Respect Our Referees ; Change To Rule 5

Thu, Feb 7, 2019

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RESPECT OUR REFEREES

A working group was established by the FAI to put forward recommendations to change or insert new rules into the FAI rule book. After many meetings and much discussion, the working groups proposals were voted upon and accepted at the FAI EGM on Monday the 4th of February.

Before if anyone abused or worse assaulted a referee, the rules only stated that the punishment should be a minimum of a one match ban for abuse or a one-year ban for assaults.

This was in my opinion totally inadequate to deal with these important issues and so therefore as part of the working group I am pleased that the FAI are bringing in sweeping changes that will protect us in the future.

This new rule below has been inserted into the FAI Rule Book and comes into force on the 12th of February:

RULE 5
MISCONDUCT BY PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS AGAINST MATCH OFFICIALS
1. Where a Player receives a red card and/or is subsequently reported for misconduct against a Match Official, the overall suspension imposed, including the automatic one match suspension, shall be for:
a) at least three (3) matches for use of foul, insulting or abusive language that is used directly towards a Match Official in an offensive, intimidating or threatening manner;

b) at least twelve (12) matches for deliberately placing a hand on, brushing against or obstructing a Match Official. During this suspension, the Player shall be ineligible to play for any other club team or in any other competition;

c) at least twelve (12) months from all football related activity for assaulting (deliberately pushing, pulling, spitting at, striking, elbowing, punching, kicking etc.) a Match Official; at least a thirty-six (36) months suspension from all football related activity for assaulting i.e. deliberately striking a Match Official that involves head butting, repeated punching/kicking and/or assaults involving more than one player and/or official from the same team.

2. The overall suspension imposed on any Official for misconduct against a Match Official shall be for:
a) at least three (3) matches for use of foul, insulting or abusive language that is used directly towards a Match Official in an offensive, intimidating or threatening manner;
b) at least twelve (12) matches for deliberately placing a hand on, brushing against or obstructing a Match Official. During this suspension, the Player shall be ineligible to play for any other club team or in any other competition;
c) at least twelve (12) months from all football related activity for assaulting (deliberately pushing, pulling, spitting at, striking, elbowing, punching, kicking etc.) a Match Official; at least a thirty-six (36) months suspension from all football related activity for assaulting i.e. deliberately striking a Match Official that involves head butting, repeated punching/kicking and/or assaults involving more than one player and/or official from the same team.

3. Where a Player or Official persists in using foul and abusive language, having been sent from the field of play, a further sanction shall be applied.

4. Where a sanction is imposed under Part D, Section 2 Rule 5.1c. or d. or 5.2.c or d, the FAI Disciplinary Committee may impose any other sanction available under these rules.

5. A Player or Official whom the Match Official has reported as having committed an assault on a Match Official before, during or immediately after a match shall automatically stand suspended until the disciplinary process has been completed.

6. Where a Player or Official has been reported as having committed an assault on a Match Official, the League shall immediately refer the matter to the FAI Disciplinary Control Unit and the matter will be decided by the FAI Disciplinary Committee in the first instance. The decision of the FAI Disciplinary Committee shall be notified to all relevant bodies.

7. Where a Player or Official makes disparaging remarks or comments about a Match Official on their personal social media platform visible to the public that Player or Official shall be dealt with in accordance with Part D, Section 2 Rule 19.
I can also inform you that if a league does not impose the minimum sanction the referee will not have to appeal this decision but simply report the league at no cost to the DCU in the FAI and they will increase the sanction. Referees will ne notified of all results of serious disciplinary actions, something we were rarely afforded in the past.

In order to provide clarity on the procedure for referring matters to the DCU and the procedure that will be undertaken when a matter is referred to the DCU please see the guidelines set out below:
1. All Match Official Reports should be sent to the league in which they officiated not to the DCU.
2. Where the Match Official has reported a breach of Rule 5 the League shall review the Match Official’s Report together with whatever other evidence, they deem necessary
in order to make a determination as to whether the offence falls under:
a) Rule 5.1a) or 5.2a) – persisting in using foul, abusive or offensive Language
towards a Match Official
b) Rule 5.1b) or 5.2b) – deliberately placing a hand on, brushing against or
obstructing a Match Official
c) Rule 5.1c) or 5.2c) – assaulting (deliberately pushing, pulling, spitting at, striking,
elbowing, punching, kicking etc.) a Match Official;
d) Rule 5.1d) or 5.2d) – assaulting i.e. deliberately striking a Match Official that
involves head butting, repeated punching/kicking and/or assaults involving more
than one Player and/or Official from the same team.
3. If the League determines that the Rule breach falls under Rule 5.1 (a) or (b) or 5.2 (a)
or (b), the League will deal with the matter in accordance with their own disciplinary
procedures.
4. If the League determines the Rule breach falls under Rules 5.1 (c) or (d) or 5.2 (c) or
(d), the League should refer the matter directly to the Disciplinary Control Unit
(DCU) by email discipline@fai.ie.
5. If after investigation the DRO determines that there is no breach of Rule 5.1 (c) or (d)
or 5.2 (c) or (d), the matter will be referred back to the League to deal with under their
disciplinary procedures i.e. where the breach falls under Rule 5.1 (b) or 5.2 (b).
6. If the DCU determines that there has been a breach of Rules 5.1 (c) or (d) or 5.2 (c) or (d) than a charge will issue against the player via the club secretary which will include
an Invitation to Comment (ITC) and a copy of the Match Official’s Report. The League and Provincial Association will also be informed of the charge and the hearing date.
7. The Player, their Club, the Match Official, the League and the Provincial Association will all be entitled to attend on the day of the Disciplinary Hearing and make submissions with regard to the matter.
8. Following the Disciplinary Hearing, the DCU will inform all parties of the Decision
I will go into more detail as there was more agreed upon with the FAI at our upcoming council meeting in March, but until I want to sincerely thank every member of society for their patience and support during this difficult period.
Yours Sincerely,
Paul O’Brien
President ISRS

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