In the Premier League (I don't know about other leagues), retrospective action can be taken against a player if they commit a 'violent conduct' offense which is missed by the on field officials.

As far as I understand it, if the referee spots an offense takes action against the player, the decision of the referee stands. For instance, if an offense that would usually be a straight red was only given as a yellow for some reason, the FA cannot then hand out a larger suspension, as it is judged that the offense was dealt with on the field.

As an example of this rule in action, Papiss Cisse recently elbowed Seamus Coleman during a Premier League game. This was not spotted by the referee and linesmen. However, Cisse was later charged with violent conduct and faces a three games suspension if this is proven (BBC Sport story)

My question is as follows: if Cisse had later been red carded for an unrelated offense, could he have still been charged for the initial offense, resulting in a longer suspension as an accumulation of the two?

1 Answer 1



In the 2014/15 The FA Handbook (pdf).

In the section title Disciplinary Procedures - Regulations, pages 339-340:

Where a Player is charged with Misconduct contrary to Rule E1 of The Association, for a matter on the Field of Play (which falls within Law 12 but was not seen by Match Officials during the period of the game), the proceedings shall follow the specific procedures and time limits set out in the relevant directions concerning such matters as determined by Council from time to time (the “Standard Directions – Incidents on the Field of Play which fall within Law 12, which were not seen by Match Officials, but caught on video (serious foul play, violent conduct, spitting at an opponent or any other person, offensive, insulting or abusive language or gestures)” – see Schedule A).

Moving to Schedule A, page 347:

A Charge shall ordinarily be issued within the period of two working days of the incident (i.e. for a Saturday/Sunday game, a Charge shall ordinarily be issued prior to 6pm on the Tuesday). The Charge will be accompanied by all evidence, documents and written submissions upon which The Association intends to rely. Where the Charge is not accompanied by an offer of the standard punishment, the Charge will state that The Association claims that the standard punishment would be clearly insufficient, and will set out the basis for that claim.


In accepting the Charge, the Player may also accept the standard punishment offered, or claim that the standard punishment would be clearly excessive having regard to the factors set out at (d)(i) below. In the event that the offered punishment is accepted, the suspension will commence forthwith upon receipt by The Association of the consent of the chairman of the Judicial Panel (or his nominee).

In summary, if the incident was missed by the referee, a charge would be sent to the club, and they would usually accept the charge, with the suspension added onto the end of the other suspension.

If it was a serious incident (ie. "the standard punishment would be clearly insufficient"), or the player appealed on various grounds (eg. mistaken identity, excessive punishment), it would be dealt with by the Regulatory Commission at their next meeting.

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