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Sports lawMonday 17 September 2018

The FA v Roy Higginbotham – Appeal Board

On 25 July 2018 David Phillips QC chaired a FA Appeal Board in the case of Roy Higginbotham.  Mr Higginbotham was a Life President of Macclesfield Town FA.  On 6 January 2018 during a lunch in the Board Room before the match he made a number of offensive remarks about Raheem Stirling, saying that he should be put in a zoo, and that he looked like a monkey.  Mr Higginbotham had admitted the charge of using abusive and/or offensive words, and that the offence was aggravated by reference to ethnic origin, colour or race.  The Regulatory Commission had imposed no penalty other than a warning, and a requirement that Mr Higginbotham should complete a FA education programme.  The FA appealed, arguing that the sentence was too lenient.  The Appeal Board refused the appeal, ruling that the FA had not established any of the criteria that would permit it to increase the penalty.  The decision is dated 27 July 2018 and gave guidance as to the correct approach to dealing with aggravated breaches.  A copy can be seen here

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