Reporting Discrimination

The FA


How to report discrimination – wherever it happens.



How you are supported, and what you need to do


As a referee, you’re on the frontline. But you’re never alone, because ending discrimination and abuse is everyone’s responsibility. 

Here’s everything you need to know about reporting unacceptable behaviour during your matches.

Respect and anti-discrimination


See how you’re supported as a referee. During the game. After the game. At all times. Get a helpful reminder of the steps you need to take if it happens during a game.




- Over 60% of reported discriminatory abuse lead to a charge. 

- Referees have the power to abandon the match if it doesn’t stop.

We’re all taking the strongest stand against discriminatory behaviour, and we’re ensuring you are supported as a referee.

Together, we can kick it out.

Respect for Referees

Referee points during a match


There’s no need for confrontation. Just a clear need to identify and report discriminatory behaviour through a set procedure designed to protect you and get results.

In the event of discriminatory behaviour, here’s what you should do:

1. At a break in play, you should be made aware of the incident.
2. You must then report it to a relevant club representative.
3. Next, this representative should speak to the individual involved to stop the discriminatory abuse.
4. Then speak to the managers and captains of both sides to confirm the way forward.
5. You have the authority to take the players off the field until the discriminatory behaviour ends. If it doesn’t, you have the authority to abandon the game.
6. Following the game, you should report any incident to the relevant County FA, even if you didn’t personally witness the discriminatory abuse.
7. You can also contact Kick it Out by emailing or on the app.

Kick it Out 

Inclusive Football for All


Remember, a really effective way to deal with dissent is use of the sin bin, a 10-minute temporary dismissal from the pitch. Sin bins were introduced across all levels of grassroots football in 2019 to improve levels of respect and fair play in the game. 

Find out more

What counts as discriminatory behaviour?

Language or conduct that it aggravated by ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability. Such behaviour needs to end. It has no part in our game.


Rainbow backdrop on pitch



frequently asked questions

This depends on how a complaint is made.

If they’ve emailed the County FA directly, they will get a return email to confirm receipt. 

If they’ve reported it to the Referee on the day, the Referee will report via their WGS portal into the County FA, who will send an email to confirm receipt.

If they’ve reported on the England Football website, the complaint is flagged in the Discipline Inbox of the County FA for them to action. Again, the County FA will send an email to confirm receipt.

If they’ve reported it on The website, the complaint is sent to Kick It Out, who will confirm receipt to the complainant or victim, then forward the complaint to the relevant County FA. 

It will be followed up immediately by the County FA. The County FA will first reach out to the complainant or victim and provide details of Sporting Chance who offer support for victims of discriminatory abuse. The County FA will then ask for further statements to support the allegations. It will also seek observations from the alleged offending club, and reports from the match officials. Once the investigation is concluded, a decision on a charge is made by the County FA with support from The FA and England Football.

The referee has always been the only individual who has authority to abandon a game. If anyone else does so, they will be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

The change for this season is if a club abandoned the fixture due to discriminatory abuse, then they wouldn’t be subjected to disciplinary proceedings providing liability is achieved for the discriminatory offence prior to the charge for the offending club being issued.