The Football Association (FA) has announced a significant change in the rules for grassroots teams, impacting clubs in Harrow.
Starting from the 2023/24 season, the FA will implement point deductions for teams across the grassroots game if their players or coaches commit repeated instances of serious misconduct. The FA aims to send a clear message that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
The new rules will apply to clubs at Step 7 and below in the men’s game, and clubs across Tier 3 and below in the women’s pyramid. These deductions will be enforced when clubs commit cumulative incidents of serious misconduct, which can include acts of discrimination, assault or attempted assault, and physical contact or attempted physical contact against a match official.
Depending on the number and severity of offences committed within a 12-month period, point deductions will range from 3 to 12 points. The FA intends to use this penalty system to address issues of accumulative misconduct, aggravated misconduct, and assault, which are prevalent in the grassroots game.
To clarify some key points, the FA has provided Points Deductions FAQs. For instance, the charge against a club is triggered only if there are at least two proven discriminatory offences or offences against match officials committed by the same team. The process of communication and implementation of the points deduction order by the league is also outlined in the guidance document.
While these measures are being introduced in the grassroots game, some may question why they are not applied in the professional game. The FA states that there is a specific issue in the grassroots game with accumulative offences, making it crucial to enforce point deductions to address previous serious misconduct.
The FA has also explained that the new rules will not include offences from the 2022/23 season. The implementation will begin on the 1st of July 2023 onwards.
The introduction of point deductions is seen as a step towards promoting fair play and sportsmanship in the grassroots game. By holding clubs accountable for repeated instances of serious misconduct, the FA aims to create a more respectful and inclusive environment for players, coaches, and officials alike.