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Disciplinary Action

Mass Soccer Disciplinary: Player Misconduct Policy

In instances where an Affiliate (Member League) desires to have the Committee review an alleged occurrence of player misconduct, the procedure should be as follows: 
 
Player should be immediately suspended by Affiliate, pending a hearing by the Disciplinary Committee.
 
Appropriate officer of the Affiliate should make a formal request, in writing, to the Committee to hear the case.  Email shall be an acceptable alternative to a written request.  The request should include: 
•    Description of the events that are alleged to have occurred 
•    Copy of the referee report from the match in question
•    Copy of police report, if filed 
•    Witness statements (players involved, spectators, other witnesses), if any
•    Disciplinary History of player(s) in question with Affiliate, if any
 
If determined by MASS to meet the established standard, within 30 days of the request from the Affiliate, the Committee will hold a hearing.  If the request fails to meet the standard, the request will be denied, allowing the Affiliate to take action through its own disciplinary process.
 
Post hearing (typically within one week), the Committee will notify all concerned parties of its decision.  Additionally, MASS should determine what obligations it might have, if any, to report the outcome of any MASS hearings resulting in suspensions to other member state associations within USASA and/or USSF.
 
Any player who receives a sanction shall have the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Committee to USSF.

 

APPEAL FILING PROCEDURES

For players who wish to file an appeal, Mass Soccer has an appeals process which must be followed.

USSF Bylaw 705 (see U.S. Soccer bylaws) sets forth the procedures for filing an appeal with USSF, as well as the procedures that USSF will follow in resolving appeals.  Generally, Massachusetts procedures are very similar to the USSF procedures.  However, it is important to remember that there are differences, and not every disciplinary decision is appealable.  Please consult and read Mass Soccer Bylaw 5.3 regarding appeals, available here

Note - for the following document, the term "league" is meant to include the Member or Affiliated League.

Filing the Appeal

An appeal is initiated by submitting a Notice of Appeal, available here. This notice must be sent within 10 days of receiving the final decision from the league, and should be sent via certified mail to all opposing parties, as well as the Appeals Committee at the following address: 

Mass Soccer

PO Box 33

Reading, MA 01867

The appellant must include with the completed Notice of Appeal a money order or cashier's check for the appeals fee, payable to MASS Soccer. 

What to Include:

In the Notice of Appeal the following three things should be included:

  1. A copy of the league's original decision that is being appealed.  This means the letter that was issued by the league's appeal committee.

  2. A copy of the league bylaw or bylaws that are involved, and a short explanation of how the league failed to follow those bylaws.

  3. A statement of how the decision affected the team. 

The purpose of the Notice of Appeal is to allow the Appeals Committee enough information to decide on whether the case is appealable.  You will be given an opportunity to submit additional supporting documents before a final decision is made. 

Remember to send a copy via certified mail of the Notice of Appeal to the league whose decision is being appealed!

What Not To include

No other documents should be submitted at this time.  This includes but is not limited to email correspondence, hearing notes, or any arguments and evidence about the original decision.  USSF Policy 705-1 specifically prohibits presentation of new evidence to the Appeals Panel unless circumstances have "materially changed" or new facts are discovered that were previously unavailable.  If an appellant would like the Appeals Panel to consider new evidence, it is advisable to submit as part of the argument an explanation as to why it should be considered. 

The Appeals Committee is not formed to re-hear a case.  If you feel that the league issued a bad decision, the Appeals Committee will not re-open the case.  As a general rule, the Appeals Committee will make their determination based solely on whether the league followed its own rules in reaching the original decision.

Appeals Document with Instructions

These instructions can also be shared and download. Please click HERE to view.  

Suspended Players

Mass Soccer maintains a listing of all players who have been suspended by Mass Soccer.  Access to this list is available by clicking HERE.

Please note it is possible for players to only be suspended at the league level (by their league only) and not at the state level (by Mass Soccer).