|What is the IFO?
The Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) has been established by the English Football Authorities (The Football Association, The Premier League and The Football League) with the agreement of the Government. The IFO has a clear remit to receive and adjudicate on complaints which have not been resolved at an earlier stage and will act as the final stage in football’s complaints procedure. The IFO is the successor body to the Independent Football Commission (IFC), which operated from 2002 to 2008 as an integral part of football’s self-regulatory system.
The vast majority of complaints are resolved at an early stage, but if you feel dissatisfied with the outcome of a complaint you have submitted, then you can refer it to the relevant governing body. This, for example, would be the Premier League if your complaint arose from a service provided by a Premier League club. It is only when your complaint has been considered by the governing body that you can appeal to the IFO. For many complaints there will be a 3 stage process (club, governing body, IFO), though where a complaint relates to a governing body itself (eg the FA for an England game), there would be 2 stages (governing body, IFO).
You may wish to communicate your concerns to the IFO, using any of the contact addresses listed on this web site. However, do remember that the IFO can adjudicate formally only on those complaints which have already been dealt with by a governing body.
The IFO has been given some other responsibilities. The IFO can suggest subjects for research and enquiry; it will be consulted on regulation changes; and it may identify wider policy issues arising from complaints it has adjudicated. In announcing the creation of the IFO, the Football Authorities confirmed that they were “committed to the highest standards of self-regulation” and that “the creation of an Ombudsman would maintain a position as the independent and final arbiter of football complaints.”
Operating from the 2008-09 season, the IFO will produce an Annual Report to the Minister for Sport and the Football Authorities. This report will be made publicly available.