DFC's 2023 FA Ruling Response

The DFCSG board are in total support of the club's below response to the FA's ruling following an incident at the Scarborough vs. Darlington game on Saturday 2nd January 2023:

Darlington Football Club acknowledges the FA's decision of a £1,000 fine, with an additional £500 suspended, due to an unfortunate incident involving a small number of our supporters at the away game against Scarborough on January 2nd 2023.

The club was charged by the FA for the misconduct of some of our supporters, specifically for misogynistic abuse aimed at the female assistant referee in the first half, which contributed to a 40-minute stoppage later in the game.

Club officials apologised to the assistant at the first opportunity on the day, again later via the FA, and once again we do so here. We also apologise again to the match officials, Scarborough, the National League and FA.

We responded promptly to the FA charge, accepting our responsibility and pleading guilty. We also provided mitigating factors (thanks to the hard work of Jonathan Jowett), which the FA considered in their proceedings, and we appreciate their understanding.

The details of the case, and the written reasons for the FA's decision, are here:

After an investigation following the incident we took disciplinary action, with one fan banned from attending matches due to his abusive behaviour. We wish to commend those fans who came forward with eyewitness accounts, aiding our investigation.

In line with the FA's directives, we are committed to implementing a stringent action plan aimed at preventing such incidents in the future. Part of this plan requires us to create a new position for a Supporter Liaison Officer, whose primary role will be to act as a bridge between the Club and its supporters, fostering a safe and respectful environment during our matches. That officer will work closely with DFC club officials.

Darlington Football Club is proud of its numerous community initiatives, women's and girls' teams, and our Foundation's efforts in benefiting local people through projects such as 'Think with Your Feet'. We are also aligned with organisations like Kick It Out and Her Game Too, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to inclusivity and respect.

As a Club, we view this incident as a learning opportunity to strengthen our position within the community and our commitment to fostering a respectful, inclusive environment for all. We firmly believe that the vast majority of our loyal supporters share these sentiments. 

Our full Equality, Diversity & Inclusion policy can be found by clicking here.

We are steadfast in our determination to prevent a repeat of this incident or any form of abuse at our future matches. We appreciate your continued support and understanding as we work diligently towards these goals.