Changes to the FIFA Disciplinary Code

After almost 15 years without any major changes to its Disciplinary Code, today on 15 July 2019 the new FIFA Disciplinary Code has come into force. Remarkable changes took place on several topics.


FIFA introduced four updates regarding the zero-tolerance principle on racism and any form of discrimination in article 13, namely.

1. The scope, definition and content of FIFA’s anti-racism and anti-discrimination vision have been fully aligned with the highest international standards. The new article is formulated in the following way:

 “Any person who offends the dignity or integrity of a country, a person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or derogatory words or actions (by any means whatsoever) on account of race, skin colour, ethnic, national or social origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, language, religion, political opinion, wealth, birth or any other status or any other reason, shall be sanctioned with a suspension lasting at least ten matches or a specific period, or any other appropriate disciplinary measure. “

2. As a general rule, a match is automatically forfeited if the referee decides to abandon it after having applied the three-step procedure for discriminatory incidents;

3. For reoffenders involved in racist or discriminatory incidents or if the circumstances of the case require it, the disciplinary measures now include the implementation of a prevention plan to foster education on diversity and fight discrimination in football.

4. Also, FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee may permit the victim to make a statement, allowing the latter to participate in the proceedings.

Enforcement of decisions

There are three changes regarding the enforcement of both financial and non-financial decisions. According to FIFA, it must use its prominent global position to deliver financial justice, and where relevant, to exercise its power as world football’s governing body. The new Disciplinary Code contains the following changes:

FIFA will now also enforce ordinary CAS awards.  The text of article 15 reads as follows:

“Anyone who fails to pay another person (such as a player, a coach or a club) or FIFA a sum of money in full or part, even though instructed to do so by a body, a committee or an instance of FIFA or a CAS decision (financial decision), or anyone who fails to comply with another final decision (non-financial decision) passed by a body, a committee or an instance of FIFA, or by CAS:

a) will be fined for failing to comply with a decision; in addition:

b) will be granted a final deadline of 30 days in which to pay the amount due or to comply with the non-financial decision;

c) in the case of clubs, upon expiry of the aforementioned final deadline and in the event of persistent default or failure to comply in full with the decision within the period stipulated, a transfer ban will be pronounced until the complete amount due is paid or the non-financial decision is complied with. A deduction of points or relegation to a lower division may also be ordered in addition to a transfer ban in the event of persistent failure, repeated offences or serious infringements or if no full transfer could be imposed or served for any reason.

d) in the case of associations, upon expiry of the aforementioned final deadline and in the event of persistent default or failure to comply in full with the decision within the period stipulated, additional disciplinary measures may be imposed;

e) in the case of natural persons, upon expiry of the aforementioned final deadline and in the event of persistent default or failure to comply in full with the decision within the period stipulated, a ban on any football-related activity for a specific period may be imposed. Other disciplinary measures may also be imposed.” (emphasis added)

Also, to close the gap that exists between individuals in terms of their financial power by supporting those who have insufficient financial means at disciplinary proceedings. This is set out in the new article 42. FIFA legal aid will provide financial support as well as access to adequate counsel who will act on a pro bono basis.

Match manipulation

The fight against match manipulation has also been simplified and the Disciplinary Committee is now the only body competent to deal with match manipulation matters at FIFA level.


For the first time certain types of disciplinary hearings – concerning doping and match-manipulation cases – will be open to the public if the parties request it. And moreover, a dedicated FIFA website ( will be launched in the final quarter of 2019 containing the main decisions passed by the FIFA judicial bodies as well other useful legal resources.

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