About the IFO

What is the IFO?

The office of the Independent Football Ombudsman (IFO) was created in July 2008 by the English Football Authorities (the Football Association, the Premier League and The English Football League) with the agreement of Government. The IFO was established by the football authorities to receive and adjudicate on complaints which have failed to be resolved by football clubs or the football authorities. Furthermore, if the football bodies have dealt with a complaint in full, then the IFO can review whether due process was followed and the complaint handled properly. In these circumstances the IFO does not offer an alternative interpretation of rulings, but an examination of whether a complaint has been handled appropriately.

The IFO acts as a check and balance and is the final stage within football’s complaints procedure. It 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. In February 2016 the IFO was officially recognised as an Approved Alternative Dispute (ADR) Body under the 2015 Alternative Dispute Consumer Regulations.

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 to a football body, such as a football club or governing body, then you can refer it to the IFO for investigation. The IFO will not accept a complaint unless the provider of the goods or services has had the opportunity to resolve the complaint. The IFO has no remit for incidents which occur on the field of play or for referee performance. It also has no role in relation to grassroots football or the county Football Associations. Its coverage is limited to the 92 English league clubs and to the competitions organised under the umbrella of the three English Football authorities.

You may wish to communicate your concerns to the IFO by post, phone or email, using any of the contact addresses given in the website. However, do remember that the IFO can adjudicate formally only on those complaints which have already been dealt with by a football body.

All IFO Adjudication Reports are published in full on this website. The IFO will produce an Annual Report to the Minister for Sport and the Football Authorities. This report will be made publicly available.

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