British American Football Referees Association

Members with Disabilities

BAFRA recognises that, as part of its equal opportunities policy it has a responsibility to members who have a disability. This includes, but is not confined to members with a physical disability, a mental health disability or a learning disability. Whilst the member may declare the disability, it is also possible that it will come to light during their training or when on the field.

BAFRA is committed to putting in place what support it can to assist that member in becoming a competent official. However, before it can intervene in this way, it needs written proof from a medical practitioner, other health professional or other appropriate professional (e.g. an educational psychologist in cases of dyslexia) of what the problem is and what are the appropriate interventions to assist the member. Any costs related to the provision of this statement will be met by the member.

The responsibility for putting a programme in place (which must be agreed with the member) rests with the Director of Training. Normally, details will be kept confidential between the Director of Training and the member. However, it may be necessary to involve others with the permission of the member. For example, it may be important that the crews on which the member is working know of the disability or, if it is a learning disability, such as dyslexia, it may be important that the Chair of the Examination Committee is aware if certain allowances have been agreed. In all cases, the Director with responsibilities for equal opportunities (currently the Director without Portfolio #2) will be informed unless the member requests otherwise.

Each case will be considered on an individual basis and if any support involves cost (other than the initial assessment) discussions on how this will be met will be held between the Director of Training and the member. This assessment would consider whether the disability was permanent or likely to be of a temporary nature. It is acknowledged that the Director of Training is not, and cannot be, an expert on all conditions. He/She will therefore seek appropriate advice on ways in which the issue can be managed.

If the assessment by the medical practitioner or other professional suggests that it is not safe for the person or for others if the member officiates American football, he/she will not be permitted to take to the field. We have a duty of care to our members and others participating in the sport and this overrides any desire the member may have to issue a waiver with regard to his/her condition. This does not preclude continued membership of BAFRA and involvement in other aspects as appropriate. For example if an experienced member suffered a debilitating illness which prevented him/her from on-field participation in the sport, it would not preclude them from assessing if that was within their physical abilities.

If the member is unwilling or unable to produce written evidence of their condition, then it will not be possible to offer the appropriate support. For example, if a member who consistently gets poor exam marks claims it is because of dyslexia, then it is the responsibility of that member to produce evidence of the condition before a programme of support can be put into place.

The Director of Training will ensure an annual (or more frequent if indicated) review takes place with the member to ensure that the support remains appropriate and will amend that support if required.

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LATEST NEWSFLASH #47 30th November 2023
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