Andy Carroll and the FA Disciplinary Appeal Procedures

Andy Carroll Throwing Training Bib
Tuesday, 11 March 2014 By Daniel Geey, Kieran Bennett

West Ham United’s Andy Carroll was sent off by referee Howard Webb in the 59th minute against Swansea City on 1st February after appearing to swing an arm at Swansea’s defender Chico Flores.

This blog briefly explains the novel avenue that West Ham took to appeal against the red card and the three game ban once the initial FA panel had dismissed West Ham’s case.


The Challenge

West Ham challenged the wrongful dismissal charge before the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission (IRC). A three-man IRC rejected the claim of wrongful dismissal by a margin of 2-1, ruling that no “obvious error” had been made by Howard Webb. FA Disciplinary Procedures regulation A5 (I) states that there are no further grounds for appeal. As such, the only other option available to West Ham was to be found in the FA Rule K1 (d) arbitration provision. The rule is set out as follows:

Rule K1(a) shall not operate to provide an appeal against the decision of a Regulatory Commission or an Appeal Board under the Rules and shall operate only as the forum and procedure for a challenge to the validity of such decision under English law on the grounds of ultra vires (including error of law), irrationality or procedural unfairness, with the Tribunal exercising a supervisory jurisdiction.

As such the arbitration that West Ham brought could only determine whether as West Ham believed there was an error of law (the IRC had applied the wrong test) and procedural unfairness (the IRC had not held an oral hearing).

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Written by

Daniel Geey

Daniel Geey

Daniel is a Partner in the Sport Group.

Daniel’s practice focuses on helping clients in the sports sector, including rights holders, leagues, governing bodies, clubs, agencies, athletes, sports technology companies, broadcasters and financial institutions.

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Kieran Bennett

Kieran Bennett

Kieran Bennett is a trainee legal executive at Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP working in the Public and Regulatory team. Kieran has a great interest in football and the law that surrounds the game and has co-authored a number of articles relating to this area of work.

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