On the fast track

January 1, 2000

Ken Masters’

Web Watch

With the season a little over a month old a series of FA charges for misconduct, fielding ineligible or suspended players and a variety of other offences are already rearing their ugly heads for the administrators of our game to deal with.

The popular press love it, of course, as do the national and local radio ‘phone ins’ but what are the consequences for clubs, particularly smaller ones, with limited resources to face up to the music by way of organising a defence or paying the ultimate financial penalty.

The number of offences is already mounting. Bristol Rovers and our opponents thus far has already been the subject of a good number of yellow and red cards. With two yellows counting as red these days, we have seen sending offs in games home and away, for and against. We have seen in play the consequences of refereeing decisions bringing about rapid and unplanned substitutions, changes of shape, and styles of play. These are often employed by managers and coaches to get something out of games that might otherwise have delivered guite a different result like three points, or none, resulting from more attacking options in the final third, a goal or two, or getting caught on the break.

The penalties for yellows and reds are quite clear with a player forced onto the sidelines for a game or three but, what about all the other instances and how they are being dealt with. I went to the Football Association’s official website to see what answers I could find; what are latest procedures and what is currently going on and hitting the headlines.

Up front, and leading the news the site, are postings relating to clubs in trouble for crowd control and player suspension problems. Improper conduct allegations and claims for wrongful dismal of players are also to the fore. Referees reports and the accounts of fourth officials and linesmen are usually key to the charges that are brought, and likely outcomes and resulting penalties.

The site is not backwards in coming forwards with the latest cases and charges. Accrington Stanley FC and player Ray Putterill have been charged by The FA after Putterill appeared in a Football League Trophy match whilst under a County FA suspension. Leeds United and Nottingham Forest are both in trouble following a mass confrontation between their two sets of players during their Championship game on 15th August, and both clubs have been charged under new fast track rules.

Everton manager David Moyes, and assistant manager Steve Round, have been charged with improper conduct. The charges relate to Moyes’ and Round’s conduct towards referee Martin Atkinson on the pitch following the final whistle at Everton’s match against Manchester United on 11th September. Under The FA’s new fast track procedures, Moyes and Round have until Thursday 16th September to respond to the charges and have both been offered a standard sanction of a £8,000 fine should they accept the charge. If either party denies the charge; the case will be heard by a Regulatory Commission within 10 working days.

So what are the FA’s new fast track rules and procedures, who do they apply to and when did they come into force? Click on the link on the web site to find out more. The FA has introduced new additional Fast Track regulations for the 2010/11 season, to improve the speed of its disciplinary processes, and to provide greater consistency when issuing penalties. Following the success of the Fast Track system over recent seasons, in dealing with certain cases of misconduct, the newly accelerated process has been rolled out to cover all straightforward match day misconduct cases and media comments. The new system will cover the top five leagues in the professional game, from the Premier League through to the Blue Square Premier.

Benefits of the new system, according to the FA, are faster processes for dealing with misconduct arising from a match and the advantages of speed and consistency. So far, so good, and I have to say that consistency catches the eye. The fast track system also applies to media comment cases and incorporates standard offered sanctions. In other words give us a few quid, assuming you have it, and a lot of time and trouble will be saved all round.

The site reports Darren Bailey, Director of Football Governance and Regulation, as saying: “The new procedures are designed to provide a faster, more streamlined, transparent and consistent framework for a broader range of football disciplinary offences (Did you get that the first time, no neither did I). From this season the aim is to have all standard football misconduct cases covered by the scheme dealt with in days and not weeks.”

So there we have it, consistency or here’s your money, I haven’t got the time. For the sake of all in our game I hope that consistency prevails.





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