If you can not find the answer to your question, please use the enquiry form at the bottom of the page


If you believe a child is at immediate risk of harm you MUST call 999. 

  • If you have worries around a child's well being, or are concerned about the behaviour of an adult working with children please speak to your Club Welfare Officer or Call Northumberland FA’s Designated Safeguarding Officer on 0191 270 0700 or  07736 924 862. 

  • It is vital you report any concerns you may have. The NSPCC can be contacted on 0808 800 5000 where specially trained staff can listen to your concerns. Please also always report your worries to your CWO and County FA Designated Safeguarding Officer. 

  • unexplained changes in behaviour or personality

  • becoming withdrawn

  • seeming anxious

  • becoming uncharacteristically aggressive

  • lacks social skills and has few friends, if any

  • poor bond or relationship with a parent

  • knowledge of adult issues inappropriate for their age

  • running away or going missing

  • always choosing to wear clothes which cover their body.

These signs don’t necessarily mean that a child is being abused, there could be other things happening in their life which are affecting their behaviour – but we can help you to assess the situation.

You may also notice some concerning behaviour from adults who you know have children in their care, which makes you concerned for the child/children’s safety and wellbeing. If in doubt please report, we all have a duty to keep children safe.


To become a coach you need the following:


You can also get involved with our Coach the Coach programme to further your knowledge and skills within coaching.

No. A lead coach must take charge of every session or match. The must have:

 Assistant coaches holding an in date DBS and a FA Playmaker qualification can assist at training and matches, but cannot be in sole charge.


County FA staff and league officials will conduct compliance checks throughout the season at matches and training sessions to ensure the above requirements are adhered to.

Yes!  You must hold:


Anyone can make a complaint. We would require any complaint to be put in writing to our Discipline Officer at Discipline@NorthumberlandFA.com. It is advised that, if you can and feel comfortable in doing so, that you speak with your Club’s Welfare Officer prior to making any complaint and include them into any correspondence where a complaint to us is lodged.

These can be accessed on the following page on our website: https://www.northumberlandfa.com/safeguarding-and-welfare/discipline/procedures

These procedures provide Clubs and Participants with the relevant rules and regulations, guidance on how to raise complaints to the County FA, an overview of sanction guidelines for misconduct charges and guidance for how misconduct hearings run.

Our Match Officials Guide to reporting Discipline is available to read on the following page of our website: https://www.northumberlandfa.com/safeguarding-and-welfare/discipline

This guide provides Match Officials with information as to how to report red and yellow cards, report serious misconduct matters from matches they have refereed, read over what would constitute a yellow card or red card offence, who to speak to at the County FA if any support is required, and support as to how to write a detailed report.

Fines can be paid online through the Whole Game System. The Discipline Guide to the Whole Game System is available to access on the following page of our website: https://www.northumberlandfa.com/safeguarding-and-welfare/discipline 
Yellow cards can be appeal only under the ground of Mistaken Identity. The procedure to do so is the same as it would be for a red card under this ground of appeal.

Red cards can be appealed under the grounds of Wrongful Dismissal or Mistaken Identity. There are strict time limits for appealing under each ground: for Wrongful Dismissal, you will need to notify the County FA by 5PM of the second business day following the date in which the red card was shown of your intent to appeal; for Mistaken Identity, you must notify the County FA by 5PM of the third business day following the date in which the red card was shown.

For red card appeals under the ground of Mistaken Identity, you must supply the name of the player who committed the offence so that the card can be applied to them.


For red card appeals under the ground of Wrongful Dismissal, you will need to supply video and/or written evidence by 5PM of the fourth business day following the date of the game where the red card was shown. An independent Appeal Board would then adjudicate over the appeal. An appeal would only be successful in the event that the Appeal Board are satisfied that the issue of the red card was an obvious error.

You can lodge your intent to appeal a red card online through the Whole Game System. The Discipline Guide to the Whole Game System is available to access on the following page of our website: https://www.northumberlandfa.com/safeguarding-and-welfare/discipline

If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact the County FA Discipline Officer at Discipline@NorthumberlandFA.com.

No. Red cards issued for offensive, abusive or insulting language/gestures and red cards issued where the player has received 2 yellow cards in the same game cannot be appealed under the ground of Wrongful Dismissal.

A suspension emanating from a red card automatically commences 7 days after the date of the match in which the red card was shown. The suspension will commence at this time regardless of whether the Club has received the applicable paperwork pertaining to the red card. Contact the County FA Discipline Officer at Discipline@NorthumberlandFA.com in the event that you do not receive any paperwork for a red card that has been shown. The player would still be suspended therefore it is imperative that you contact the County FA.

Any sanction or fine issued by your League can be appealed so long as the appeal is lodged with the County FA within 14 days of your Club receiving formal paperwork from your League detailing what sanction or fine has been issued. Contact the County FA Discipline Officer at Discipline@NorthumberlandFA.com for guidance as to how to appeal. It is advised that if you wish to appeal you contact the County FA as soon as possible because in order to lodge an appeal there are procedures to follow within 14 days of the Club receiving notification of any sanction or fine and any appeal not lodged correctly or outside of this time window will not be considered.

Club administration

The FA’s Club House online community has Workforce & Volunteer Toolkit which includes video and written versions of role descriptions. These can help with understanding of what work is required to run a grassroots club, as well as act as useful tools when advertising and recruiting new volunteers at your club. https://community.thefa.com/leagues-clubs/m/workforce-and-volunteers-toolkit

Player registration is completed using the ‘Club Portal’ using the ‘Players’ tab. You will need the players name, DOB and if it’s a youth player, the parent carer details including e-mail address and if it’s a player over 16 years, they will also need an e-mail address and telephone number against their record.  The link below has all the information required to register:




Affiliation is completed through the ‘Club Portal’ via a club committee member.  You must affiliate all teams playing competitive football in the county.  All teams are added to the portal using the ‘teams’ tab and ‘affiliate teams’.  Club insurance and team insurance is available for purchase through the portal and all fees are payable at the end of the process.  Please use the information and guidance below:





Please use the link below for information and guidance on England Football Accreditation:


Our region has a number of existing Clubs. If wanting to start a single ‘Team’ the first step would be to find local existing Clubs and offer your services as a Volunteer interested in supporting more people play football. This helps maximize facilities available in the area, supports directing funding to where it can have the best impact, and will help strengthen existing Clubs, making them more sustainable. It will also help you as an existing Club will have Club Officials already in place to help with Club administration, safeguarding and DBS checks, and potentially save money on kit and equipment or through support for coaching qualification.

If you still feel their is a need for a new Club, there are lots of resources on the England Football Club House. Please then complete our NFA New Club Application form. The questions may also guide you to any areas you may not have considered yet.

Social media is a useful way to keep in contact for clubs and teams - but it can be misused and as a result, children can be put at risk.

Sharing personal information about young players on open forums such as Facebook pages, Twitter or via webinars leaves them open to grooming.

Please take a moment to read the social media guidelines here. They can also be printed off as a poster or forwarded to your teams, coaches and parents.

In particular, please ensure:

  • All social media groups are private and can't be viewed publicly

  • Never put personal information about children on social media sites, even if it's a private group. Details such as birthdays, favourite players and where they go to school can unfortunately be used for grooming.
  • Take care if you are using tools such as Zoom and Skype for webinars - children should only take part in the presence of their parents and you should not share screen shots of these webinars on your social media pages

It is everyone's responsibility to safeguard children and this is something that we take very seriously in football. Please check all your club and team social media sites and ensure they meet these guidelines.

It is not appropriate for youth  team kit to feature logos relating to age restricted products.

In practice, this means that kit should not feature logos relating to businesses involved in gambling, alcohol and tattoos among others.

References to pubs and restaurants MAY be allowed, unless they exist solely for the supply and consumption of alcohol – in reality this means that sponsorship by pub restaurants may be acceptable, but sponsorship by an establishment such as a nightclub or pub that doesn’t serve food would not be allowed. In this instance you should contact Northumberland FA for guidance and approval.

Alcoholic drinks, breweries and products, services or activities related to gambling are unlikely to be permissible under any circumstances

These regulations are issued by The FA and aim to safeguard our young players. The full regulations are available on The FA’s website – link below.

Please contact us for advice if you are in any doubt, before you enter into a contractual agreement and we will be happy to assist you.

Kit and Advertising Regulations (thefa.com)


You must be at least 14 years of age to become a referee

To be eligible to book a place on a Northumberland FA Referee Course you will need to have first completed the FA Online Laws of the Game Modules and FA Safeguarding Children Course (or Safeguarding for All if you are aged 14-16):

Laws of the Game Module

FA Safeguarding Children (over 16s)

FA Safeguarding for All (14-16)

We regularly advertise our referee courses on social media.

To renew you registration you need to do this by logging on to your Whole Game Account

Please contact our RDO - Matt.sowerby@northumberlandfa.com or our Designated Safeguarding Officer - Gill.upperton@northumberlandfa.com

Women and Girls

We have countless clubs offering playing opportunities in our region for women and girls whether that be recreational or competitive (teams). To locate your nearest opportunities contact our Football Development Officer (Women and Girls) directly - lloyd.miller@northumberlandfa.com or use The FA's Find Football tool.

England Football offers the opportunity for grassroots clubs and organisations to offer recreational (turn up and play) football in the local area. There are 3 main programmes that caters for a full pathway. Weetabix Wildcats (5-11 years), Squad Girls (12-14 years) and Just Play (16+ years). To find out more and apply - click the link below: 

Include link to correct webpage that has brochure here.

England Football offers the opportunity for grassroots clubs and organisations to offer recreational (turn up and play) football in the local area. There are 3 main programmes that caters for a full pathway. Weetabix wildcats (5-11 years), Squad Girls (12-14 years) and Just Play (16+ years) To find out ore and apply - click the link below

England Football Female Recreational Programmes - Northumberland FA

The Women's Football Pyramid comprises of Tiers 1-7 and Northumberland county is represented in all but 3 of those tiers.

Download Pyramid here


Grassroots Clubs offer a range of teams and sessions across our region. The best place to search for a Club is by using the England Football Find Football search engine. Here, you will be able to search Clubs around where you live, along with being able to filter your search for days that your child wants to play on. Teams affiliated to their County FA will show up, along with any recreational (turn-up-and play) activity they may deliver, such as FA Wildcats, Squad Girls, and Just Play. If the club has chosen, their contact details will be available for you to get in touch with them directly. If not, but you are interested in their offer, please contact info@northumberlandfa.com and we can try and help get you in touch or find more details. 

When your child joins a new club, remember to ask who their Club Welfare Officer is and how you can contact them. This helps you keep you, and other children safe, by being able to report any minor concerns to them quickly so they can be resolved positively. In addition, if not given to you, ask for copies of their Code of Conduct, and any other policies they have relevant to your child and yourself as parent/carer.
It is also good to ask about a Club’s policy/philosophy on their approach to squad and/or team selection and how they manage this. This helps you decide if the Club is right for your child, and helps you inform and support your child.

Although it may sound strange, when a child is registered with a junior team during a season (July-May), for them to leave and join another club, a ‘Transfer’ has to take place. Depending on circumstances, this can take time with rules in place to protect clubs from losing lots of players quickly to another club and then becoming unsustainable. On rare occasions, these rules can cause frustration to parents and their children who may be unaware of the process. A brief summary would be:


-The club your child wants to join would have to contact the club they are currently registered with and give what is called ‘a 7 day notice of approach’. After 7 days, the club is then able to request and complete a transfer of the player’s registration from Club A to Club B. Your child’s prospective new Club will be able to make contact with yourselves and request any transfer formally take place from day 8 following the sending of the notice of approach. Note that in terms of timings, the date in which the prospective new Club sends the notice of approach to your current Club is day 0.


-If the Club your child wants to join has already completed a transfer of a player from the same club however, they have to wait 28 days until they can give another 7 day notice of approach, meaning potentially it could take 35 days. 


-From 1st June, players effectively become ‘unregistered’ and are able to register for the same, or different club, again from 1st July, without any transfer process.


The above is important to consider when your Child is registering for a Club at the start of a season as, if they are not sure, it is best to wait until they are before committing to a Club in case they want to change. 


Firstly, speak to your club as many of our grassroots teams have ways that they can support families as and when needed.  In addition, Northumberland FA operates a fund that can be accessed and supports families with short term costs of ensuring your child can continue to access football.  Finally, we also operate a kit and boot recycling scheme which offers fantastic quality kit and boots for as little as £2 in some cases.  grassboots.uk/shop

 Several of our grassroots clubs now operate Inclusion Hubs which are designed to provide playing opportunities to children with additional needs.  Please contact us on info@northumberlandfa.com to find out which clubs are currently operating hubs.

In the first instance, please contact your club welfare officer to share your concerns. The club should then conduct an investigation and seek to resolve any complaints.  If you are not satisfied with the outcome upon conclusion of the investigation, you can then contact Dean Buckle, Head of Compliance and Inclusion, on dean.buckle@northumberlandfa.com

We work with a number of partners to support people in the grassroots game. Our Inclusion strategy contains details of our current partners who provide a range of mental support mechanisms, for both adults and children.

Northumberland FA can provide guidance to all parties involved in grassroots football with regards to reasonable adjustments that may help to ensure people can access and/or remain in football.  Please contact us to discuss - info@northumberlandfa.com


As a home team of a friendly match, you would need to get this match sanctioned through completion of the following form and await confirmation once it has been checked that the game is indeed sanctioned: Friendly Sanctioning Form (smartsheet.com)
Whilst it would be the home team’s responsibility to ensure that the match is sanctioned, the away team should, prior to taking part, ensure that they have sight of the confirmation from us to the home team that the game has indeed been sanctioned. This is the sanctioning approval email, not the email that says the sanctioning form has been submitted.
The event organisers will have the responsibility of ensuring that the event is sanctioned by the County FA and that this is approved before it takes place. Any team taking part in it should gain confirmation from the organisers that the event has been sanctioned by the County FA prior to taking part. Event organisers (which can in some cases be Clubs given that a Club may host a festival at its facility) will submit a sanctioning request for their events via completion of the following online form: Event Sanctioning Application (smartsheet.com)

If a team is intending to take part in a friendly match or tournament/festival outside of their County FA’s jurisdiction (i.e. within another County FA’s geographical boundary), they will need to gain the consent of their parent County FA by first of all completing the following online form and then awaiting confirmation from their parent County FA that this has been approved: Out of County Friendly/Event Information Form (smartsheet.com)

This would be in addition to ensuring that the Club also obtain from the event organisers (or from the home team if it relates to a friendly) confirmation that the event/friendly itself has been sanctioned by the relevant County FA (i.e. the County FA who’s geographical boundary encompasses where the event is taking place).

Sanctioning from The FA would be required here and can be sought via emailing sanctioning@thefa.com.


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