FA announce plans to start deducting points from grassroots teams guilty of serious misconduct

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Grassroots teams guilty of repeated serious misconduct could be deducted up to 12 points under new Football Association rules. The move, which has been approved by the Football Regulatory Authority and ratified by the FA Council, follows feedback suggesting "unacceptable" player behaviour is a "significant issue". Deductions for offences such as acts of discrimination, assault or attempted assault, and physical contact or attempted physical contact against a match official, will range from three to 12 points depending on the number of breaches within 12 months of the team's first offence and the severity of each case. FA CEO Mark Bullingham said: "This is a significant step for grassroots football in England, and clearly outlines our commitment to tackle incidents of serious misconduct. "We frequently hear from grassroots participants that player behaviour is a growing issue and we're determined to change this. So from the start of the 2023-24 season, players and coaches who repeatedly offend will hurt their team by losing points. Unacceptable behaviour towards other players and officials will not be tolerated. "We hope this proves to be a strong deterrent which helps to improve the culture within the grassroots game. We're also working with the professional leagues and other stakeholders to tackle poor behaviour in the professional game and will provide an update on this ahead of next season." The points deductions will apply to clubs at Step 7 and below in the men's game and Tier 3 and below in the women's pyramid. Anti-discrimination campaigners Kick It Out welcomed the move as "a landmark moment" for football at all levels. The organisation's head of grassroots and community Tajean Hutton said: "Kick It Out have received multiple reports from players across grassroots football this season who have been forced to endure violent and discriminatory abuse while playing the sport they love, so we know how essential this announcement is for improving the culture at this level. "We commend the FA for sending out a strong statement that serious misconduct against players or officials will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work closely with our partners across football to ensure that grassroots is a safe and inclusive space for all."

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