Discrimination has no place in society and we are committed to tackling allegations of discriminatory language and behaviour in grassroots football.
We encourage any discrimination experienced or witnessed to be reported and we will work in collaboration with the participants and The Football Association to ensure any proven instances of racism are addressed with the perpetrators concerned.Tell us, we'll tackle it.
The Disciplinary Process
Stage 1: Allegation of discrimination received by the West Riding FA
The allegation can be submitted by anyone:
- Referees/Assistant Referees – Via his/her match report
- Participant Report (Player, Coach, Manager, Spectator) – via email/form/telephone
Stage 2: The West Riding FA will contact the individual who has made the allegation to understand the context of the allegation. At this time, the individual will be asked to identify any witnesses and the alleged offender.
Stage 3: The West Riding FA will inform the Football Association of the alleged incident
Stage 4: An investigation will take place. The investigation will include:
- Contacting the alleged offender for a response to the allegation
- Contacting all identified witnesses and obtaining statements
- Identifying additional witnesses and obtaining statements
Stage 5: The West Riding FA and Football Association will review all evidence and determine the charge(s) to be raised. Please note, not all allegations result in charges being raised. Charges are only raised if enough credible evidence is collated to determine a case to answer.
Stage 6: Charges are issued to the participants(s). Participants have 14 days to respond to the charge. Participants can select any of the following responses:
(A) We are pleading GUILTY to the charges and we wish all of the cases to be dealt with in my absence using the correspondence submitted.
(B) We are pleading GUILTY to the charges and we wish to attend a disciplinary hearing to enter a verbal plea of leniency.
(C) We are pleading NOT GUILTY to the charge and we wish the case to be dealt with in our absence using the correspondence submitted.
(D) We are pleading NOT GUILTY to the charges and we wish to attend a disciplinary hearing
Where no response is received, a Disciplinary Commission will review the case and determine an outcome on the evidence available at the time.
Stage 6: A Disciplinary Commission (see page 8) will deal with the case based on the response received in stage 5:
Response A + C: A Disciplinary Commission will review all paperwork (including statements, witness accounts, photos, video footage) and will determine if the case is Proven or not proven.
Response B + D: Disciplinary Commission will review all paperwork (including statements, witness accounts, photos, video footage) and will invite the alleged offender, victim and any witnesses to attend the hearing to provide their account of the alleged incident and allow for the Commission members to ask exploratory questions. The Commission will then determine if the case is Proven or not proven.
Stage 7: If found Proven, the Disciplinary Commission will apply a sanction (punishment) in line with the FA Sanction Guidelines.
Below you can view the guidance packs for individuals attending a Personal Hearing:
Our role in the process is impartial and offers all participants (alleged offender, victim, and witnesses) an equal opportunity to submit observations. It is not in our gift to determine if the alleged offender is guilty/not guilty. Our role is simply to conduct an exploratory investigation to compile as much detail and credible evidence as we can to ‘support’ an allegation. The term ‘support’ refers to the collection of evidence (for and against). If enough evidence is presented to suggest a case to answer, a charge will be raised.
Statements can be obtained in a number of ways:
- Via email or letter
- Over the phone and transcribed
- In person via interview
The decision making is ultimately down to the discretion of a Disciplinary Commission, whom, will convene to make a judgement once charges are due to be heard.
Aside from the FA regulations, participants are advised to submit their observations as quickly as possible after the incident took place. The quality of evidence is far higher when the detail is ‘fresh in the mind’.
More often than not, in cases where we are not able to raise a charge, it is down to a lack of detail in a statement(s) submitted. Factual detail is key to achieving credible evidence. Below are some key elements of a good statement. These are all provided for in the ALLEGATION FORM.
- What EXACTLY was said?
- Who said it? Was it a player/spectator/club official?
- When did the incident occur? During the game? After the game? – be specific if the incident occurred during - was it in the first/second half etc.
- Can you provide a physical description? i.e. shirt number/position they was playing/height/hair colour/skin colour/build etc.
- How far away (roughly) was you at the time of hearing the comment?
- Was there anyone else around you at the time of the comment being made? If so, who? Did they hear it? Would they be willing to submit a statement?
- Was the matter reported to the Match Official? If so, can you confirm their full name? was any action taken by them on being notified? If so, what?
- Are you happy for your statement to be disclosed to the opposition/offender
- Would you be willing to attend a hearing, if required, to provide verbal evidence?
We fully appreciate that grassroots football relies on the hard work and dedication of volunteers and that it can be a demanding task to draft and gather statements either in support of, or to refute allegations.
However, unless it is reported through the correct channels and in the best possible detail, we have very little chance of eradicating the negative and unacceptable incidents that unfortunately continue to discredit our ‘beautiful game’.
We want to ensure we are doing our upmost to make football a positive experience for everyone involved and hope that the above can provide some clarity and understanding of the Discrimination Investigation Process.
If you require any further clarification on this matter, please contact Football Services on 0113 282 1222 (option 1) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
FA Regulations state –
- Disciplinary procedures shall commence no later than 90 days
- The outcome must be determined no later than 180 days from receipt of the report of alleged misconduct
- If deemed reasonable, any period of delay requested or caused by the Participant will not count towards the 90/180 days.