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The FA

Red card changes

The major changes ahead of the new campaign include:
  • In exceptional cases only, the ability to reduce, or increase, on application, the standard punishment for red card offences*
  • Sanctions, resulting from red cards shown in pre-season friendly fixtures, will not apply to competitive first team games*
  • Bringing forward of the yellow card amnesty cut-off date, from end of February to 31 December
  • Suspensions for reaching 5, 10 or 15 yellow cards to begin with immediate effect*

*Only for clubs competing in the Premier League, Football League and Football Conference National

As detailed above, and ready for the new season, clubs can now seek a reduction in the standard punishment for dismissal offences where they feel the punishment is clearly excessive.

The standard punishment will remain appropriate in the vast majority of cases as this change will only cater for the truly exceptional cases. It is not intended for this policy to encourage or lead to the systematic, regular review of standard punishments.

When considering such cases, independent Regulatory Commissions will take account of a number of important specified factors including intent, force and injury.

Clubs will not be able to pursue a claim for wrongful dismissal and also seek to reduce the sanction as an alternative. As with wrongful dismissal claims, Regulatory Commissions will have the discretion to increase the sanction if the rejected claim had no prospect of success and/or amounts to an abuse of process.

The FA also retains the power to seek an increase in the standard punishment in respect of dismissals for violent conduct or serious foul play offences where appropriate. The FA shall take account of the same specified factors when considering whether the standard punishment is clearly insufficient – including intent, force and injury. The intention is that the standard punishment will remain appropriate in the vast majority of cases and that the provisions to increase the sanction will only cater for those truly exceptional cases.

In addition, and in order to address uncertainty over disciplinary sanctions in pre-season friendlies, sanctions for red cards shown in such fixtures will not now apply to competitive first team games. Any such sanction will apply only in the same competition (i.e. other friendlies including The FA Community Shield).

However, The FA retains the right to charge players in the most serious of misconduct cases and make sanctions applicable to competitive first-team fixtures if it is felt necessary.

Players from the Premier League through to Step 4 of the National League System, will also benefit from a change to the date that the yellow card amnesty will take effect. From this season onwards, the cut off date for five cautions is now reduced to 31 December.

Previously, players collecting five yellow cards prior to the final day in February were subject to a one-match suspension. This will now only apply if a player reaches five yellow cards before 31 December. Sanctions for players accumulating 10 and 15 cautions remain in place as do their respective amnesty periods.

Furthermore, if a player does accumulate the permitted number of cautions prior to a cut-off date then the suspension will now be automatic as opposed to the current seven day rule.