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Where to find the answers to your grassroots football questions ahead of the 2021-22 season

Got questions ahead of the new season? Here’s where to find the answers on everything from changes to the laws of the game through to discipline processes and COVID guidance

With so many different things to get sorted as you prepare for a new football season, it can be hard to stay on top of all the details. To make life a little easier we’ve pulled together a number of useful resources for anyone looking to be up to date with the latest rules, regulations and guidance relating to grassroots football.

If you’ve got a burning question and don’t quite know where to look for the answer, the chances are it can probably be found following one of the links below.  

Changes to the Laws of the Game

The FA have produced a simplified version of this year’s key law changes to help prepare clubs, managers, players, referees and spectators for the new season, along with links to more detailed examples, particularly in relation to the offence of handball.


The FA Handbook

The essential guide to the rules and regulations of football, The FA Handbook has been published every year since 1895, excluding the war years, and is an invaluable companion to people involved in football at all levels.

Updated for 2021-22, any Rules and Regulations published in the electronic Handbook will now be in force, unless otherwise stated. We draw your particular attention to the new Disciplinary Regulations which have been subject to a comprehensive review.

The electronic version of the Handbook has a number of new features, including a search facility and the ability to generate a PDF of any section.


Heading Guidance

English football introduced updated Heading Guidance across every level of the game ahead of the 2021-22 season. This includes new guidance for both the adult amateur and professional game, in addition to the guidance for youth football which was introduced last year and has also been updated.

Specifically focused on training sessions where the majority of heading occurs, the guidance has been designed to meet the requirements of each level of English football.


COVID Guidance

With almost all legal restrictions on social contact having now been removed, The FA guidance has been updated to reflect this. However, there will still be the requirement for those testing positive to self-isolate, along with those identified as close contacts of someone testing positive (if they are over 18 and have not been double jabbed).

Of course, as the season progresses and the wider situation changes there may be updates to the guidance and these will be added to the page below.


FA Technology Support

For even information and resources on how to get the most out of FA systems, from Full Time to the Matchday app take a look at the FA Grassroots Technology Support Portal and YouTube Channel which are packed with helpful tips and advice including useful videos that walk you through how to do many common tasks.


County Cups

Having been unable to run them last season, we are pleased to announce that our County Cup competitions are set to return in 2021-22, with some adjustments in light of the financial and administrative challenges resulting from COVID-19. Details of these changes along with updated Rules and Guidance Documents for this season’s competitions can be found below.


Grassroots Disciplinary Guide

The Grassroots Disciplinary Guide (formerly the Essential Information for Clubs at Step 5 and Below) is an online interactive reference guide designed to aid Leagues, Clubs and Players throughout the season.

It is a useful guide to explain the disciplinary process the changes that have taken place over the last few years – including match based discipline, temporary dismissals, sanction guidelines, competition specific cautions and mandatory minimum sanctions.

This year’s guide also includes videos and resources that will go into greater depth to explain the disciplinary process. There is also a Leagues section to provide guidance for administrators regarding the Powers and Duties of the League.


Sanction Guidelines

The FA’s principle is that the sporting sanction should be consistent across ALL levels of the game and the fluctuating element would be the monetary sanction imposed to reflect the level of game. The Sanction Guidelines document enables clubs and players to be aware of the guidance given to County Associations and Disciplinary Commissions for when assessing and deciding on disciplinary cases.

This document will serve as a useful guide for Participants to have an awareness of likely sanction should the case against them be found proven.


Personal Hearings

When a participant or club is charged by the County FA and they do not accept the charge, they have the right to request a personal hearing. The Personal Hearing Guide can be accessed via the link below, this guide explains the personal hearing process from start to finish for everyone that may be asked to attend.


Grassroots Discipline Complaints Process

The FA Grassroots Discipline Team have implemented a new Grassroots Discipline Complaints Process for the 2021/22 season. Full details are available from the link below.


Sin Bins

From the 2019-20 season 'sin bins' were introduced across all levels of grassroots football, meaning dissent will result in 10-minute temporary dismissals from the pitch. Despite this being in place for several seasons, many participants are still unsure about how these work in practice. The FA have a handy guide which answers lots of frequently asked questions.


Of course if the answers you seek can’t be found above, we’re always here to help.

You can email or call us on 01462 677622.