In a charge letter dated 21 June 2023 The Football Association (“The FA”) alleged that Carlisle United, during the EFL League Two match against Bradford City on 26 December 2022, failed to ensure spectators and/or supporters (and anyone purporting to be its supporters or followers) conducted themselves in an orderly fashion whilst attending the match.
Accordingly, The FA charged Carlisle United with:
- “Failing on 26/12/22 to ensure that spectators and/or supporters (and anyone purporting to be its supporters or followers) conduct themselves in an orderly fashion whilst attending the match and do not use words or otherwise behave in a way which is improper, offensive, abusive, indecent, or insulting with either express or implied reference to race contrary to rule E21.1 of the Rules of the Football Association;
- In addition, The FA alleged that the words and/or behaviour made reference to race contrary to FA rule E21.4.
The misconduct of the Carlisle United supporters was not limited to an isolated incident, but involved three identifiable incidents of offensive and highly insulting racist chanting during the game.
The club admitted the charge in correspondence dated 27/6/23.
The FA Commission concluded it was appropriate and proportionate to issue a financial sanction of £7,500.
In addition, it imposed that an Action Plan in accordance with Annex 1 to the Policy and Guidance was necessary in this case, in order to reduce the risk of further such breaches of FA rule E21.
Carlisle United Football Club was formally warned as to future conduct.
Chief executive Nigel Clibbens said: “The club condemns the discriminatory and disorderly behaviour we saw at the game.
“The damage to the reputation of the club and football and issues of equality, diversity and inclusivity by such discriminatory misconduct is obvious.
“It is unsurprising that we received multiple complaints from supporters after that game. We are deeply sorry for this incident and apologise to Bradford City, its fans and all spectators at the match, and the wider game, for this incident.
“It brings shame on the club and our fans. There must be no repeat.”
“We have worked to improve spectator behaviour, including with supporter groups, but this has proved to fall short of what is required. We will introduce an action plan in accordance with the FA Regulatory Commission sanction.
“The club will develop initiatives to make it a more inclusive environment and will be more proactive in the prevention and detection of any potential discriminatory or disorderly behaviour going forward.
“This will include a media campaign across our website and social media accounts emphasising the club’s policies and zero tolerance approach toward discriminatory and disorderly behaviour.”