BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 43/16

4th November 2016


Thank you to those who have made their membership renewal. Giving a few days grace for any delays, I shall be contacting active officials from whom I have not heard at the weekend after an exercise to tie up renewals with payments has been undertaken with finance colleagues. Where there is no evidence of renewal or payment, people will be removed from membership in the following week.

After that, it will be possible to re-join but a higher fee will be payable. If anyone has overlooked their renewal, I urge them to complete it as soon as possible.

Paul Sutton


A vacancy has arisen on the BAFRA Rules and Mechanics Committee for an experienced official with good rules and mechanics knowledge. The Committee does most of its work electronically so the time commitment is easy to organise around a personal schedule. Actual face-to- face meetings only take place very occasionally.

For more information on the responsibilities of the role, please contact the Committee Chair, Jim Briggs on or me. Expressions of interest should be with me by 11th November please to allow the Board to make its selection.

Paul Sutton


This will close on 10th November, so if you have yet to complete yours, please do so by then.

Paul Sutton


With the start of the BUCS season, there is inevitably going to be some issues regarding game management. It is is important that BAFA and BAFRA officials apply a consistent approach, hence this guidance which was agreed last year. We once again anticipate problems in two broad areas...

Field markings

There are a number of "game may not proceed" rules on field markings. They are there because there are a very small number of teams (or perhaps more accurately their ground staff) who believe that American football can be played on a rugby pitch, or the equivalent of playing soccer on a pitch without a penalty box. Whatever barriers to resolution a team claims, we believe there is a reasonable solution, perhaps involving temporary markings.

To facilitate teams getting things sorted out, this season we will implement the following policy.

For a team's FIRST HOME GAME only, referees are granted discretion to allow a game to proceed if they believe the field is safe, beyond immediate further improvement, and the (lack of) field markings does not prevent a fair contest. In the circumstances, the Referee MUST complete a full game report with all the details, including that the game only proceeded on this basis.

For a team's SECOND HOME GAME onwards, Referees will be expected to apply the rules strictly - that is if BAFRA chooses to allocate officials to a team's subsequent games.


We are aware that a number of teams have been quite creative in the design of their jerseys. It is not our intention to penalise teams whose uniforms "work". For a uniform to work, there are two main criteria:

  1. The officials can tell the teams apart. This may still be possible even if they are both playing in the same primary colour; for example, light blue and dark blue are examples of colours that are usually easy to distinguish. Patterns of different colours do not usually make this harder.

  2. The officials can identify players by their number. If the numbers are too small on the front and back of the jersey for this to be possible, then the uniform is illegal.

For each of these, a timeout at the start of each quarter is the appropriate penalty. If a team is already out of timeouts, penalise for delay of game (5 yards). Referees must report all cases where a team is penalised. Equally they must report borderline cases where they believe the uniform is acceptable so that future crews know and can be consistent. If anyone has any questions about this, please ask.

There are no significant changes this year to the rules that BUCS has options over. There is no option for video replay of disqualifications at half time. The running clock rule will only apply in the second half of games. The league will continue to play 12-minute quarters and there ARE extra periods if a regular season game ends in a tie. See for details.

Good luck to everyone for the forthcoming season. As always, if you have any rule interpretations to ask about, feel free to email me at the address below.

Jim Briggs


On 6th November the college football season commences. Can I thank everyone who is available on Arbiter to work games and I ask others who are currently unavailable to try to work at least one game during the season as it will be a big help to your colleagues and the teams.

All Officials

Please ensure you check with the Referee over all game details, venue, start time, etc. We will try to have the information correct on Arbiter but the Referee is the specific point of contact with the home team. All officials are expected to arrive 90 minutes before game time so please inform the referee if you are unable to do this.

All Referees

The game fee for ALL regular season college games is £255. Unlike the senior league there is no cost variation between the different divisions. We only charge for five officials in play-off games.

Please ensure you personally contact the home team the week before the game to check game arrangements and inform your crew accordingly. Let the home team know of your expected arrival time and get some contact details of the Game Day Manager so you can contact them if the crew is delayed arriving at the venue. This will avoid the Operations Team receiving messages from teams as to the exact location of their officiating crew on game day.

If you have any other questions concerning any aspect of the BUCS season please let me know. I hope you all have an enjoyable and successful season.

Richard Vernon


On behalf of the BAFRA Directors can I thank all sixteen officials who undertook chain crew duties at the three recent NFL games in London. I know the Referees and Head Linesman all personally thanked you for your high quality efforts on game day. In addition the NFL have asked that we pass on their gratitude for the excellent work done to everyone involved.

I hope every official enjoyed the unique big game experience at Wembley and Twickenham and will remember their efforts with deserved pride.

The officials were:

#371 Dan Holt (Chain Crew Chief) #573 Alisha Darkins

#248 David Froom #25 Henry Richardson (Chain Crew Chief)

#104 Jon Ikins #23 Frank Thomson

#197 Martin Gibson #583 Sean Welsh

#52 Phil Hume (Chain Crew Chief) #598 John Griffin

#547 James Meredith #602 Roger Goodgroves

#335 Susannah Taylor #466 Steve Egan

#179 Stuart Alger #392 Mark Burrows

We hope to be invited to perform this function for the NFL in 2017 and look forward to receiving applications from officials who would like to be considered for this important role.

Richard Vernon





New this week

UCLan Rams

No team or coaches areas marked.

Aminul Hassan #534

19/11/16 v Sheffield Hallam Warriors

Outstanding items from previous weeks

Leeds Celtics

Game abandoned at end of 3rd Quarter due to injuries with Leeds Celtics Linemen.

Daniel Johnston #347

04/12/16 v Bangor Mudogs



New this week

Play: 4th and 10, on Team A's 22 yard line. A6's punt is blocked. The ball is rolling at Team A's 12 yard line when B66, reaching down in an attempt to recover the ball, unintentionally kicks the ball into A's end zone where A77 recovers while grounded.

Last week

Play: Team A's ball, 4th and 4, on the Team B 40 yard line. A83 catches A17's legal forward pass, fumbles on Team B's 38 yard line and the ball rolls out of bounds on Team B's 34 yard line. Team B were offside at the snap.

Ruling: Team A's ball, 1st and 10, on the Tea B 35 yard line. The fumble went forward and out of bounds between the goal lines so the ball is returned to the spot of the fumble, B's 38 (7-2-4-b). The 5-yard penalty is enforced from the previous spot, B's 40, Team A will therefore get a first down.


New this week

Game Situation: On a 3-man crew, which official should take responsibility for actions against the snapper on field goal and try attempts?
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: At the coin toss before the game, on which side of the Referee and Umpire should the captains be lined up? Assume a 4 or 5 man crew.
Answer: M-8-4-3. The home team captains should be on the left hand side of the Referee, the away team captains should be on the right hand side of the Umpire. Simply remember - “The umpire's always right”.




Contact for details


12th November (Sat)

Xplosion 2016

19th November (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting


February 18th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

April 1st & 2nd (Sat / Sun)

BAFRA Convention Weekend

April 1st (Sat)


May 6th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 22nd (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

November 18th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

BAFRA Directors


David Parsons

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Charlie Dean Young


Richard Vernon


James Meredith


Pete Thom

Director without Portfolio #1

Peter Parsons

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.

All Incident Reports to be submitted via

Deadline for articles submitted by email ( is midnight Tuesday.

Editor: Dean Wright - Email: