Nike Football




Discrimination of any kind has no place in football. That’s the same whether on the pitch or on the sidelines, at the training ground, or in the stands. If you tell us about something, we will act promptly and respond appropriately.

Discriminatory abuse can be a negative reference to any one or more of the following ‘protected characteristics’, which forms part of The FA E3.2 ruling: 

• Disability
• Gender reassignment
• Race
• Ethnic origin
• Colour 
• Nationality
• Religion and belief
• Sex (gender)
• Sexual orientation

We may also take action under Rule E4 if you are the subject of an act of victimisation and/or discrimination as defined in the Equality Act 2010. This includes the protected characteristics above, as well as age, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.


The sanction for discriminatory abuse is a minimum 6 match suspension and mandatory education, plus a possible fine.

The mandatory minimum sanction will not apply to offences committed in writing or via mobile phones, the internet or TV (though it is likely a form of match-based sanction will apply). It will also not apply where the discriminatory term relates only to nationality (again it is likely a form of match based sanction will apply).

Club will be liable to be sanctioned if two or more of its Participants commit an act of discriminatory abuse in any twelve month period.

In all cases the Participant may be fined as well as suspended, and will be required to undergo an education programme.

Where a youth Player is aged 12-15 (inclusive) and commits an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3(1) which is admitted or found proven for the first time, a Regulatory Commission shall impose a suspension of at least six matches.

The Regulatory Commission may increase this suspension depending on any additional aggravating factors that are present. A minimum of one match shall come into effect immediately, however the Regulatory Commission may suspend such number of the remaining Matches on such terms and for such period as it considers appropriate.

Where a Participant aged 12-15 (inclusive) commits a second or further aggravated breach of FA Rule E3(1), a Regulatory Commission shall impose an immediate suspension of no fewer than seven matches. In determining the suspension to be imposed, the Regulatory Commission shall use as an entry point an immediate suspension of eleven matches. The Regulatory Commission may depart from the entry point where aggravating or mitigating factors are present.   

A disciplinary charge will not usually be raised for an aggravated breach of FA Rule E3 (1) for a youth Player under the age of 12; the primary aim in such cases will be education.


The protocol explains the process to be followed in incidents at grassroots level where discriminatory abuse is witnessed coming from spectators at games. It aims to ensure that any discriminatory abuse directed at players, managers or match officials is effectively addressed and that Participants feel protected.

All matters of discrimination should be reported to ensure appropriate action can be taken. 


County FAs are responsible for all cases arising from Steps 5 and below and the details of these cases will also be reported centrally to The FA. Investigations will be managed by the relevant County FA (if the case has not already been escalated to The FA), and where appropriate, charges will be raised upon completion of a thorough investigation.

The FA has also established a diverse independent central Chairman’s panel for those who will be selected to chair grassroots discrimination cases. This panel, which was chosen for its skills, knowledge and experience, has undertaken the same mandatory training that The FA requires for all its Commission Chairmen, and includes members who are male, female, disabled, from ethnic minorities, identify as gay, and those who come from different faith backgrounds.

Every County FA is also establishing a local football anti-discrimination football panel. Commissions will be made up of a Chairperson from the central panel, a member of the local football anti-discrimination panel and a County FA Council member.


For charges against a club in respect of misconduct by spectators, a club will not be found guilty of misconduct if it can show that all events, incidents or circumstances were the result of circumstances over which it had no control, or for reasons of crowd safety, and that it had used all due diligence to ensure that responsibility was discharged.

In order to achieve compliance with Article 58 of the FIFA Disciplinary Code, FA Rules have been changed to a strict liability approach, so that the “due diligence” defence as outlined above shall not apply for clubs subject to an E20 charge for misconduct by spectators including direct or indirect reference to ethnic origin, colour, race, nationality, religion or belief, gender, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or disability.

If you should see or hear discriminatory abuse by spectators during a match, contact us via phone, email, or through our reporting form below, or alternatively The FA or Kick It Out using the details outlined above.

For more information you can visit our Tackling Discrimination page.

If you witness or experience discrimination, ensure to report it at the Reporting Discrimination page.