Football is played under The Laws of Association Football as laid down by the International Board of the Federation of International Football. If these laws are broken by those playing the game then there are discipline rules that must be applied by referees and administrators.

Football is a very emotive game and people’s passions are aroused. It is therefore necessary for referees to enforce the laws and see they are adhered to.

Players and coaches have a duty to see the game is played in the right spirit otherwise they will fall foul of the disciplinary punishments as laid down by The Football Association.

You can read the FA Disciplinary Sanctions Guidelines document at the foot of this page.


The FA Discipline Handbook for the 2016-17 season

The FA Discipline Handbook provides answers to many discipline related questions those involved in the game across our county may have including implications of yellow cards, red cards and misconduct charges. 

The handbook should be a club secretary or player’s first port of call for discipline enquiries after which they should contact our office if they need further clarification.

Click here to access The FA Discipline Handbook


Dealing with Discipline Paperwork

A few tips on how to deal with Football Discipline charges and papers.

Who is Responsible?

  • Initially it is the club's responsibility to pay the fine and complete the Misconduct Form, giving full details of the player.
  • Players over 16 years of age must then reimburse the club. Any other clubs he plays for should also be included on the form. It should be signed by the club secretary.

Club Statement

  • A club secretary will receive a club statement if his/her club has any discipline actions being processed against them, outstanding cases to deal with and/or any upcoming suspensions
  • Club statements are sent out on a weekly basis during the football season
  • Clubs can check their outstanding cases 24 hours a day, seven days a week using the Members' Services section of the website


  • No right of appeal except in the case of mistaken identity
  • An admin fee of £10.00 is charged
  • Must be paid within 14 days of the date of notification

Standard (red card offences) and misconduct charges

  • For standard charges, a standard punishment is offered to the offender
  • A misconduct charge can be issued to any participant in football (including players, club officials, clubs etc) 
  • Any punishments for misconduct charges are set at a hearing
  • Any cases or alleged cases of mistaken identity must be made to the county FA in writing within two days of the match date by the club and player. The matter will then be investigated.




Serious Foul Play

3 Matches

Violent Conduct

3 Matches

Spitting at an Opponent

3 Matches

Use of offensive, or insulting or abusive language

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 inform the county and update them once the fixtures have been announced.

If the team has no more fixtures remaining at the end of a season, the suspension is lifted and commences on the opening day of the new season.

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

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 decides that the result from the abandoned fixture stands. All fixtures must be completed in order for the fixture to count.

Leagues can only deal with the status of the fixture once all disciplinary action has been completed by the county association. Leagues are not permitted to charge the clubs with causing the game to be abandoned and can only make a decision on the status of the game.

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 use both fixtures as qualifying matches.

Personal Hearings

  • Any player or club who has been charged has the right to request a personal hearing if they disagree with the referee's report and/or punishment issued
  • Hearing fee is £30.00 (refundable if case is not proved)
  • All participants receive a 'Guide to Personal Hearings'


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