BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 01/16

8th January 2016


As we have now reached the halfway point in the season I thought I should take this opportunity to thank all officials who have made themselves available to work so many games in 2015.

I always tell our colleagues from the United States that while they officiate a 12 week season, BAFRA officials work two seasons in one year covering over 35 weeks.

Looking forward to 2016 promises to be equally busy with the continued development of both BUCS and Senior Leagues, which is likely to include some new teams joining the league. In addition, the expansion of both women’s football and 5 on 5 football will continue. One other positive note is that this ever-growing demand for BAFRA officials at these types of football is supported by BAFA who have agreed that officials for covering these games and tournaments next year will be paid for their valuable work with grass roots sport. I am sure our members will respond positively to this clear message that their services are both valued and respected by the League, Players and Coaches.

Finally can I ask all officials to start updating Arbiter for 2016. Also can I ask the small number of active officials who did not work any games in the BUCS league in November/December 2015 to try to make themselves available for at least one or two games when the league restarts in January. This will be a big help to BAFRA in meeting the heavy demand on our services. Details of the number of games planned to be played in January/February are shown below

17th January - 4 games

24th January - 17 games

31st January - 32 games

6/7th February - 29 games (3 Saturday)

13/14th February - 32 games (1 Saturday)

21/22nd February - 32 games (2 Saturday)

Richard Vernon


A BAFA Disciplinary Committee has imposed penalties on Birmingham Bulls and Pennine Panthers clubs and various of their personnel. The case relates to events at a youth tournament played on 22nd August 2015.

Birmingham Bulls pleaded guilty to two charges of bringing the game into disrepute for failing to control their coaches, players and supporters, all of whom invaded the field at one point. The club was fined £50 with a further fine of £250 deferred for 12 months. Their head coach Lee Griffiths pleaded guilty to two charges: one of abusing the officials and one of entering the field without permission. He was cleared on a charge of using threatening behaviour towards a minor of the opposition. He has been fined £100 and issued with a gameday suspension from the first youth tournament of 2016 at which his team participates. Bulls player Wesley Robinson pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct and was fined £20 and suspended for one game.

Their opponents Pennine Panthers were found guilty of failing to control their coaches, players and supporters, who also invaded the field during the incident. The club has been fined £100 and warned about its future conduct. Their player Daniel Lester was found guilty on a charge of misconduct and was fined £20 and suspended for one game. Their coach Caleb Jackson was cleared on a charge of abuse towards a member of the opposition.

The Disciplinary Committee reminded everyone that BAFA participants shall at all times act in the best interests of the game and shall not act in any manner which is improper or brings the game into disrepute. The Committee also stressed the importance of teams respecting the decisions of the officials, whether or not they are provided by BAFRA. Discipline at tournaments for youth football has been a recurring problem in 2015, and we all hope that these events can be put behind us and everyone at that level "plays nicely" in 2016. BAFA is also taking a number of steps to improve supervision of these tournaments.

This was one of the most complex disciplinary cases BAFA has ever had to deal with, with over 20 witness statements provided, leading to 10 charges against 6 defendants. Thanks to all those who took the time to provide evidence and those who heard and administered the case. Thanks also to the two clubs for their positive attitude towards resolving this matter.

Dr Jim Briggs









New this week

Emmanuel Samuel


UEL Titans



Aimed a kick at a prone opponent after the play was over.

31/01/16 v Westminster Dragons

Ben Abbott


Greenwich Mariners



Committed two separate unsportsmanlike acts after the play was over; the first against an official and the second against the opposition sideline.

07/02/16 v City Sentinels

Previous weeks

Jamal Ennis-Melhado


Edge Hill Vikings



After the play was over the player was seen to throw punches at LJM #5

24/01/16 v Bangor Muddogs

Anthony Montanez


Northumbria Mustangs



Player clipped an opponent who had given up on the play and was trailing behind the ball by a considerable distance.

31/01/16 v Sunderland Spartans

Thomas Lachendro


Glasgow Tigers



During a punt return #98 launched himself into an opponent, contacting the opponent on the helmet with the crown of his own helmet.

24/01/16 v Sunderland Spartans





New this week

DMU Falcons

All lines were there but were made faint by the rain. Game management re-marked major lines prior to kick off. team area were unmarked

Brian Yates #31

24/01/16 v Northampton Nemesis

Huddersfield Hawks

90 yard field. No nine yard marks. No 3 yard mark. Team areas not marked out. No limit lines. No goal posts. One member of chain crew was replaced at half time, sadly the new recruit was inferior to the person that he replaced.

Dan Holt #371

14/02/16 v Sheffield Sabres

Worcester Royals

Changing room was a toilet block. Officials arrived in uniform.

Mike LeFevre #341

31/01/16 v Nottingham Outlaws

Chichester Spitfires

Hash marks in the middle were marked too far apart, crew decided to place the ball inside the hash marks in the correct position. Team areas were marked with cones only and the crew had to move these from the 20 yard line to the correct position. Score required a switch to a running clock with only 15 seconds left in the game. Chain crew much better than previous week and did an excellent job

David Knight #135

31/01/16 v Brunel Burners

Sheffield Sabres

Field of play was 80 yards in length. American Football markings in Red with other sport markings in white that were within 4 feet of various endzone lines. No team area markings. No towels provided for Ball-persons. The kick-off was delayed for 18 minutes while awaiting the required medical cover to arrive.

Ben Griffiths #228

07/02/16 v Leeds Carnegie

Greenwich Mariners

Played at Mission Field, Southwood site, Avery Hill campus. Well marked 100-yard field only missing numbers & 3-yard marks and with coaching line at incorrect distance. 15 minute delay to KO caused by issues recruiting officials' assistants. Crew used different changing room in the dome, to which there were no problems with access after the game.

Tim Ockendon #481

07/02/16 v City Sentinels

Plymouth Blitz

No sideline marks, Game management advised as to minimum requirements. They normally mark them but were unable to due to rain whilst marking 3G Field with water soluble paint. Plus NO posts so PAT2 only.

Albert Lambert #461

07/02/16 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Hertfordshire Hurricanes

Team areas marked with cones, additional lines in both end zones.

Pete Thom #200

31/01/16 v Kingston Cougars

LJM Fury

The last game of the season to Merseyside of course we saw LJMU Fury v Liverpool Raptors. Three balls were presented but one it was flat. The lines had been painted and now could be seen, though still not the best being yellow on green. For major penalties, this game we had none. We started at 1 and finished at 3, with the ball held high by the referee. So all that remains after 41 games is to thank you all, just too many names.

Lee Taylor #183

24/01/16 v Keele Crusaders

Outstanding items from previous weeks

Manchester Tyrants

90 yard field, well-marked apart from missing 3-yard PAT lines.

Ady Miller #124

07/02/16 v MMU Eagles

Tarannau Aberystwyth

Due to heavy overnight rain, many of the field marking had become faint, although still playable. One ballboy was changed at half time.

Amir Brooks #593

21/02/16 v Exeter Demons

Nottingham Outlaws

No posts, field otherwise well marked.

Jed Brookes-Lewis #395

20/02/16 v Worcester Royals

Gloucester Gladiators

Ball persons very slow. Plaudits to Gloucestershire for rearranging fixture to new venue and marking the field well at short notice.

Jed Brookes-Lewis #395

31/01/16 v Plymouth Blitz

UEL Titans

Field had been remarked since the double header the previous week. Except the inbounds hash marks. These were very faint and missing in places. Field only 80 yards in length. Game balls all very worn and under inflated. Only four pylons, placed the intersection of the goal lines and sidelines. Changing rooms not lockable and a long way from the field. The crew had to leave all belongings at the side of the field.

Steve Leonard #370

31/01/16 v Westminster Dragons

Edge Hill Vikings

No coaches or player boxes marked. Pitch was marked in yellow paint which on a grass field deteriorated as the game went on.

We should have known it was not going to be the best of days when on route to do a pitch inspection prior to the game the referee slipped and fell over in what was already a marsh at the back of the endzone, I am sure there was someone duck hunting back there during the game.

Plaudits should be given to coaches, players and staff from both teams for managing to arrange the fixture as a 10:30 kickoff and to accommodate the officials covering a later fixture at a different venue on the same day. Then kickoff was delayed by 50 minutes as the medical coverage had broken down and did not arrive until late, a member of the LJM coaching staff stepped up to cover so the game could start within the 60 minute time limit allowed by rule. I must also thank the rest of the BAFRA crew who turned out to officiate the game in the absolute worst conditions I have ever taken the field in.

Lee Taylor #183

31/01/16 v Keele Crusaders

City Sentinels

80 yard pitch, very muddy, lying water in places

Larry Rigby #269

14/02/16 v LSBU Spartans

Leeds Celtics

Game started 15 minutes late due to the lack of medical cover. The field was uneven and extremely muddy in places.

Aminul Hassan #534

31/01/16 v York Centurions

UEA Pirates

Chain crew and 1 ball person changed at half time.

Larry Rigby #269

24/01/16 v Brighton Tsunami

Hertfordshire Hurricanes

The field looked like it had been marked as a 100-yard field with 5-yard end zones, but was laid out as a 90-yard field with 10-yard end zones, meaning there was an additional line all the way across the field in the middle of the end zone, and there were sideline hashes marked for 5 yards in both end zones at both sidelines. The coaching boxes and team areas were marked with collapsible cones.

Pete Parsons #321

31/01/16 v Kingston Cougars

Brighton Tsunami

Well marked field in blue with other sport markings in yellow & white. Goals lashed to the surrounding fence set back about 2 yards from the end line. Team areas marked out with cones.5 minute delays at the start of each half for identifying and training officials' assistants.

Tim Ockendon #481

31/01/16 v Cambridge Pythons

Bangor Muddogs

90 yard AstroTurf field which was well marked the night before the game but the incessant rain overnight had washed the lines so they were a little faint. Officially this was a Bangor home game and credit should be given to LJMU for organising another early kickoff at short notice to accommodate at their home venue.

Lee Taylor #183

24/01/16 v Edge Hill Vikings

Liverpool Raptors

As the game kicked off at 15:00 the light was fading and the yellow lines on a green AstroTurf field faded significantly during the game to the point they were almost invisible. The overnight rain played a major part in this. Team and coaching areas not marked

Lee Taylor #183

31/01/16 v LJM Fury

Sussex Saxons

Game started 5 minutes late because we were again awaiting for the team to provide chain crew and ball boys. Field well marked but was very muddy by the end of the game and lines began to disappear. Both teams conducted themselves very professionally and are a credit to the league - just wish we could get these game management provide the assistance issues sorted

David Knight #135

07/02/16 v Brighton Tsunami

Brunel Burners

The main lines on the field were marked in blue, with the hash marks at the sideline marked in red. There were no hashmarks in the middle of the field, nor were there any numbers or nine-yard marks. The team areas were marked to the 23-yard line in each direction. The officials assistants were provided very late and there were multiple changes made to the chain crew. Initially, only two useable footballs were provided. The goal posts were 1 yard behind the end line. Changing rooms were not lockable.

Pete Parsons #321

24/01/16 v Portsmouth Destroyers

Coventry Jets

80 yard field marked in red on a rugby pitch, no team areas formally marked but adapted other markings instead.

Richard Whitby #136

24/01/16 v Leicester Longhorns

Solent Redhawks

Crossbars on the goals are not on the endline - slightly overhang into the endzone. Field markings are yellow and become invisible when the sun reflects at a certain angle, but are visible under normal circumstances. Game management should be applauded for ensuring the availability of chain crew and ball boys prior to the game. Chain crew all first time crew members and were excellent.

David Knight #135

24/01/16 v Surrey Stingers

LSBU Spartans

Game kicked of at 13;40 and was reduced to 10 minute quarters, field marking disappeared fast as was 2nd game on field, crew persevered and it was a very hard fought game.

Larry Rigby #269

31/01/16 v City Sentinels

Bradford Bears

90 yard field. Field markings faint due to heavy rain. No 9 yard marks, 3 yard marks or limit lines. Hash marks in the centre of the field were incomplete. Field surface was extremely wet and boggy due to 24 hours of heavy rain leading up to the game. This meant that the 2nd half was played in ankle deep mud. Plaudits to both sets of players for playing in atrocious weather with good humour and sportsmanship.

David Hewitt #607

17/01/16 v York Centurions

NTU Renegades

The start was delayed by 45 minutes waiting for the medical cover to arrive so quarters were reduced to 10 minutes. With less than 5 minutes to play in the third quarter, there was a 50 minute delay to treat an injured player, on the first play after resuming the game there was another serious injury where a second ambulance was called. It was clear that the game would not re-start before sunset so with the agreement of both coaches the game was abandoned.

Pete Thom #200

07/02/16 v Staffordshire Stallions

Westminster Dragons

The crew was not notified of a change of venue. Four of the 5 crew arrived at the venue in good time to find that nobody was there. We contacted Operations and were able to discover the actual venue, East London Rugby Club, which is the likely future location of Westminster's home games. The Referee was being forced to travel to the game by rail replacement bus. He was unable to travel to the new venue in any kind of reasonable time, and the game was officiated by a crew of 4. The game kicked off an hour late after the crew made their way to the new venue. The field currently in use at East London RFC is not either of the three rugby pitches. (Crews should still change in the rugby club changing area.) It is a re-purposed soccer field located behind the five-a-side cage. It is 80 yards with soccer goalposts, which were appropriately padded. It was marked on the morning of the game to a creditably high standard. No team areas, and one sideline was slightly uneven. One of the end zones was considerably larger than the other, although both were of legal size. Both head coaches agreed to play all downs in the direction of the larger end zone and to play without field goals. The home team provided only two footballs. Chain crew extremely slow. The Westminster head coach told us that the team will be significantly revising its game management procedures before its next home game.

Alan Dobson #308

24/01/16 v LSBU Spartans

Durham Saints

Prior to the game, Stirling were asked if they could change their white fade jerseys, due to the design, the numbers on the jerseys are difficult to see. The game was played without goal posts. With 8.56 remaining in the game, there was a lengthy delay as a Durham player had a severe injury, after 30 minutes, there were a few discussions taking place and Durham decided to call the game. Plaudits to Stirling for the assistance they provided when the player was down injured.

Liam Wooton #478

31/01/16 v Derby Braves

Portsmouth Destroyers

Field markings in yellow, otherwise markings in white. Field is 90 yards with line 5 yards in one of the ends zones with side line hash marks. Field surface extremely muddy in places.

CK Nam #586

31/01/16 v BNU Buccaneers

KCL Regents

80-yard field marked in red with rugby markings in white. Main lines found to be >5 yards apart so the chains were definitive. Inbounds lines unevenly spaced and missing in places. No team area markings but partially marked out with cones. KO delayed by 10 minutes due to late arrival of medical cover.

Tim Ockendon #481

31/01/16 v Surrey Stingers



New this week

Play: A's ball, 3nd and 7, on B's 32. B49 intercepts A16's legal forward pass on B's 3. B49's momentum carries him into B's end zone where he fumbles. The ball rolls into the field of play. B42 recovers on B's 1 and his momentum carries him into B's end zone where he is downed.

Last week

Play: A's ball, 4th and 11, on Team B's 43 yard line. Quarterback A17 takes the snap and places the ball on the ground at the Team B 46 yard line. A68 turns and then picks up the ball and advances to Team B's 27 yard line.

Ruling: No foul. This is not a planned loose ball in the vicinity of the snapper (7-1-7), however it is a fumble (2-11-1). The ball becomes dead when A68 recovers the 4th down fumble (7-2-2-a-2). The advance by A68 would be legal on other than fourth down, however in this instance Team B will get a new set of downs at the spot where A68 recovered the ball, 1st and 10 for Team B at the Team B 46 yard line.


New this week

Game Situation: Mid-way through the 2nd quarter and during a timeout, the Head Linesman notices that the head coach of the team on his sideline is standing 5 yards on the field talking to his players. The coaches on the other side of the field are remaining in their coaching area during the timeout.
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: 1st and 10 for Team A on the Team A 20 yard line, a 4-man crew are covering the game. Team A run a draw play and catch out the entire defence as well as the two wing officials. Running back A23 vanishes into the pile, and then emerges from the other side with only Free Safety B20 chasing him down. A23 runs towards the sideline and the Team B endzone, with the wing official on his side of the field trailing behind. B20 tackles A23 in the field of play very close to the pylon, and then out of bounds with the pylon being displaced during the action. It is unclear if a touchdown has been scored. What should the officials do?
Answer: Although as officials we strive to always make the right call, there are times when on a 4-man crew it is impossible to have all angles covered. The wing official covering that goal line should confer with other officials to determine if anyone has positive knowledge as to the result of the play, and if none is coming then the officials should make use of the When in Doubt principles. When in doubt, the ball is dead in the field rather than a touchdown (MM 6-1-23), therefore the ball should be spotted on in the field of play, Team A will have 1st and goal. Remember: “No cheap Touchdowns”.




Contact for details


February 13th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

April 2nd and 3rd

BAFRA Annual Convention & AGM

May 7th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 23rd (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

19th November (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

BAFRA Directors


David Parsons

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Chalies Dean Young


Richard Vernon


Kevin Stanton


Pete Thom

Director without Portfolio #1

Martin Cockerill

Director without Portfolio #2

Steve Tonkinson

The opinions expressed in this Newsflash are those of the contributors, and not necessarily of BAFRA or its Directors.

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Deadline for articles submitted by email ( is midnight Tuesday.

Editor: Dean Wright - Email: