SECTION 8 – INVESTIGATIONS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS
Investigations and Disciplinary Proceedings
The League shall have power to initiate and prosecute disciplinary proceedings against any person subject to these Regulations for breach of these Regulations or other conduct amounting to Misconduct.
The League shall have the power to investigate any of the following:
suspected or alleged breach of any of these Regulations; and/or
any complaint, allegation or suspicion of financial or other irregularity; and/or
by any Club, Official or Player.
The League shall have the power to require any Club, Player or Official to:
provide such specific or general information on League affairs as The League may request in writing; and/or
attend any inquiry, hearing or proceedings to answer questions; and
to produce documents within their power, possession, custody and / or control,
as The League may direct.
The League may instruct such advisers as they wish for the purposes of carrying out such investigations, inquiry, hearing or proceedings.
Any failure by any Club, Player or Official to co-operate with any request for information or disclosure from The League under this Regulation shall be treated as a separate breach of these Regulations.
Subject to Regulation 82.7, it shall be no answer to a request from The League to disclose documents or information pursuant to this Regulation that such documents or information requested are confidential. All Clubs, Players and Officials must ensure that any other obligations of confidentiality assumed are made expressly subject to The League’s right of inquiry under these Regulations.
No Club, Player or Official shall be under an obligation to disclose any documents rendered confidential by either the order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by statute or statutory instrument.
The League’s Disciplinary Powers
The League has the power to bring disciplinary proceedings for misconduct against any Club, Official, Player and/or any other individual subject to these Regulations by:
imposing a fixed penalty in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 86;
referring the matter to a Disciplinary Commission appointed under Regulation 88; or
referring the matter to the Football Association in accordance with Regulation 87.
The same facts or matters may constitute a breach of more than one Article, Regulation, order, requirement, direction or instruction referred to above. The League may bring a charge or such charges as it sees fit.
Agreed Decisions may be deemed appropriate in circumstances which justify the conclusion of an effective and equitable resolution without referring the matter to a Disciplinary Commission.
Agreed Decisions may set out the obligation(s) to be fulfilled by the Club, Official, Player or other individual (in each case current or former) (the Proposed Respondents), including any possible application of sanctions and measures and, where necessary, a specific timeframe.
Agreed Decisions may include any sanction that could be imposed by a Disciplinary Commission.
The EFL will propose a sanction and detail its reasons in writing (a Proposed Sanction). The Proposed Respondents shall have two options:
to accept the Proposed Sanction within 14 days of receipt; or
to reject the Proposed Sanction, in which case the matter shall be referred to the Disciplinary Commission in accordance with this section 8.
In the event that no response is received within 14 days the matter shall be referred to the Disciplinary Commission for determination in the manner set out in this Section 8.
Where the Proposed Respondent accepts the Proposed Sanction in accordance with this Regulation 84, the matter shall be referred to one of those individuals who have elected to act as a chair of the Disciplinary Commission (using the same appointment process as set out in Regulation 89.3.1).
In the event that the individual appointed pursuant to Regulation 84.6 does not ratify the Proposed Sanction, the matter shall be referred to the Disciplinary Commission for determination in accordance with this Section 8. The individual appointed pursuant to Regulation 84.6 shall not act as the chairperson of the Disciplinary Commission pursuant to Regulation 89.3.1.
Any Club, Official, Player or other individual (in each case current or former) who accepts an Agreed Decision shall be deemed to have consented to publication in the media of the Agreed Decision in accordance with the principles of Paragraph 20 of Appendix 2 to these Regulations.
If a Club, Official, Player or other individual (in each case current or former) fails to comply with the terms of an Agreed Decision, they shall be guilty of misconduct.
For the avoidance of doubt, any:
person applying to become a Relevant Person; and/or
former Player or Official,
remains subject to the jurisdiction of The League and each of the powers set out in this Section and Section 9 of the Regulations in respect of any Misconduct committed or any fact, matter or dispute relating to the period during which they were a Club, applying to become a Relevant Person, a Player or an Official.
Each of the persons listed in Regulation 85.1:
acknowledge and agree that they remain bound by and subject to the provisions of section 9 of these Regulations (agreement to arbitrate); and
waive any rights to claim that they are not subject to the jurisdiction of The League by virtue of their ceasing to be a Club, Player or Official,
in respect of any fact, matter or dispute relating to the period during which they were a Club, applying to become a Relevant Person, Player or Official.
Strict Liability Offences
The League shall have the power from time to time to:
designate certain breaches of the Articles of Association or the Regulations as strict liability offences and to impose fixed fines. The League shall decide the level of fines for first and subsequent offences, whether the subsequent offence is in respect of the same or another Article of Association or Regulation and shall notify the Clubs in writing of the offences and the fines. The designation of any such breach of the Articles of Association or of the Regulations shall not prevent The League from exercising its powers of investigation and subsequent lodging of charges where a Club is in further breach within the same Season; and
increase, reduce or otherwise vary any monetary payment or figure specified in the Articles of Association or the Regulations by notifying the Clubs in writing.
Any appeal against the imposition of a fine or against the amount of such a fine under this provision for a strict liability offence shall be referred to the Disciplinary Commission.
Any party wishing to appeal shall also lodge with The League a deposit of £1,500 in respect of the costs of the appeal.
The Football Association
In its absolute discretion, The League may refer any matter to a Commission appointed by The Football Association.
Where a matter is referred to The Football Association, it shall be entitled to exercise all the powers and sanctions set out in these Regulations in relation to any League Club, Officials and Players.
Commencement of Disciplinary Commission Proceedings
Disciplinary proceedings shall be commenced by complaint which shall:
describe the nature of complaint; and
identify the Regulation(s) alleged to have been breached or the Misconduct alleged to have taken place; and
a brief summary of the facts relied upon in support of the complaint; and
have annexed to it copies of any documents relied upon by the Claimant.
The Claimant shall send the complaint to each Respondent, and where a Respondent is an Official or Player it shall be sent care of his applicable Club (or club).
A Respondent shall, within 14 days of receipt of the complaint (or such other shorter time period as ordered in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 90.1), confirm receipt of the same and shall either admit or deny the complaint.
Constitution of Disciplinary Commissions
Subject to Regulation 89.2, the parties to proceedings before a Disciplinary Commission shall be:
The League (the ‘Claimant’); and
the Club, Official, Player or other individual (in each case current or former) allegedly in breach of these Regulations (the ‘Respondent’),
Where the proceedings are an appeal against a strict liability penalty in accordance with Regulation 86.2, the party lodging the Appeal will be the Claimant, and The League shall be the Respondent.
A Disciplinary Commission shall consist of:
a chairperson who shall be either:
a qualified solicitor or barrister; or
a ‘member’ or ‘fellow’ of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators,
in either case with at least 5 years post-qualification experience who shall be appointed independently by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (or such other body as the Board may from time to time determine); and
two suitably qualified side members one of whom shall be selected by the Claimant and the other (subject to Regulation 89.4), by the Respondent,
PROVIDED ALWAYS that:
the side members must be independent of the parties and able to render an impartial decision;
the parties may agree that the Disciplinary Commission be constituted by the Chairman sitting alone; and
a ‘suitably qualified’ side member (if not a solicitor or barrister of at least five years post-qualification experience, shall be a person who is independent of the party appointing them, capable of rendering an impartial decision and not otherwise subject to a Disqualifying Condition (as defined in Appendix 3).
Where there is more than one Respondent, the Respondents collectively shall only be entitled to appoint one side member and in the absence of agreement between them within 3 days of a written request to do so, the Chairman shall be at liberty to do so on their behalf so as to avoid any possible delay in the conduct of the proceedings before the Disciplinary Commission.
Members of a Disciplinary Commission shall be entitled to receive from The League a reasonable sum by way of fees and expenses, as determined by the Board from time to time. Where a party seeks to appoint an individual whose costs exceed those determined by the Board, that party will be responsible for any additional fees and expenses in any event, and such excess amounts cannot be the subject of an order for costs under any circumstances.
Proceedings before the Disciplinary Commission shall be arbitral proceedings for the purposes of the Arbitration Act, but Sections 44, 45 and 69 of the Arbitration Act shall not apply.
Conduct of Disciplinary Commission Proceedings
The chairperson of the Disciplinary Commission shall have the power to abridge the time period set out in Regulation 88.3, on application by the Claimant, if there is a compelling reason why the proceedings before the Disciplinary Commission need to be concluded expeditiously.
If the complaint is admitted the Respondent may request that the complaint be determined by written representations in which case the Respondent shall set out in the answer all of its written representations including any mitigation to be taken into account by the Disciplinary Commission.
Where the Claimant agrees to the matter being dealt with by written representations the Chairman of the Disciplinary Commission shall convene a meeting (which may be in person, by telephone or video conference) of its members for that purpose.
If the complaint is not admitted the matter will be referred to the Disciplinary Commission for it to conduct a full hearing in respect of the complaint. The Procedural Rules set out in Appendix 2 shall apply but in the event of any conflict between this Section and the Procedural Rules, this Section of the Regulations shall prevail.
The Disciplinary Commission may at any time make a decision, and may make more than one decision at different times on different aspects of the matters to be determined.
A decision may:
order a party to do or refrain from doing anything;
order a specific performance;
make a declaration on any matter to be determined;
issue a reprimand or warning as to the future conduct of a party;
order the payment of compensation to The League, any Club, any other club, Player or other person;
order a suspension of membership of The League;
order a deduction of points;
impose a financial penalty payable to The League;
recommend expulsion from membership of The League;
order a withdrawal or loss of benefit otherwise available to members of The League e.g. basic award or ladder payment;
impose an embargo on registration of Players;
order any other sanction as the Disciplinary Commission may think fit; and
order that interest be payable on any sums awarded under this Regulation for such period and at such rates as the Disciplinary Commission thinks fit.
These sanctions may be imposed immediately or may be deferred or suspended for such period and on such terms as the Disciplinary Commission shall decide.
At any time a Disciplinary Commission may determine (either of its own accord or as a result of representations from a person, Club or club and in any event in its sole discretion) that if the complaint is upheld, it may wish to exercise the power under Regulation 91.2.5 to award compensation. If the Disciplinary Commission so determines, it shall notify the parties to the proceedings and the potential recipient(s) of this fact. The Disciplinary Commission may then make appropriate directions as to the receipt of evidence of loss from the relevant recipient(s) as well as directions on the receipt of evidence in response from the parties to the proceedings.
The Disciplinary Commission shall have the power to abridge the time period set out in Regulation 93.3 (time limits for appeal) if there is a compelling reason why the appeal (if any) needs to be concluded expeditiously.
Any financial sanction and any order for costs shall be paid to The League within 14 days of the date on which the sanction or costs were imposed. Any compensation shall be paid in accordance with the order of the Disciplinary Commission.
Consequences of an Order for Expulsion
Where the Disciplinary Commission (or where appropriate the Section 9 League Arbitration Tribunal following determination of a Disciplinary Appeal) makes an order that in whole or in part recommends expulsion of a Member Club from The League under Regulation 91.2.9 the Board shall, within 28 days of receiving a copy of the order, call an extraordinary general meeting of The League and present a Special Resolution inviting Member Clubs to ratify the decision of the Disciplinary Commission or League Arbitration Tribunal.
Where the Member Clubs ratify the decision of the Disciplinary Commission or League Arbitration Tribunal the company secretary of The League shall, within 14 days of the general meeting, serve on the relevant Member Club at its last known address written notice of the decision together with written notice to transfer its share(s) in accordance with Article 4.5.
Subject to Regulation 93, the decision of the Disciplinary Commission shall be binding upon all the Clubs, Officials and Players.
A party to a Disciplinary Commission may appeal against a final order of the Disciplinary Commission (a ‘Disciplinary Appeal’). A preliminary or procedural ruling by a Disciplinary Commission shall not be subject to a Disciplinary Appeal unless:
such ruling is dispositive (i.e. it amounts to a final resolution of the matter); or
such ruling, though not dispositive of itself, is subsequently incorporated into a final decision.
A Disciplinary Appeal shall be heard by the League Arbitration Panel in accordance with the provisions of Section 9 of these Regulations, supplemented by the provisions of this Regulation. In the event of any conflict between Section 9 and this Regulation, this Regulation shall prevail.
Any party wishing to bring a Disciplinary Appeal must, within 14 days of the making of the final order by the Disciplinary Commission (or such other shorter time period as ordered in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 91.5), serve on The League and any other party to the original proceedings:
written notice of the intention to bring a Disciplinary Appeal; and
a statement setting out the grounds of the Disciplinary Appeal.
Any party wishing to bring a Disciplinary Appeal shall also lodge with The League a deposit of £1,500 in respect of the costs of the Disciplinary Appeal.
Any party against whom penalties were imposed under Regulation 91 may apply, initially in writing, to the League Arbitration Tribunal for an order that such penalties be suspended pending the resolution of the Disciplinary Appeal. The League Arbitration Tribunal shall determine any such application having regard to the merits of the Disciplinary Appeal and the representations of the other parties.
No new evidence shall be admitted in respect of a Disciplinary Appeal unless the League Arbitration Panel determines that:
the evidence was not available at the time of the hearing before notwithstanding the exercise of reasonable diligence by the person seeking to introduce it;
the evidence is credible; and
the evidence is relevant.
Following a Disciplinary Appeal, the League Arbitration Tribunal shall have the power to:
confirm the decision; or
set aside the decision in whole or in part and substitute a new decision; or
order a rehearing before a differently constituted Disciplinary Commission.