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Grassroots discipline aligned with Premier League

Mon 16th May 2011 | Football Governance

From the 2011/12 season all clubs who participate in open-aged football in England will have their suspensions aligned with those in the Premier and Football Leagues with the introduction of match-based discipline, meaning local players’ bans are based on numbers of games rather than a period of time.

Throughout the last five seasons, match-based discipline has been operating at Steps Five and Six, which includes regional competition structures such as the Essex Senior League, before it was extended to include Step Seven in the National League System for the last two seasons, incorporating the Essex Olympian and Essex & Suffolk Border Leagues.

A pilot scheme, which has run for the last two seasons across Saturday and Sunday football, has seen the implementation welcomed and The FA will now be extending the system to those outside of the National League structure. Whereas the current arrangement might see a player suspended for, say, seven days, they might now be suspended for one match.

The FA’s Disciplinary Manager, Mark Ives, who will oversee the roll-out, commented: “This is a fantastic move forward for football at local level. In short, this will mean that any player sent from the field of play in adult football will receive sporting sanctions the same as those received at the top flight, which is a fairer and more consistent sanction for all.”

There are a number of very important aspects contained within the system, and it is imperative that everyone involved understands the details so The FA is holding a seminar at Wembley Stadium which will be hosted by television and radio presenter Mark Saggers. The two-hour seminar, open to all clubs who participate in open age eleven-a-side football in England, will also be streamed live on the Internet on Monday 6th June, commencing at 7:00pm.

Greg Hart, Governance Manager at the Essex County FA, added: “It’s often mentioned that certain aspects of football, such as punishments for acts of misconduct, should be identical all the way through the game from the top to the bottom. This is an example of how The Football Association is doing just that. As with any new system there will be teething problems, but we’ll obviously be on-hand at the County Office to assist with any queries.”

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