Northumberland FA would like to provide our grassroots football community with mid-Season overview of discipline misconduct charges that have been heard from the pre-Season until the first week of January 2023 of the 2022-2023 Season.
In this time we have heard 95 charges of misconduct, with 93 of these being found to be Proven by a Discipline Commission panel on the civil standard of the balance of probability. Assuming we do not see a decrease in this mid-Season number across the second half of the Season, we are on track to hear more charges of misconduct than we did in the 2021-2022 Season, with the total heard in that Season being 168.
65% of all misconduct charges we have heard, whether they be against Clubs, players, coaches, or referees, have been in relation to matters in youth football (which includes incidents taking place at youth football matches). This is a mid-Season number and to put that into perspective, the entire percentage of charges heard pertaining to youth football across the entirety of the 2021-2022 Season was 55%. This is a stark short-term increase.
15% of misconduct charges we have heard have involved abusive language that has been aggravated by a protected characteristic. This is a mid-Season number and to put that into perspective, the entire percentage of charges heard pertaining to language that was aggravated by a protected characteristic across the entirety of the 2021-2022 Season was 5%.
Over 20% of charges heard have been allegations of misconduct against Match Officials, both in adult and in youth football where some referees are as young as 14 years old. We have seen during the course of this Season so far charges found to be proven of referees being subject to abusive and insulting language, threatening language and behaviour and physical contact.
Finally, 37% of charges heard have been against Clubs where the overall conduct of their personnel (whether that be coaches and players) or parents/spectators has been improper during matches, in some cases leading to matches being abandoned.
Discipline Officer Adam Williamson said: “It is clear that behaviour in football across the County over just half a Season has, in some cases, been extremely poor, more shockingly in youth football where our young players and referees should be having fun in a safe environment. At the current rate, we are on track to hear more charges that we did last Season alongside an increase in nearly all categories of misconduct charges that we can raise. We thank everyone who has reported misconduct to us over the course of the Season so far and we urge everyone who witnesses anything concerning to report it to us so that we can continue to challenge negative behaviour. We also call on Clubs to internally make every parent, spectator, player, coach and Club official aware of what is expected by way of behaviour in football”.
Any complaint around the behaviour or conduct of a player, coach, referee, Club, or spectator/parent can be submitted to our Discipline inbox at Discipline@NorthumberlandFA.com. If you have concerns over the safety or wellbeing of any U18 or adult at risk you can report these to us at our Safeguarding inbox at Safeguarding@NorthumberlandFA.com.
Codes of Conduct for parents, coaches, players and Match Officials can be downloaded and viewed from the England Football Respect site HERE