British American Football Referees Association

Game Day Administration - FAQs

Some reporting is inevitable in any organisation. It allows the operation to function smoothly. In the case of American Football it serves three purposes:

  1. It ensures that officials get paid properly,
  2. It ensures that standards of discipline and game management are maintained, and
  3. It allows meritorious performance by officials and teams to be rewarded.

Normally the Referee on a crew will submit the reports, but another member of the crew can do it if he/she is willing. The Line Judge will normally do the Field Audit. The Umpire will normally do the Game Management Audit (where either are required) for the referee to submit. At the end of the day though, it is the Referee who we will chase if the reporting is incomplete or not in on time.

Please submit reports within 24 hours of the conclusion of the game. Delays will also hold up expense payments. Action (up to and including suspension) will be taken against officials who are persistently late in sending in reports.

All games, including friendlies, youth games, flag games, passball games, etc. However you should note that a field audit is not required for 5 v 5, 7 v 7 and 8 v 8 games (as they are played on smaller size fields).

In the "Annex to BAFRA's Terms and Conditions" there is a table of charges according to each game's category and league. Another table also lists the maximum number of officials that the team has to pay for. An explanation of the category code system is given in the Rulebook.

No, they form part of a contract between you, BAFRA and the teams. If you have any doubt about any aspect of the Terms and Conditions or how to interpret them in a particular situation, contact the Directors of Finance or Operations for advice.

By decision of the Directors, the Referee is responsible. In a test case in 1991 where a crew accepted cheques that subsequently bounced from a Category B team, it was decided that BAFRA would not recompense even those members of the crew who did not receive Newsflash.

If you are not paid your match fee in full, you must:

  1. Make an incident report
  2. Complete a "Crew Request for Payment" form

Both forms should normally be submitted online. This procedure applies also if the game is called off at short notice and the crew is entitled to payment.

Report it as an incident. There is no need to make a "Crew Request for Payment" unless the crew have not been paid.

BAFRA will pay the officials their travelling expenses, the cost being recouped from the administration fee. The "Annex to BAFRA's Terms and Conditions" lays out what officials can claim for. This system makes it fairer for teams (every team in the league pays the same amount) and also makes it easier for them to plan their budgets (they will know in advance the maximum that they have to pay on the day to the officials).

Expenses will be paid according to the figure given on the Game Report form. Members who have provided BAFRA with the information to pay them electronically will normally receive payment into their bank account within seven working days. Note that officials are expected to maintain the same high standards of accuracy and fairness in claiming expenses from BAFRA, as has been the case in the past from claiming from teams.

Where more than two officials on a crew are claiming travelling expenses, a note of explanation must be provided.

All the gameday paperwork is available online for you to print out. Some of it you will give to the teams. Some of it you will need in order to collect signatures, some of it to collect information that you will use later to fill in the online forms after the game.

You need to get the signatures of the senior game management representative and both Head Coaches on the Crew Report Form before the game can start. The game management signature is to confirm that the standard of medical cover meets the minimum set by rule. The coaches' signatures are to confirm that their team is properly equipped according to rule. Don't start the game without all three signatures.The referee should retain these signatures for a minimum of four weeks after the game. Unless there has been an issue raised concerning that game, then the Form can be destroyed after four weeks.

The Referee has to print out the Coach's Cards and hand one to each team's Head Coach. As well as serving as part of our assessment system, the Coach's Card serves to meet a BAFA requirement that both teams be notified in writing of the names and registration numbers of the officials before the game.

If, and only if, the team are not prepaid, then game management must be provided with an Invoice listing the crew and their fees. Do NOT give an invoice to a prepaid team, BAFRA Finance will already have done so as part of the prepayment arrangement.

Talk to the game manager and find out what is going on. His signature only protects you from responsibility provided you act reasonably. You might be held negligent in law if you were to proceed when a "reasonable person" would be expected to realise that the manager's confirmation was clearly false. Your first responsibility is always to safety and no amount of signatures will protect you if you disregard that.

Roster forms identify the personnel representing each team - the roster is normally the only way of finding out someone's name if they are disqualified or reported for some other reason. Players who are suspended or under appeal must be included on the form and so marked. A suspended player who is not on the form is not considered as having served his suspension. The referee should retain the Roster Forms and, unless there has been an issue raised concerning that game, then the Forms can be destroyed after four weeks.

The online league registration system allows the team to print out two types of roster forms (roster is frozen on a Friday evening deadline). One type is a full roster including personal information such as photo's, Date Of Birth etc. The full roster is used by the opposing team for the identity check (aka card check), signed by the opposing team but retained by the owning team. The second type is the one we care about - the Referee's roster. This is a very limited version of the full roster, omitting any sensitive details (photo, DOB, etc) and so less bulky for the referee to keep in his pocket on the field.
If there are technical issues that have prevented teams from printing rosters, ask the coach to write out the FULL names and numbers of their players and sideline staff on a plain sheet of paper.

No, under no circumstances may a game commence without the roster forms being provided. Note that if the kick-off is delayed while waiting for a team to provide its form, it is the team that is responsible and they should be penalised under Rule 3-4-1a. It is not Game Management's responsibility under Rule 3-4-1b. If a team refuses to supply a roster, the game must be cancelled.

Talk to the coach. He may simply have forgotten to mark the player correctly. However, if he says that the player is entitled to play, show the coach the edition of Newsflash that lists the suspension and stress to him that it is our accepted journal of disciplinary actions. You should take all reasonable steps to talk the coach out of playing the player, but if the player plays, allow him to play (i.e. don't eject him on the first play) and report it as a misconduct incident. Note on the Incident Report what you said to the coach.

Similar provisions would apply if a coach or someone else were banned from the sideline.

If you are approached before or during the game and asked to add someone to the roster, talk to the coach. Remind him about the Friday roster freeze deadline for the online roster system and that if they are not on the roster, they cannot participate.

If a player gets onfield without your knowledge and participates in a play, he must be disqualified under Rule 13-8-1-a as soon as he is discovered. Note, you will still have to find out his name so that you can report his ejection. If someone is in the team area without being named on the roster, ask game management (or the coach of the team concerned) to remove them. If they refuse, report them. Make every attempt to identify the miscreant, so that appropriate action can be taken.

BAFA rules require the following field markings to be present for the game to be played:

  • Both sidelines.
  • Both goal lines.
  • Both end lines.
  • Yard lines across the field every 5 yards.
  • Two sets of hash marks in the middle of the field.
  • Two sets of short yard-line extensions at the sidelines.

If any of these are missing or incomplete, the game may not start.

These are correct as of February 2022 when this policy was reviewed, please check the latest rule book under Rule 1-2-1

None. If a team complains about an opposing player, ask them to give you the details in writing before the end of the game and then include it with your incident report.

The whole crew is responsible. All officials are responsible for recording the fouls they call, and all members of the crew should participate in the grading of each other's performance according to the 5-point scale. If you are excluded from this process, complain to the Director of Training.

BAFRA is not currently conducting a penalty survey, though we may re-introduce it in the future.

Fill in the kick-off time and the end of game time (after overtime, if played). The duration is then the difference between these two, including the half-time interval and all other stoppages.

The following scale should be used when grading officials:

  • 0.5   Official was a danger to him/herself and/or others $;
  • 1      The performance of this official was sufficient to give cause for concern $;
  • 1.5   This official made more than one major mistake $;
  • 2      This official made at least one major mistake;
  • 2.5   There were a number of issues with the performance of this official;
  • 3      A good game with a few mistakes;
  • 3.5   A good overall game with only the most minor of mistakes;
  • 4      A very good performance. No errors were discernible during the game;
  • 4.5   A very good performance and the official did something extra special in the game (e.g. saved the crew from a catastrophic mistake) $;
  • 5      The perfect game. Even the best official would not expect to score this more than once or twice in their career $;

$ For those marked with this symbol, a comment on the form is required, it is optional for all other scores

What is meant by major mistakes?
examples - inadvertent whistle, wrong number of downs, serious mechanics failing (e.g. wing official not moving to goal line) or failing to detect illegal participation, etc

What is meant by mistakes?
examples - failing to follow mechanics manual (e.g. wing official lining up in-bounds or Umpire not trying to get to neutral zone on a pass), unsatisfactory appearance, etc.

You should complete an Incident Report form if one or more of the following has occurred: Anyone was disqualified from the game. Any allegations were made that an unregistered or suspended person participated. Any of the mandatory game management requirements were breached. Any required payment was not made. Any serious incident occurred.

If an official ejects a player for a foul, the head coach of his team must be informed, normally at the time of ejection. Very rarely, if circumstances do not permit, then the coach should be informed after the game but before the officials leave the ground. If by some chance you have to leave the ground without informing the coach, contact the Director of Operations when you get home from the game and will pass the message on.

This should be a very rare occurrence - if it happens it probably means that you are too quick to eject people in the first place - but nevertheless may be justified. Say nothing to the team, but contact the Director of Operations as soon as possible.

Any time a player is disqualified for infringing Rule 9-5-1.

Two things: First you need to report any breach of a mandatory requirement. The REPORT section of each appropriate rule article lists the things that must be reported and these are summarised in the Rulebook. Rules 1 and 13 state what precisely is required or mandatory and what is merely recommended or permitted. For example, field numbers are not mandatory (Rule 1-2-1j) so you do not need to report it if they are missing, but nine-yard lines are mandatory (Rule 1-2-1m) in absence of numbers. Note in particular that coaching lines and team areas are mandatory. You should always report their absence. Secondly, you should report any information which you think would be useful to the next crew to visit that venue. If in doubt as to what to report ask yourself whether or not you would have wanted to know that information before you arrived at the game. When in doubt, make a report.

Any incidents that occur before, during or after the game that could be said to "bring the game into disrepute" are defined as "misconduct". Simply being disqualified should not normally be considered "misconduct", though extreme actions taken by a player after he has been disqualified might. A coach who contravenes the "Football Code", particularly the parts about coaching ethics may need to be reported. If in doubt, submit a report but talk to the President about it as soon as possible.

There is no easy answer to this question - the best we can do is offer some guidelines: Strive at all times to be fair. You must ensure that a team cannot engineer an abandonment to their advantage. You must ensure that you have exhausted all the procedures and penalties that the rules give you before giving up. You must ensure that when it is individuals (whether they be players, coaches or anyone else associated with a team) who misbehaves it is they who are identified and punished and not the team collectively. As Referee, always consult the rest of your crew before making a decision to abandon. While the final decision rests with you, they may be able to offer moderating perspectives that you have missed in the heat of the moment. Don't rush the decision. Give the players time to calm down. Give the coaches time to talk to their players. Once that time has elapsed, abandoning the game may no longer seem the only option open. Never threaten to abandon a game. The threat will be used against you. If you do decide to abandon a game, as well as reporting it online, ring the Director of Operations directly and send him an additional copy of your Incident Report. If you consider the cause to be of a "serious nature", report it to the President and the General Secretary by email and/or phone as soon as possible.

This might include a breach of league regulations or some more general complaint. If you are asked to report something, report it, but it is entirely in order for you to ask a team to write down exactly what they want you to report. We will simply pass the information along to the appropriate league authority to deal with

Make the appropriate entry on the electronic form to show whether or not the admin fee was paid and what you have done with it. If you pay it electronically into the BAFRA Bank Account please use the team's name and your name/BAFRA number as a reference and pay to:
BAFRA Limited, RBS, Sort Code: 16-16-11 Account Number: 10255350
If you have to send a cheque, please send by first class post on Monday to:
BAFRA Finance
30 Clover Ground

A link to the appropriate forms can be found here.

Yes, he needs to know if any of the following occurs:

  • A game is abandoned.
  • A charge of bringing the game into disrepute may be brought.
  • A coach has not been informed of an ejection.
  • You want to recommend that a disqualified player should not be suspended.
  • Anything unusually newsworthy happens.
When in doubt, make contact.
BAFRA want to hear about it first from you, rather than a team or the league. The Director of Operations's phone number can be found here.

If the BAFRA website is unavailable then please post a paper copy of each form to be submitted to:

Bowland House
Wagon Road

Make sure that you include all of the following:

Game Report form
Incident Report form (where necessary)
Cheque for Administration fee (unless not applicable). The cheque does not need to be sent separately to the BAFRA Finance address if you have to post the rest of the paperwork.
Crew Request for Payment form (if you weren't fully paid)

Please put a FIRST CLASS stamp on the envelope and post it by Monday morning. Reports need to reach us by Thursday at the very latest. Please note that if the problem is with YOUR internet, then you should ask another member of the crew to submit the electronic report. Reports should only be sent in hard copy if there is a problem with the BAFRA website.

The referee should retain the Roster Forms for a minimum of four weeks after the game. Unless there has been an issue raised concerning that game, then the Forms can be destroyed after four weeks.

BAFRA Newsflash should reach everyone by email by Friday each week during the season. If it has not arrived before your next game, it is your responsibility to check the website or contact someone else to find out what news might apply to your game. If Newsflash is persistently late, or does not arrive at all, contact the General Secretary.

BAFRA game day forms are available online and you should ensure that you have one full set of blank paperwork in case the BAFRA website is unavailable.

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LATEST NEWSFLASH #47 30th November 2023
  • Gameday Cancellations
  • Coaches Cards