UPDATED MISCONDUCT REGULATIONS FROM FAI WITH REGARD TO MATCH OFFICIALS
THE IRISH SOCCER REFEREES SOCIETY want to remind all members nationwide of the new regulations in the FAI Governance Handbook and approved by the FAI Board on 25 January 202.
The ISRS is looking forward to a positive and beneficial effect for the game we all love and said ISRS Executive Member Sean Slattery: “We would like to take this opportunity and wish all players and management teams in all leagues under the jurisdiction of the Football Association of Ireland the best of luck for the season ahead.”
REGULATION 5. MISCONDUCT BY PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS AGAINST MATCH OFFICIALS
- Where a Player or Official receives a red card and/or is subsequently reported for
misconduct against a Match Official, the overall suspension imposed, including the
automatic one match suspension, shall be for:
Foul, insulting or abusive language that is used
directly towards a Match Official Automatic 3 match
Behaviour that is aggressive, intimidating, or
threatening towards a Match Official At least 6 matches
Deliberately placing a hand on, brushing against
or obstructing a Match Official At least 12 matches
Assaulting (deliberately pushing, pulling,
spitting at, striking, elbowing, punching, kicking
etc.) a Match Official At least 12 months
Assaulting i.e. deliberately striking a Match
Official that involves head butting, repeated
punching/kicking and/or assaults involving more
than one Player and/or Official from the same
At least 36 month
- Where a Player or Official persists in using foul and abusive language, having been
sent from the field of play, a further sanction shall be applied.
- Separate incidents of misconduct towards a Match Official in relation to the same
game shall incur an additional sanction for any such incident.
- Any club that has a player, team and/or official found to be in continuous and
persistent breach of Regulation 5 may be subject to a separate investigation by the
Disciplinary Regulations Officer (‘‘DRO’’) who can consider the culpability of the Club
and subject to such investigation, the DRO may issue a charge(s) against the club
- Where a sanction is imposed for committing assault or attempted assault on a Match
Official the Disciplinary Committee may impose any other sanction available under
the FAI Disciplinary Regulations.
- Where a Player or Official has been reported for an alleged breach of Section 2
Regulation 5(1)(c) the Player or Official shall automatically stand suspended to
play/participate in games for any other club or in any competitions until the matter is
dealt with by the League. Leagues shall address the matter under the FAI Disciplinary
Regulations within seven days of receiving the report.
- A Player or Official whom the Match Official has reported as having committed an
assault or attempted assault on a Match Official before, during or immediately after a
match shall automatically stand suspended until the disciplinary process has been
- Where a Player or Official has been reported as having committed an assault on a
Match Official, the League shall immediately refer the matter to the FAI Disciplinary
Control Unit. A Club or Participant may also refer the matter to the FAI Disciplinary
Control Unit. The matter will be decided by the FAI Disciplinary Committee in the first
instance and all previous decisions from other bodies/leagues will be revoked. The
decision of the FAI Disciplinary Committee shall be notified to all relevant bodies.
- Where a Player or Official makes disparaging remarks or comments about a Match
Official in mainstream media and/or on their personal social media platform visible to
the public that Player or Official shall be dealt with in accordance with Section 2
- Where a sanction is imposed under Regulation 5(1)(d) on a minor (e.g. a Player who
has not yet reached his eighteenth birthday at the time of the offence and is playing
in an age group of under 18 or lower in youth or underage football) the Disciplinary
Committee when considering the appropriate sanction has discretion to have regard
to any mitigating factors to partially suspend the implementation of a sanction in
accordance with Regulation 52. The mitigating factors that the Disciplinary Committee
may wish to consider include (but are not limited to) the following:
• Admission at the earliest opportunity.
FAI Governance Handbook July 2022 155
• Demonstration of genuine remorse.
• Co-operation with the FAI .
• Age of the Player.
• Previous disciplinary record of the Player
- Where a sanction is imposed under Regulation 5 on a Player or Official the Disciplinary
Committee when considering the appropriate sanction has discretion to have regard to
any aggravating factors to increase the sanction agreed for the offence. The aggravating
factors that the Disciplinary Committee may wish to consider include (but are not limited
to) the following:
• The degree of force and/or the nature and extent of threatening behaviour used.
• The profile of the Player or Official, including where they hold a position of responsibility within
their Club or organisation (e.g. Club captain, Club chairperson etc)
• Failure to co-operate with the League, Provincial Association and/or the FAI.
• Previous disciplinary record of the Player or Official.
• Any attempt to conceal the breach.
• The extent of any premeditation.
• The overall impact on the reputation and integrity of the game.
- Match Officials are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with these Disciplinary
Regulations and the FAI Referee Regulations. Match Officials shall be sanctioned as a
minimum in accordance with Section 2 Regulation 4 but the disciplinary bodies may
impose any other sanction they deem appropriate.
- Sanctions issued against Match Officials must be notified immediately to the Disciplinary
Control Unit of the FAI, the Referees Committee and to all other relevant bodies.
- In cases of reported assaults on a Match Official, the reporting referee shall be furnished
with a copy of the decision of the disciplinary body within three (3) days.
- Where a Participant has been found to have assaulted a Match Official and the disciplinary
body hearing the case has failed to impose the minimum sanction provided for in these
Disciplinary Regulations, the Match Official shall be entitled to appeal the decision in
accordance with the relevant Disciplinary Regulations.
- Where a Participant has been reported for an assault on a Match Official and the
disciplinary body found that no assault took place, the Match Official shall be entitled to
appeal this decision in accordance with the relevant rules of appeal.
REGULATION 7. BRAWL/FIGHTING
- Involvement in a brawl/fight is sanctioned with a suspension for at least six (6) matches.
- Anyone who has tried merely to prevent a brawl/fight, shield others or separate those
FAI Governance Handbook July 2022 156
involved in a brawl is not subject to punishment.
REGULATION 8. UNIDENTIFIED AGGRESSORS
- If it is not possible to identify the person(s) who has committed the alleged offence(s)
(and it is accepted that such person(s) are not deemed to be an Official), the Disciplinary
Committee may sanction the club to which the aggressor(s) belong.
- If it is not possible to identify an Official who has committed an alleged offence, but it is
accepted by the Disciplinary Committee that the aggressor was in fact an Official then
the Disciplinary Committee may sanction any Official it considers to be a senior Official
in the technical area for the match in question. A medical team Official who commits a
sending off offence may only remain if the team has no other medical person available,
and act only if a player requires medical attention, but in such circumstances the
Disciplinary Committee shall be entitled to apply an additional sanction.
REGULATION 9.TEAM MISCONDUCT
- The following constitute misconduct by a team and are sanctioned by a fine:
a) when at least five (5) Players and/or Officials are cautioned or sent from the
field of play during one match;
b) when at least three (3) Players and/or Officials are sent off during one match;
when several Players together and/or Officials make threats or show force against
a Match Official.
- When determining the amount of the fine, the type of competition, gravity of the
offence and previous record that season shall be taken into account.
REGULATION 10. INCITING HATRED OR VIOLENCE
- A Participant who publicly incites othersto hatred or violence may be
sanctioned with a suspension and/or a fine.
REGULATION 11. PROVOKING THE GENERAL PUBLIC
- Any Participant who provokesthe general public shall be suspended for a
minimum of two matches and sanctioned with a fine.