The FA will introduce point deductions for teams across the grassroots game from the start of the 2023/24 season if their players or coaches commit repeated offences of serious misconduct.
This landmark development has been approved by the Football Regulatory Authority and ratified by the FA Council, and it is part of The FA’s commitment to tackle and address incidents of unacceptable behaviour in the game.
The tougher sanctions follow consistent feedback from across grassroots football that player behaviour is a significant issue, and will specifically target offending teams where its participants commit serious misconduct, making clear to clubs that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated.
Point deductions will apply to clubs at Step 7 and below of the men’s game, and clubs across Tier 3 and below in the women’s pyramid, which commit cumulative incidents of serious misconduct, such as acts of discrimination and assault or attempted assault, physical contact or attempted physical contact against a match official.
Deductions will range from three to 12 points depending on the number of breaches within 12 months of the team’s first offence and severity of the case(s).
FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: "This is a significant step for grassroots football in England, and clearly outlines our commitment to tackle incidents of serious misconduct. We frequently hear from grassroots participants that player behaviour is a growing issue and we’re determined to change this. So from the start of the 2023/24 season, players and coaches who repeatedly offend will hurt their team by losing points. Unacceptable behaviour towards other players and officials will not be tolerated.
"We hope this proves to be a strong deterrent which helps to improve the culture within the grassroots game. We’re also working with the professional leagues and other stakeholders to tackle poor behaviour in the professional game and will provide an update on this ahead of next season."
FA Senior Discipline Manager Fraser Williamson added: "We care deeply about ensuring everybody within grassroots football has a good experience and can enjoy the game in a positive environment. We’ve acted on the feedback that we’ve received and it’s great to see this important step come to fruition. Our County FAs work very hard to bring local communities together through the love of football and we hope this will help to make our grassroots game more inclusive and welcoming for all."
The FA continues to work with the wider game and the English football authorities to identify new ways to improve behaviour at every level, and further details will be announced before the start of the 2023/24 season.
More information on the sanctioning guidelines across the grassroots game can be found in the Sanctions Guidelines e-booklet.