completed the Participant charged can call witnesses in support of their defence. Both the Participant charged and the Commission will have the opportunity to ask questions of each defence witness.
3. Deliberation. After all witnesses have entered their evidence, the Participant charged has a final opportunity to sum up their defence before the commission deliberates on whether they believe the charge is proven or not proven. The Commission has to be satisfied that that the charge is proven on the balance of probability – i.e that it is more likely than not that the incident occurred.
Please note that the Disciplinary Commission is entitled to adopt whatever procedures they deem appropriate to ensure the hearing is considered in an appropriate and fair manner.
If there are under 18s attending a disciplinary hearing, additional procedures will be in place in the interest of Child Safeguarding. Please refer to our Football Services Guide to Young People in Disciplinary Hearings for more information.
When multiple misconduct charges are raised relating to the same incident, all cases must be heard by the same commission in one “consolidated” hearing. Please refer to our Football Services Guide to Consolidated Hearings for more information.
Frequently asked questions about Disciplinary Hearings
You will be asked to attend a disciplinary hearing if you have denied a charge and requested a personal hearing to defend yourself/your Club, or if you have provided material witness which led to the County FA raising a misconduct charge against another individual/Club, who have subsequently denied the charge and requested a Personal Hearing.
If you are the individual charged with an offence and you have requested a Personal Hearing, you must attend in person.
Match officials have a duty to attend Disciplinary Hearings as part of their role.
Other individuals providing statements (e.g. opposition players/officials –also known as “County FA Witnesses”) are expected to attend a hearing to support the statement they have provided, however we cannot force an individual to attend.
Please note that if you do provide a statement but are not prepared to attend a hearing, your statement will generally carry less weight before a disciplinary commission, so any allegation is less likely to be found proven.
The individual/Club charged is entitled to bring any witnesses they feel appropriate.
County FA witnesses are not permitted to bring additional witnesses; however you are allowed to bring another individual with you for moral support. It will be at the Commission’s discretion whether to allow any other individual to observe the hearing itself.
An individual/Club charged is allowed to be represented in a disciplinary hearing by any other individual, including a club representative or legal professional; however please remember that the individual charged must still attend the hearing.
If you opt for legal represented, you must provide at least seven days’ notice of your intention to be represented.
More information can be found in the following documents: