From 22nd November 2013, the FA will be able to consider retrospective action for players even if match officials have seen part of the incident.

The amendment to the rules was prompted by the recent incident involving Fernando Torres and Jan Vertonghen in which Torres was seen to have scratched the face of Vertonghen, but escaped punishment because the incident had been ‘partially seen’ by the officials.

Under the current rules, if a match official has seen part of the incident, no retrospective action can be taken against the player in question.

The new rules will now cover:

‘¢    acts of violent conduct that occur secondarily to a challenge for the ball; and
‘¢    off-the-ball incidents where one or more match official did see the players coming together, but the match officials’ view was such that none of them had the opportunity to make a decision on an act of misconduct that took place within that coming together.

The FA director of governance, Darren Bailey, said:

“It is sometimes difficult for officials to see such incidents, as they are often concentrating solely on the challenge for possession of the ball, and we are mindful of this.

“This is an important step forward for the game and provides an appropriate level of discretion for the FA to consider action. However, we remain of the view that the best outcome for all is that referees are able to make correct judgments on the day to benefit the teams involved.”

Here at Farleys we have a dedicated team of sports law solicitors who will be able to advise you if you are facing a disciplinary, or indeed any other area of sports law. Do not hesitate to contact a member of our team today for further advice.

By Daniel Draper, Sports Lawyer