British American Football Referees Association

Scheduling and selection policy


All members must keep their Scheduling Officer (by default, the Director of Operations) informed of their availability using the Arbiter assigning system.

During the regular season, many assignments are made several weeks in advance so we need as much notice as possible. Of course, we recognise and accept that people's jobs, families or even emergencies mean that sometimes there will be a need to drop out at short notice. Contact your Scheduling Officer if any problem arises after you have accepted an assignment.

Unless the official is down on the Arbiter assignment sheet, they will not be covered by the Association's insurance policy.

We take into account the distance that an official would have to travel to a game to try to keep this to reasonable proportions. However, everyone should be prepared to do one or two "long-distance" games a season, though this will vary according to what part of the country they are based in.

Occasionally, crews are shuffled at short notice because of games that are cancelled or officials who drop out. Officials who are assigned to games that are subsequently cancelled should be given preference when shuffling crews over those who were originally left unassigned and these in turn over those who make themselves available at short notice.

Acceptance of games

For insurance and administrative reasons only the Directors of Operations and Finance can accept a game on behalf of BAFRA.

Any individual official or local association that is approached by a team about providing officials for a game must refer the team to the Director of Operations. You must not say anything to a team that may be construed as agreement to provide officials for a game unless explicitly authorised to do so by the Directors.

In the interests of courtesy, you should inform your Scheduling Officer if you are asked by a team to attend a training session or similar activity.


If officials are "spare" (i.e. all games have been allocated at least a 4-man crew), unassigned officials may seek the permission of their Scheduling Officer to join a crew. As long as officials are balanced fairly among games, and providing the Scheduling Officer gives his blessing, BAFRA has no problem with this. Game management must not be asked to pay for more than the normal size of crew (as specified in the Terms & Conditions), so the extra official must either work without a fee, or agree with the rest of the crew to divide their fees up. The extra man may not claim travel expenses unless he drives another member of the crew, and then only for that part of the journey.

Occasionally we are approached to provide officials "free of charge" to work charity games. Our policy regarding these is that fees and expenses must be charged as normal, and it is then up to the individual officials concerned as to whether they do or do not wish to give back their fee to the charity. A middle course is to return the match fee after deduction of travelling costs. Our normal practice when approached to provide officials for any sort of mini-tournament played at a single venue is to calculate how many hours football will be played and then charge a total fee equivalent to that number of 3-hour games. The total fee can then be divided up between the participating officials according to the proportion of the tournament each officiates.


Selection is done by a Selection Committee. The Selection Committee's terms of reference are as follows:

  1. The Chairman will be appointed by the Executive Board, but will normally be the Director of Operations.
  2. The other members (6) will be appointed by the Executive Board, normally after a call for nominations/volunteers. Two are appointed each year and two stand down having completed the normal term of office which will be 3 years. A member should not normally be re-appointed until a further 1 year has elapsed.
  3. BAFRA considers it desirable that members of the Selection Committee should work with or observe as many officials as possible.
  4. The Selection Committee is responsible for:
    1. Determining the detailed implementation of the selection policy
    2. Making selections, including determining the positions worked by each member of a crew
  5. Members of the Selection Committee are themselves eligible for selection, but shall not participate in the decision-making about any position for which they are a candidate.
  6. The Committee may meet in person or remotely, or conduct its business by correspondence.
  7. The Chairman may act on behalf of the Committee where time precludes a full consultation. This may include applying policy and practice to replace officials who become unavailable for any reason.
  8. The Chairman shall inform all members at least annually of the details of the implementation of selection.


The Selection Committee shall use a rating system as a tool to help it in its work. The system shall combine a number of factors (which may be changed from time to time). Each factor is scored out of 100 then a weighting applied to give a score for each official. The table below lists the current factors and the weight they will count towards the final rating:

experience in years and games 10% This is split into 2 seasons, summer and winter, each ending when the Selection Committee select the crews for the bowl games. To get full marks for a season (10) an official must work at least 6 games. Working fewer will score pro-rata. If an official does not work in a season no marks are scored. For each subsequent consecutive season where no games are worked, 10 marks are deducted.
exam marks 30% Mark obtained in most recent exam. Members of the Examination Committee carry forward their most recent mark.
quality of judgement (peer assessed) 10% Normalised average mark obtained from most recent peer review
reaction under pressure (peer assessed) 10% Normalised average mark obtained from most recent peer review
assessors' marks 30% normalised average of assessments in the last 3 years
game report marks (crew self-assessment) 5% Normalised average of game report marks from current season. Where no mark is recorded on the game report, the referee shall score 2 and the remainder of the crew 3.5. Where the appropriate audit is not returned, the referee shall have 1 mark deducted from his/her score and the rest of the crew 0.5 marks deducted each.
coaches card marks 5% normalised average of coaches' marks from current season
Total 100%

Where average marks are based on a small number of marks (e.g. less than 3 assessments, less than 12 game report marks, less than 10 coaches cards, less than 20 peer review marks), the average should be "normalised" by adding in a number of "mean" marks (e.g. 85% for assessments, 3.5 for game report marks and 3.5 for coaches marks, 3.25 for peer review marks) to make up the shortfall. This will weaken the impact of unrepresentatively low or high marks.


Selection for Prestige Roles

BAFRA qualified members are eligible subject to meeting all necessary criteria (see below) for selection to prestige appointments. These are playoff games, the elite panel and the IFAF panel. Any member in debt to BAFRA will be excluded from selection to any of the prestige appointments.

Playoff Games

All qualified officials who work a minimum number of games in a particular league (or related league) shall be considered for playoff games. The Selection Committee will set and publish this minimum value at or before the start of the appropriate season. Only officials who are experienced at working a particular position will normally be considered to work that position in a playoff game.

Elite Panel & & IFAF (Europe)

All qualified officials will be eligible to apply to the BAFRA Elite Programme. Applicants are eligible for consideration and may apply for elite panel status as soon as they meet the eligibility criteria then currently in force. The Selection Committee will give consideration to an applicant's potential as well as their ability as shown by the ratings.

Officials who are members of the BAFRA Elite Programme are eligible for selection as one of the British representatives on the IFAF (Europe) officiating panel. IFAF (Europe) may impose additional criteria of eligibility. The Selection Committee will take into account an official's performance over an extended period (at least 5 years) when making such appointments.

Non-game assignments

BAFRA is sometimes asked to provide chain crews and other support personnel for prestige games. In the past, this has included Britbowl and other national finals as well as NFL games played at Wembley Stadium

The Director of Operations shall make these assignments taking regard of the member's commitment to officiating and contribution to BAFRA.The Selection Panel will assist in this process where necessary.

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