Full details on Discipline Procedures can be found in the A.F.A. Handbook.
Who Handles Discipline?
Discipline is generally not dealt with by the league, but by the County Football Association to whom it affiliates. For the London Legal League, all discipline is dealt with by the Amateur Football Alliance (AFA).
How Does It Work?
After a match, the referee sends in a report for any misconduct. For cautions this is now simply a "tick box" with no written report, but for sendings off and other misconduct (verbal abuse, etc) the referee will send in a written report.
Once the County FA receive the report, they (not the referee) will issue a charge, which is normally sent to the club within 7-14 days. Usually that charge will include a fine and/or suspension, typically starting on the Monday two weeks after the date of the charge. The player and club then have to answer the charge.
How Long Are Suspensions?
The length of a suspension depends on the severity of the offence. It should be noted that at amateur level Suspensions are "time bans" (not "match bans" as in professional football) and cover all football. If you get a 35 day ban from a London Legal League game, it also covers your participation in weekend football.
It is the responsibility of the player and his club secretary to ensure that all details of the clubs for whom he plays are completed when the suspension is acknowledged.
Full details on the Football Association Recommended Punishments can be found above.
What Action Should Clubs Take?
Clubs should ensure that their players abide by these bans, and in particular that players pay the fines incurred. Many London Legal League clubs tend to pay the fines on behalf of the players, which doesn't encourage any acceptance of responsibility.
Many clubs also have their own disciplinary codes - it's not widely known that all professional clubs will do so, and aside from any FA ban, most professional clubs will fine players for cautions or dismissals (often a couple of weeks' wages). It is not uncommon within AFA football for clubs to automatically suspend players for one or more games for sendings off, or cautions such as dissent.
When Does the League Get Involved?
The League will only get involved in the most serious of cases. Our powers are effectively restricted to suspending or expelling players and/or clubs. We would hope those are sanctions we never have to apply.
If clubs have any questions, please contact the League Secretary, Danny McConnell, or the Discipline Officer at the Amateur Football Alliance, Jock Henderson (020 7359 3493).