The FA and County FA's are determined to provide an inclusive football experience for anyone who wishes to play, coach, officiate, administer, support or be involved in any role in English football. An experience that is reflective of our diverse communities, safe for all and free from abuse and discrimination.
Instilling confidence in reporting discrimination is a key goal of our collective inclusion and anti-discrimination work across the game.
When discriminatory behaviour takes place, those who witness it – or are the victim of it – need to be able to report it quickly, and to the right people. The reporting process needs to be easy and confidential. Plus, those who make reports must be confident that their concerns or experiences will be heard and, where necessary, dealt with promptly and appropriately.
How do I report?
We recognise that there is under-reporting of incidents of racism and discrimination in the game and we encourage those who feel that they have been discriminated against to report their concerns.
Should you wish to report an incident of discrimination at level Step 5 and below, in the first instance, please contact us via email or telephone.
The contact details on this page are strictly reserved for those wishing to report allegations of abuse and/or discrimination such as incidents of racism or homophobia.
You can also download Kick It Out’s app, which allows you to report confidentially using film and video. In addition, Kick It Out employs a dedicated Reporting Officer, funded by The FA, whose role it is to support and monitor incidents across the game and liaise regularly with The FA, the Leagues, CFAs and clubs as well as civil bodies. You can also report concerns directly to Kick It Out via firstname.lastname@example.org
The FA has also created the Reporting Discrimination videos - a series of short films to show players and fans of the game how to play their part in eradicating discrimination from football. The animated films explain how to go about reporting incidents of discrimination – and this has to start at the grassroots level.
You can also download the educational guidance booklets by clicking on the following links:
Reporting Discrimination - Grassroots Players
Reporting Discrimination - Supporters attending grassroots matches
Investigations and Hearings
County FA's are responsible for all cases arising from Steps 5 and below and the details of these cases will also be reported centrally to The FA. Investigations will be managed by the relevant County FA (if the case has not already been escalated to The FA), and where appropriate, charges will be raised upon completion of a thorough investigation.
The FA has also established a diverse independent central Chairman’s panel for those who will be selected to chair grassroots discrimination cases - This panel which was chosen for its skills, knowledge and experience, has undertaken the same mandatory training that The FA requires for all its Commission Chairmen, and includes members who are male, female, disabled, from ethnic minorities, identify as gay, and those who come from different faith backgrounds.
Every County FA is also establishing a local football anti-discrimination football panel. Commissions will be made up of a Chairperson from the central panel, a member of the local football anti-discrimination panel and a County FA Council member.
Sanctions for Discriminatory abuse
Discriminatory abuse includes a reference whether express or implied to any one or more of the following:
- Ethnic origin
- Religion or belief
- Gender reassignment
- Sexual Orientation
The sanction for discriminatory abuse is a minimum 5 match suspension and mandatory education, plus a possible fine.
The mandatory minimum sanction will not apply to offences committed in writing or via mobile phones, the internet or TV (though it is likely a form of match based sanction will apply)
It will also not apply where the discriminatory term relates only to nationality (again it is likely a form of match based sanction will apply)
Club will be liable to be sanctioned if two or more of its Participants commit an act of discriminatory abuse in any twelve month period
In all cases the Participant may be fined as well as suspended, and will be required to undergo an education programme
Where a youth player is aged 12-15 (inclusive) and commits an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3(1) for the first time, a Regulatory Commission shall impose a suspension of at least five matches. The Regulatory Commission may increase this suspension depending on any additional aggravating factors present. A minimum of one match shall come into effect immediately and any remainder of the suspension shall be suspended on such terms and for such periods as the Regulatory Commission considers appropriate.
Where a second or further aggravated breach is committed by a youth player aged 12-15 (inclusive), a Regulatory Commission shall impose an immediate suspension of more than five matches, taking into consideration an entry point of an immediate suspension of ten matches, and any aggravating or mitigating factors present.
A disciplinary charge will not be raised for an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3(1) for a youth player under the age of 12, the primary aim in such cases will be education.
Misconduct by Spectators
For charges against a club in respect of misconduct by spectators, a club will not be found guilty of misconduct if it can show that all events, incidents or circumstances were the result of circumstances over which it had no control, or for reasons of crowd safety, and that it had used all due diligence to ensure that responsibility was discharged.
In order to achieve compliance with Article 58 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, FA Rules have been changed to a strict liability approach, so that the “due diligence” defence as outlined above shall not apply for clubs subject to an E20 charge for misconduct by spectators including direct or indirect reference to ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability.
If you should see or hear discriminatory abuse by spectators during a match, contact us via phone or email, or alternatively The FA or Kick It Out using the details outlined above.