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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
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11/30 9:20pm
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LA
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MLS Disciplinary Committee Principles and Parameters

SEE: updated MLS disciplinary summary »

MLS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE PRINCIPLES AND PARAMETERS

Mission Statement: To preserve the integrity and reputation of the game and Major League Soccer, and to assist in ensuring player safety.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee reviews all games and all incidents that occur during regular season and MLS Cup Playoff games. Clubs, therefore, do not need to request review by the Disciplinary Committee.

In determining when it will act, the Disciplinary Committee will use the following parameters:

  1. Where the referee sees an incident and issues a red card, the Committee may review the play for further disciplinary action, over and above the mandatory suspension and fine. The Committee will add suspensions and/or fines over and above the mandatory one game suspension for those offenses the Committee deems to be of an egregious or reckless nature, or where the Committee believes it must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game, including in particular but without limitation to contact above the shoulders through the dangerous use of elbows, forearms or fists.
  2. Where the referee does not see the incident (e.g., an off-the-ball offense) and therefore does not have the opportunity to act, the Committee will review any and all evidence and may act to discipline a player.
  3. Where the referee sees an incident and either does not act, or rules only a foul or only a yellow card (i.e., anything other than a red card), the Committee will not in general issue a suspension, unless:

    • The play in question is, in the unanimous opinion of the Committee from all available video evidence, a clear and unequivocal red card; AND
    • The play in question is of an egregious or reckless nature, such that the Committee must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game.
  4. When a player routinely and regularly commits dangerous offenses. When a player routinely and regularly commits dangerous offences, the Committee will:

    • Inform both the player’s Club and the MLS Players Union that his behavior is being monitored.
    • Consider supplemental discipline if disregard for player safety persists.
    • Institute a “Probationary" period. A player can be cleared of the period with good behavior; consistent with the current good behavior incentive system for yellow cards.
  5. In obvious examples of simulation/embellishment.

    • Disciplinary Committee must be unanimous in its view of the incident, and it must be obvious.

Automatic Suspensions: Red cards issued in MLS games result in ejection from the game in progress and an automatic one-game suspension and $250 fine. Cards issued in MLS games may not be appealed, except in a case of mistaken identity.

Coaches and staff: Red cards are not issued to coaches. Referees may, at their discretion, dismiss a coach or other team staff member from the sideline due to inappropriate behavior during a game. Any coach dismissed will serve an automatic one-game suspension in the club’s next match in the corresponding competition. A suspended coach will not enter the stadium tunnel area, Team Locker Room or field level until after conclusion of the game, at which point he may enter the Team Locker Room.  He will not sit in the Press Box or grandstands. Upon arrival at the stadium, he will immediately be directed to and seated in a private suite or Club-provided reserved section. A suspended coach also will not be in communication with his Team during the course of the game. 

Regular Season Caution Accumulation

Fines and suspensions will be levied against players for yellow card accumulations during the Regular Season as follows: 1) Player accrues FIVE (5) yellow cards: $250 fine and suspension from his next MLS Regular Season Game; 2) Player accrues additional THREE (3) yellow cards after having been fined and suspended for FIVE (5) cards: $500 fine and suspension from his next MLS Regular Season Game; 3) Player accrues additional THREE (3) yellow cards after having been fined and suspended for a second game: $750 fine and suspension from his next MLS Regular Season Game; 4) Player accrues additional two (2) yellow cards after having been fined and suspended for a third game: $1000 fine and suspension from his next MLS Regular Season Game; 5)For each two (2) yellow cards thereafter, Player will be fined $1000 and suspended from his next MLS Regular Season Game.

Good Behavior Incentive

If a player receives a caution during the Regular Season that brings him within one caution of any of the suspension thresholds (e.g., 4 cautions, 7 cautions), he will be placed on “Warning.”  If a player is placed on “Warning” and appears in three (3) consecutive games without receiving a caution, being sent off or sanctioned by the MLS Disciplinary Committee for an infraction that occurs during one of the three (3) consecutive games, that player’s personal caution total will be reduced by one (1) caution.  A player may only benefit from the Good Behavior Incentive one time per season.

Suspension Manipulation

Players suspended from MLS League Season games (regular season or playoffs) that are called in for national team duty will have their suspensions held in abeyance until they return to their MLS Club. Further, MLS Clubs will be responsible for informing the League Office of a player’s selection to national team duty. Failure to provide the League Office with such notice or to withhold the use of a suspended player when appropriate is subject to sanctions.

Where the referee sees an incident and issues a red card, the Committee may review the play for further disciplinary action, over and above the mandatory suspension and fine. The Committee will add suspensions and/or fines over and above the mandatory one game suspension for those offenses the Committee deems to be of an egregious or reckless nature, or where the Committee believes it must act to protect player safety or the integrity of the game, including in particular but without limitation to contact above the shoulders through the dangerous use of elbows, forearms or fists.

CLICK HERE for information about the red card review process.