Can sporting governing bodies impose sanctions on sporting teams who do not appear in a match or a tournament which they are scheduled to play in?

Football teams playing in the Football Association Premier League

The 20 football teams which currently ply their trade in the Football Association Premier League are regulated by the English national governing body of football – the Football Association – and must adhere to the rules of the body in charge of the league – the FA Premier League.

One of the conditions of playing in the league is that you are required to play a total of 38 games a season – playing each of the other teams in the league both home and away.

The FA Premier League Fixture List

The FA Premier League fixture list is published at the beginning of the season following a computer generated list and then in consultation with the various teams playing in the league.

When will changes be made to the Premier League fixture list?

The Premier League fixture is not completely set in stone at the beginning of the season as there is some flexibility throughout the season. Often games will be rearranged for the following reasons:

  • There has been adverse weather conditions which has resulted in the postponement of the match

  • There has been a clash between competitions – for example one team may still be remaining in the FA Cup whereas the opposition has not

  • The game may be moved to a different time on the same date or a day earlier or later due to the television broadcasting

  • The game may be moved later or earlier due to one of the teams playing in European Competition and requiring an extra days rest

The decision as to when the dates of these games will be moved rests with the FA Premier League and not the individual clubs. For example if one of the clubs has been playing in European Competition and feel that they need a rest they can make a request to the FA Premier League but the final decision will rest with the league.

Has there been a situation whereby a club has decided that it is unable to play in a match?

In the 1996/97 season Middlesbrough Football Club were scheduled to play a fixture away against Blackburn Rovers. However, following a flu virus which had been prevalent through the Middlesbrough camp decimating their squad they requesting to the Premier League that the game be rearranged due to their inability to field a team.

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For more information on:

  • What did the league say?
  • What happened?
  • What would be the case if an international football team was to withdraw from an international football tournament on the eve of the tournament?
  • Were any sanctions handed down to the team?
  • Why did the CAF hand down such a ban to the Togolese Federation?
  • What was the response from the Togolese Federation?
  • Has there been any recent developments in this case?
  • What was decided?