Misconduct Charges

Misconduct Charges

If the County FA has determined that a player or club has committed a breach of FA Regulations outside of a standard red or yellow card offence, we may raise a Misconduct charge against the player or Club. 

These charges can be accepted or denied, and the individual/Club charged has the option to defend themselves in person should they wish.


Frequently asked questions about Misconduct Charges

A County FA will raise disciplinary charges for incidents of misconduct which occur outside of on-field disciplinary procedures, or where an on-field incident meets certain criteria. Charges can be raised against players, club officials, match officials or against clubs themselves for failing to ensure their players and/or officials and/or spectators conduct themselves in an orderly manner.

The club secretary will be notified when a charge has been raised. The case papers and case file are available for download from the Whole Game System. It is the club secretary’s responsibility to ensure the player is notified of the charge and confirm how they wish to respond.

The player/club charged must confirm if they accept or deny the charge and if they wish the case to be dealt with by correspondence or they wish to attend a personal hearing. There is a fee for personal hearings (£50 at Step 5-7, £30 at Non-NLS/Youth), which will be returned if the case is found not proven.

For more information, please see our section on Disciplinary Hearings, and our Football Services Guide to Misconduct Charges.

A County FA can raise an alternate (lower) charge when raising a serious misconduct charge.

The County FA will raise an alternate charge if they are confident that an incident occurred, but there is uncertainty over whether the threshold of the higher charge has been reached; for example whether or not a player made physical contact with a referee during a confrontation, or whether an injury sustained by an individual constitutes “serious bodily injury”.

The player must respond to both aspects of the charge, but the primary (higher) charge will always be considered first. The alternate charge will only be considered should the primary (higher) charge be found not proven.

For more information, please see our Football Services Guides to Alternate Charges.

An “aggravated” breach of FA Regulations is when an individual or Club has been found proven of committing an act of misconduct which is “aggravated” by including reference to one of the following protected characteristics:

Ethnic Origin
Religion or belief
Sexual Orientation
Gender or gender reassignment

A charge can be for direct or implicit reference to one of these characteristics. 

For more information please see our Football Services Guide to Aggravated Charges

FA Rule E20(a) states that “Each Affiliated Association, Competition and Club shall be responsible for ensuring that its directors, players, officials, employees, servants, representatives, spectators, and all persons purporting to be its supporters or followers, conduct themselves in an orderly fashion and refrain from any one or combination of the following: improper, violent, threatening, abusive, indecent, insulting or provocative words or behaviour, (including, without limitation, where any such conduct, words or behaviour includes a reference, whether express or implied, to any one or more of ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability) whilst attending at or taking part in a Match in which it is involved, whether on its own ground or elsewhere.”

Charges will automatically be raised under FA Rule E20 when:

1. Any Team within the Club reaches 75 disciplinary points;
2. The Club has four or more proven incidents of violent conduct across all teams;
(Includes: Red cards or misconduct charges for violent conduct, misconduct charges for assault and misconduct charges for physical contact on a match official) 
3. The Club has two proven misconduct charges across all teams relating to the abandonment of games; 
4. The Club has two or more charges found proven against any of its players for aggravated breaches of FA regulations.

The same offence can count towards multiple E20 charges.  

For more information, please see our Football Services Guide to Continuing Misconduct Charges

The individual/Club charged has the option to request that the case be dealt with by correspondence, or at a personal hearing. In both situations, the case will be heard by a trained Disciplinary Commission.

At a “non-personal” or “correspondence” hearing, the Commission are presented with all written evidence relating to the case (including any written evidence submitted denying the charge), and will determine if they find the charge proven or not proven. 

If it is found proven, the Commission will review the individual/Club’s five year disciplinary history and determine appropriate sanctions based on The FA’s Sanction Guidelines.

For more information on Personal Hearings, please refer to our separate section on Disciplinary Hearings.

Any party found guilty of a misconduct charge heard by the County FA can appeal the decision to The Football Association.

Intention to appeal must be lodged in writing to the Football Association by e-mail to Disciplinary@TheFA.com within seven days of the decision.

Full written reasons must then be lodged, along with a £100 (Steps 5 - 7) or £50 (Non-NLS/Youth) appeal fee within fourteen days of the decision. Submissions after this time will not be considered. Should the appeal be unsuccessful, the appeal fee may be retained by The FA. Further costs may also be awarded against the unsuccessful party.

The written reasons must state on which of the following four grounds the appeal is being lodged:

That the body whose decision is appealed against…

1. failed to give the appellant a fair hearing; and/or
2. misinterpreted or failed to comply with the rules or regulations relevant to its decision; and/or
3. came to a decision to which no reasonable such body could have come; and/or
4. imposed a penalty, award, order or sanction that was excessive.

For more information please see our Football Services Guide to Misconduct (FA) Appeals 

The County FA works closely with Leagues to identify misconduct and to take proactive action to improve discipline within the competition.  Leagues are kept advised of all misconduct charges and suspensions through a weekly League Statement accessed via the Whole Game System. A League is not able to issue a suspension to a player or Club official themselves – this is something only the County FA or The FA has the power to do.  

Sometimes an incident occurs which will require action by both the County FA and League (for example where a player plays under suspension or a match is abandoned due to the conduct of one or both Teams). Under FA Regulations, Leagues are not permitted to take action over disciplinary incidents until the County FA and/or The FA have completed their disciplinary processes. The County FA works to resolve such cases within 28 days of report in order to allow the competition to progress as quickly as possible. Once the County FA or The FA have resolved the matter (either through the disciplinary process or by deciding no further action is required), the League can take action under their internal Rules.

For more information about the League’s involvement, please see our Misconduct Communication Flowchart