Code of Conduct introduced to address on-field behaviour

Thursday 06 Aug 2015
The new Code addresses players faking injury

A new technical area Code of Conduct is being introduced as part of a series of measures to address on-field behaviour in English football.

The Code, to commence from the start of the 2015/16 season, follows detailed consultation between The FA, Premier League, Football League, National League, League Managers Association, Professional Footballers' Association and Professional Game Match Officials Limited.

It seeks to clarify what is and is not acceptable behaviour and where action is expected from the match officials.

The FA has also taken steps in respect of misconduct towards match officials following a steep rise in the number of ‘surrounding a match official’ charges issued last season.

Whereas previously, a club could face action if three or more players and/or club officials approached a match official in a confrontational manner, that number has now been reduced to two or more. 

This change is intended to deal with incidents where a succession of players confront an official albeit only one or two at a time are actually involved.   

The FA has also made changes to what determining factors lead to a ‘surrounding’ incident being deemed serious enough that a standard punishment is not sufficient, such as continued protests after a decision has been made or attempts to follow the match official as they move away. 

Elsewhere, following its successful introduction into the Premier League, the procedure for dealing with 'not seen' incidents has been extended to all competitions through to the National League.

“Passion will run high but it is important there is clarity around what standards are expected”

Darren Bailey 
Director of football governance and regulation

Any on-field incident 'not seen' by the match officials and deemed serious enough to warrant possible further disciplinary action will be reviewed by a panel of three former elite referees independently of each other. 

It is only when all three panel members consider the incident to be a dismissal offence that The FA will consider issuing a retrospective charge.

The FA has also sought to address the few occasions when a player attempts to have an opponent dismissed for violent conduct by faking injury or exaggeration. 

If the dismissed player is successful in overturning his sending-off and it is clear that the opposing player had not, for example, been struck as implied/claimed or at all, then a disciplinary charge may follow.

Darren Bailey, The FA's director of football governance and regulation, said: "The game in England is rightly considered to have the most competitive and exciting leagues and cup competitions in football, making it increasingly popular around the world.

“With that exposure, comes a greater level of scrutiny for players and managers on a matchday. Of course we recognise passion and emotion will always run high during a game but it is important there is clarity around what standards are expected.

“The new technical area code conduct agreed by the game, sets out the standards required and consequences for non-compliance. 

"It is designed to create a positive environment where all the occupants, from coaches to match officials, can do their respective jobs.

“Members of The FA’s governance team have spent pre-season visiting clubs across the professional game and talking the players, managers and match officials through these changes as part of our continuing engagement and education work." 

By FA Staff