FA Rules and Governance

Welcome to The FA Rules and Governance section of the County FA website. The FA will use this section to provide useful information and resources for Leagues, Clubs, and Players.

The FA Discipline Handbook 2016-17

The Discipline Handbook 2016-17 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 2016-17

The FA Discipline Handbook 2016-17

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, 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.


  • Introduction from Mark Ives, Disciplinary Manager
  • Eligibility of Players in Fixtures
  • Who is responsible for ensuring Players are not suspended before they play?
  • Wrongful Dismissals
  • Why have the new RESPECT sanctions been introduced?
  • Player Insurance
  • What to expect when attending a County FA hearing
  • 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


  • Caution Paperwork
  • Sending Off Paperwork
  • 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 2016-17

           Chairman's Checklist

  • The Chairmans 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.

    Sanction Guidelines

    UPDATED FOR 2016-17 - download from resources section below.

    In 2011 The Football Association decided to implement a Sanctions Guideline document to improve consistency across all Associations in the application of sanctions. This document will serve as a useful guide and will enable Participants to have an awareness of likely sanction should the case against them be found proven. You can download this from the documents section below.

    Respect Charges

    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.

    To assist with this change a new charge has been introduced which will affect Clubs at Steps 5-7 and outside the National League System called ‘RESPECT’, which will be an automatic charge 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.  To clarify that the only discipline that counts towards the charge are cautions for dissent and sending's off for foul and abusive language:

    The FA Rules and Governance website 

    The Rules and Governance website will help provide a better understanding of the role of The FA's governance department and governance of the game in general. The purpose of the site is to enable everyone involved in the game, whether with a league or club, as a player, match official ,or as a spectator, to have a better understanding of the role we all play in the governance of the game. Click here to access site.

    Wrongful Dismissals

    Changes have been made to permit wrongful dismissal claims 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 – appeals will still be heard before any suspension is due to commence.

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