ESFA Discipline 

To report discipline matters within Schools’ Football, please complete the appropriate forms via the links below:

Further misconduct

All football now operates under the MATCH BASED disciplinary procedures of The Football Association.  Discipline in Schools’ Football is split into two separate categories: (1) Representative Football and (2) Inter-School Football. 

Cautions (Yellow Cards) 
The Administration fee for cautions is £12.00 

Standard Dismissals (Red Cards) 
The Administration fee for standard dismissals is £15.00 

The below outlines the length of suspension, and fine imposed on top of the Administration fee, for standard dismissals dependent upon the categorisation of the dismissal. 

  • Receiving a second caution in a match 
    1 match suspension and £20.00 fine imposed 
  • Denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by an offence punishable by a free-kick or penalty kick 
    1 match suspension and £20.00 fine imposed 
  • Denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball 
    1 match suspension and £20.00 fine imposed 
  • Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language 
    2 match suspension and £30.00 fine imposed 

In the event of any breach of Rule E3 (1) including a reference to any one or more of the following: ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, faith, gender, sexual orientation, or disability (an “aggravating charge”) resulting in and E3(2) charge the matter must immediately be referred to the ESFA Discipline Department. 

  • Violent conduct 
    3 match suspension and £40.00 fine imposed 
  • Serious foul play 
    3 match suspension and £40.00 fine imposed 
  • Spitting at an opponent or any other person 
    6 match suspension and £40.00 fine imposed 

The player dismissed from the field of play for a standard red card offence must serve their suspension in whichever category of Schools’ Football that the offence took place. For example, if a player is dismissed when representing their Association, they must only serve that suspension in representative matches and not school matches. 

Automatic sanctions will commence 7 days after the date of the match.  

Any claim for “wrongful dismissal /mistaken identity” must be made within two days of the date of the game; the appeal fee for these claims shall be £30.00. 

Misconduct Charges

A Misconduct Charge will be issued where an incident is reported which does not fall under standard dismissal offences or is a serious offence.  

It is the responsibility of the ESFA’s Discipline Department to investigate every and all instance of Misconduct reported and decide whether formal charges should be raised. 

Should charges be raised, then the secretary of an Association or the named teacher(s) of a school will be sent the charge letter, alongside the evidence for which the charge has been raised. 

The participant/ school/ Association charged must then pay the Administration fee (£15.00), review the evidence that the charge was based upon and respond to the charges raised against them within 14 days of the charge being raised. Within that response, the participant/ school/ Association charged can either admit or deny the charge, as well as whether they wish the hearing to be personal or through correspondence. Please note, choosing a personal hearing incurs a cost of an additional £30.00.

Whether the charge is admitted or denied, or a personal or correspondence hearing is requested, a discipline commission of independent and FA trained panel members will be convened to consider the charge.  

Should the charge be found proven, the participant/ school/ Association must pay any further incurred fines and ensure any match-based suspensions are imposed. Please note, any match-based suspensions arising from a Misconduct Charge are from ALL football. 

Should the charge be found not proven, the ESFA will reimburse the school/ Association the cost of the hearing fee, should a personal hearing have been selected. 

Should the participant/ school/ Association wish to appeal any decision then the full details of that process can be found within the decision notification sent after the hearing. 

Further Information

The following County/Regional SFA disciplinary matters are being managed by ESFA HQ:  

Cleveland; Cumbria; Durham; North Yorkshire; West Yorkshire; Northumberland; South Yorkshire; Cheshire; Merseyside; Lancashire; Northern Counties; Herefordshire; Staffordshire; Warwickshire; Derbyshire; Lincolnshire: Northamptonshire; Somerset; Wiltshire; Bedfordshire; Buckinghamshire; Norfolk; Suffolk; Inner London; Middlesex; Surrey; Sussex; London; Kent. 

If you have not received a suspension notice from the ESFA within 10 days of a red card, then you must contact the ESFA immediately. Non-receipt of paperwork is not a valid defence, and a charge will be issued if a student plays whilst under suspension to both the School/ Association and the player. 

Sin Bins (Temporary Dismissals) have been introduced to improve the match experience for everyone involved with the game. 
To understand more about the process you can undertake a quick course by visiting https://www.fareferees.co.uk/temporary-dismissals/ – this course looks at why the scheme was introduced, and how referees will apply it on the field of play for players and team officials. 

The FA Handbook can be found here


For further information please email discipline@schoolsfa.com 

Discipline Guidance Documents

Witness statement template

Personal Hearing Guide

Grassroots Discipline Complaints Process

County and League Appeals 2022-23

County FA Disciplinary Sanction Guidelines

Grassroots Discipline Guide – 2023-24



Personal Hearings guidance for under 18s

Match officials guide to personal hearings

County witnesses guide to personal hearings

FA Guidance on dealing with discrimination for match officials