Issue 03/19                                                                                30th Jan 2019

BAFRA Newsflash

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It is with great sadness that I write to inform members that Norman Cox passed away on the 21st January 2019 in hospital in Chelmsford. Norman was one of the longest serving of BAFRA members, having joined in BAFRA’s first full year. He was a good official, and a good and popular person; one you would always be pleased to have on your crew. Testament to this is the fact that, during his officiating career, he was selected for eighteen bowl games including the National Championship game on three occasions. He was a regular attender at our Annual Convention where he was always looking to improve his knowledge and skills.

He was diagnosed with cancer last year and had completed his first round of chemotherapy in the autumn. After spending a happy festive season at home with his mother and sister’s family, he returned for a second round of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, because of an infection, it was not possible to start this and he was sent home. His condition suddenly worsened and he was admitted to hospital where he passed away a few days later.

The funeral will be held at Chelmsford Crematorium at 3:30pm on 15th February. At the request of the family no flowers (other than family flowers) are to be sent but donations may be made to charity in Norman’s memory. BAFRA will be making a donation. I do not have the details at the time of writing this but, should anyone wish to make a personal donation, they should contact Steve Tonkinson on who is finding out details from Norman’s sister.

Our sincere sympathies go out to Norman’s family and friends. We are all diminished by his passing.

Paul Sutton – General Secretary


Congratulations to Mike Hansford on completing all of the requirements necessary to become Qualified.

Thanks to Steve Leonard and all those who are helping with Mike’s training.

Tzvi Lindeman - Director of Training


Nominations close shortly for the BAFRA Official of the Year for 2018. Any member may nominate any other member. The criteria are as follows:

  1. The official should have demonstrated that they are actively working to improve their officiating to (or maintain their officiating at) the highest level that their ability and experience allows.
  2. The official will have made off field contributions to BAFRA in particular, or to the sport of American football in Britain in general. Examples would be (but not limited to): serving on BAFRA or BAFA committees or working groups; being involved in the training or development of others; having a flexible attitude to assisting the Director of Operations with his duties; representing BAFRA in the wider football or sports communities.
  3. The award shall be open to any person who has been a BAFRA member for the whole of the year excepting that no member may win the award in two consecutive years.
  4. The General Secretary will request nominations in the first Newsflash of the New Year. Any BAFRA member may make a nomination for this award; the nomination shall relate to the previous calendar year. Nominations should be accompanied by a short (250 word maximum) testimonial as to why the person should get the award.
  5. The Selection Committee will make the award from the list of members nominated. Should any of the Selection Committee be nominated, they will not be permitted to participate in the decision; if necessary, on the advice of the Selection Committee Chair, the Directors may co-opt others onto this Committee to make up for any shortfall.

If you wish to make a nomination please send me the name of the member you wish to nominate plus a short testimonial by the end of January 2019. The award will be presented on the Saturday evening of the Convention.

Paul Sutton – General Secretary










New this week

Lewis Key


Royal Holloway Bears



On a Free Kick, the kick ball went up high after 2 bounces, a player was stood under the arriving ball, and was fully concentrated on catching it, as he caught it, immediately he was hit in the head by #2's shoulder pad. Because he had all his attention on the arriving ball, he was considered defenseless, meaning that #2 committed a Targeting foul, and was therefore ejected.

3rd Feb 2019 v UCL Emperors

Nathan Obayori


Bristol Barracuda



On a play where the ejected player was also seen to be holding, he and the player he held continued their contact out of bounds. On the way to the ground #4 was seen to throw a punch into the side of his opponent.

17th Feb 2019 v Worcester Royals

Previous weeks

Oliver Botham


Canterbury Chargers



With 4:29 remaining in the 1st quarter the player led with the crown of his helmet into the ribs of an opposing player.

3rd Feb 2019 v Kent Falcons

Mike Ellacott


Northumbria Mustangs



Player lead with crown of the helmet and made helmet to helmet contact with player out of bounds. Foul occurred with 2 seconds remaining in 4th quarter.

3rd Feb 2019 v Newcastle Raiders





New this week

York Centurions

90 yard pitch. No limit lines, 3 yard marks, 9 yard marks or numbers. Team and coaching boxes were missing but were marked out using cones.

David Hewitt #607

3rd Feb 2019 v Sunderland Spartans

Bournemouth Bobcats

No 9 yard marks, some infield hash-marks don't align with the other ones, causing confusion for spots and enforcement.

Oliver Maskell #221

3rd Feb 2019 v Bath Spa Bulldogs

DMU Falcons

Pitch was being marked by the players as we arrived, because of this it was very poorly marked. Only one goal post. No yard markings, numbers, or coaches area. However it was deemed good enough to play the game

I believe they are not playing here again.

Mike Roberts #32

3rd Feb 2019 v Staffordshire Stallions

Essex Blades

No Numbers or 9yard marks. No team areas or coaching box on either sideline.

Phil Clarke #262

10th Feb 2019 v ARU Rhinos

UWE Bullets

Kick off was delayed by 35 minutes due to the late arrival of the game’s medic. The chain crew was changed at half time. The game was played at UWE's new venue. Officials visiting for future games should note that footwear restrictions are in place - no flat or dimple-soled shoes should be worn, only cleats / studs. No footwear inspections were carried out on the day though. Field markings were generally good, but there were no team areas marked (only coaching boxes) and no limit lines.

Amir Brooks #593

16th Feb 2019 v Swansea Titans

UEA Pirates

With 6:13 remaining in the 2nd quarter a player fell injured with a neck injury an ambulance was called at 13:20.  After a further 90 minutes the player was still down injured, another call for an ambulance was made as he was now continually shivering. Both coaches agreed to abandon the game.

Larry Rigby #269

17th Feb 2019 v Kent Falcons

University of Nottingham

Excellent marked field (in yellow). Goal posts are shortened pipes attached to the fence.

Ian Wainwright #567

17th Feb 2019 v Stirling Clansmen

Bath Spa Bulldogs

At half time Bath Spa had suffered some injuries and as the crew came out ready to start the second half the Bath Spa Head Coach head coach informed me that they were not able to continue the game as a result of the mounting injuries to an already small squad. Both coaches were happy to abandon the game at that point. We spoke with both coaches and we offered to stay on to give players the chance to scrimmage rather than just wrapping up then so we had about an hour where the players, from both teams, had the chance to run a few plays before heading off. The score at the half was Bath Spa 0 – Oxford 22.

Julian Mallia #336

17th Feb 2019 v Solent Redhawks

Birmingham Lions

Home team informed referee that game was cancelled due to visiting team (Portsmouth Destroyers) being unable to travel 2½ hours before scheduled kickoff.

Jed Brookes-Lewis #395

23rd Feb 2019 v Hertfordshire Hurricanes

Brunel Burners

NFL width hash marks and no numbers. The game started 15 minutes late due to late arrival of medics. The Surrey coach forfeited the game with 6 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.

Graham Coleman #177

24th Feb 2019 v Kingston Cougars

Newcastle Raiders

Played at Gateshead Stadium. The field is showing signs of wear, with parts of the surface lifting up in areas, some having to be filled with sand before the game, there are now 4 sets of hash marks, one of which appears to have been marked poorly, veering off severely to one side. The ground staff have moved the endline, which previously put a wall in the middle of the end zone. The field of play was shortened at one end to avoid any complications with the wall and the game played towards one goal only. Team and player areas not marked and some other sports markings on the field, although these didn’t cause confusion.

Liam Wooton #478

24th Feb 2019 v Edinburgh Napier Knights

QMBL Vipers

Prior to the game, the groundsman had to be asked to complete the final 5 hashes, and the end line, in order to meet the minimum field standards. There were numerous report conditions met: Field too wide (estimated 180ft) resulting in large space between hashes, which had been painted the correct distance from the sideline, no nine yard marks, white field markings for other sports within 4 feet of endline, chains broke approximately 10 times.

Ben Gadsby #564

24th Feb 2019 v UEA Pirates

Royal Holloway Bears

Royal Holloway played this match on the Greenwich Southwood site, because their own was waterlogged. The field is marked properly, but the American Football markings are dark blue on the green 3G artificial grass, which is not really visible, mainly because there are bright colour markings on the field too.

Viktor Janvari #63

24th February 2019 v Greenwich Mariners

Staffordshire Stallions

Referee’s changing rooms unavailable due to another event being held at sports centre. Changing rooms assigned as staff rest area and an office. Kick Off was delayed by 20 mins as medical cover not booked, and appropriately qualified cover was found.

Andrew Lovell #559


Essex Blades

Field and team area markings are inadequate.

Phil Clarke #262

10th February 2019 v ARU Rhinos

Outstanding items from previous weeks

Oxford Lancers

The field was originally marked out as 90 yards with 10 yard endzones. Unfortunately, the goalposts were positioned in the goal line rather than the end line. After rectifying this by moving the goal line out by 10 yards, this left us with a 70 yard field with 10 yard endzones. The game went ahead with the agreement of both head coaches. To compound this, it was found that when compared with the field markings, the chains appeared to be only 9 yards long. The crew verified that the chain was in fact the correct length, meaning that the yard marks were more than a yard apart. The field also has NFL hashmarks which were significantly longer than 24 inches.

Amir Brooks #593

1st Feb 2019 v Oxford Brookes Panthers

Warwick Wolves

Game suspended with 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter for 1 hour and 10 minutes to allow treatment to an injured NTU player. On agreement with both head coaches, 3rd and 4th quarters shortened to 8 minutes to allow completion of the game before lack of light became an issue.

Jed Brookes-Lewis #395

3rd Feb 2019 v Leicester Longhorns

Portsmouth Destroyers

Endzone at the minimum requirement of 7 yards deep. No 8 yard markings - 90 yard field. The game was played in heavy rain and by the end of the game the field markings were no longer visible in places, and the field had turned to mud in large areas

David Knight #135

3rd Feb 2019 v UWE Bullets

York St John Jaguars

The game was played at York Centurions home field as York St John do not have a home field. The pitch was marked with red markings, the markings were faint and will need remarking before the next game at the venue. There were no numbers or 9 yard marks, there we no limit lines, coaching lines or team areas marked. All three games balls supplied were significantly below legal pressure and no towels were provided despite the muddy field conditions. The changing rooms were not secured.

Ben Griffiths #228

3rd Feb 2019 v UWS Pyros

Surrey Stingers

Field is reasonably well marked, with most lines in dark blue (except the midfield line and end lines, which use the white lines from the rugby pitch), and short hash marks. Chain crew and ball persons were provided less than 10 minutes prior to kick off. There were multiple issues with the down box. Prior to the game the Head Linesman identified that, while the box showed 2 and 3 correctly, the box showed 1 on one side and 4 on the other if attempting to show first down or fourth down. This was identified as being the result of a badly implemented repair and, with the use of the chain repair kit was rectified so that the downs were shown correctly. Further issues occurred with the down box during the first half, with multiple additional repairs proving to be less than durable. A rebuild by the Head Linesman at half time rectified the issue for the second half.

Pete Parsons #321

3rd Feb 2019 v Brighton Panthers

Kent Falcons

90 yard 3G field, perfect playing surface. The only problem was, that our match started at 3pm, with floodlights, and the american football markings are dark red on the green pitch, which was barely visible in the artificial light. It could also be a problem for colour blind participants in the game.

Viktor Janvari #63

3rd Feb 2019 v Canterbury Chargers

ARU Rhinos

There was no access to goal post padding, chains or any other field equipment until 13:30 as there were locked away. The game kicked off at 13:40

Larry Rigby #269

3rd Feb 2019 v UEL Titans

Leeds Gryphons

80 yard field. No 3 or 9 yard marks or numbers. Sidelines hashes were missing along with team areas. Cones were employed to mark out correct coaching and player boxes.One member of the chain crew was replaced at half time. Plaudits to both teams for continuing to play good football in appalling weather conditions.

David Hewitt #607

3rd Feb 2019 v Bradford Bears

Durham Saints

The Chain crew and ball persons were provided late for the third consecutive home game. Only 2 persons were available at kick off time resulting in delayed kick off. Changes at half time also resulted in the 2nd half kick off being delayed. Durham’s Head Coach informed the referee he was “playing under protest” on the grounds that BUCS regulations state away team need to provide 1 assistant, disregarding the fact they had not even provided 4 assistants on time in either half. Durham’s Head Coach was informed it is the responsibility of home team to ensure all officials assistants are available on time, even if the away team are providing 1 assistant.

Liam Wooton #478

3rd Feb 2019 v Leeds Beckett Carnegie

City Wolfpack

Game played at University of Hertfordshire, so not the normal City Wolfpack venue. Football lines are yellow and are getting quite faint making them difficult to see - the 4G field is definitely in need of some refreshing in this respect. Coaching line and players box lines are missing on both sides - cones used to mark out boundaries for both. Most of the game balls needed frequent top ups of air throughout the game, but looked to be quite new with no obvious signs of wear - hopefully the team can get them exchanged out. During the game there were several issues with the down box operator moving before being asked - including one play where the runner and box man both gained 30+ yards downfield whilst the ball was live; it did get progressively better after several reminders not to move from the officiating crew!

Phil Clarke #262

3rd Feb 2019 v Chichester Spitfires

Glasgow University Tigers

Game suspended for around half an hours to allow treatment to an injured Glasgow player during the second quarter. There was a further half hour stoppage at the start of the 3rd quarter to allow the injured player to be transferred to a second ambulance for transfer to hospital for tests.
Henry Richardson #25

10th Feb 2019 v Edinburgh Napier Knights

Leeds Beckett

80 yard field. No 3 yard marks, 9 yard marks or numbers. Sidelines hashes were missing. Coaching boxes not present but were marked out using cones. Changing room was too small for 5 people.

David Hewitt #607

10th Feb 2019 v Durham Saints

Sheffield Hallam Warriors

80 yard field, the field is well marked, but they are in red. This makes them difficult to see especially with the floodlights. Floodlights are not great.

Ian Wainwright #567

10th Feb 2019 v UCLan Rams

Canterbury Chargers

Well marked 90-yard field marked in blue with other sport markings in red, white & yellow. No limit lines, numbers or 9-yard marks. 8-yard end zones and coaching line at incorrect depth. Changing room spacious but not lockable.

Tim Ockendon #481

10th Feb 2019 v UEA Pirates

MMU Eagles

There was no coaching line or team area markings. All three game balls were significantly below the legal pressure and the home team did not have a pump with which to inflate the balls. As a result of the kick off being delayed a pump was eventually found and the balls inflated to a legal pressure. The visiting team (Lincoln Colonials) wore a mixture of different Jerseys. Some were Navy with Yellow Numbers and some were black with White Numbers. The home team occupied the two changing rooms allocated to the teams as a result the visiting team only gained access to changing facilities one hour prior to the scheduled kickoff time. The kick-off was delayed for 1 hour and 6 minutes as the booked medical cover did not turn up on time. To allow the visiting team bus to leave on time, the game was reduced to 10 minute quarters. One member of the chain crew was repeatedly filming the game from his mobile phone while operating the chains. He ignored multiple requests to stop so at half-time we asked the home team to replace the individual, which they did. The 3 yard mark was located 8 yards from each goal line.

Ben Griffiths #228

10th Feb 2019 v Huddersfield Hawks

Sussex Saxons

The chain set broke once.

Ben Gadsby #564

10th Feb 2019 v City Wolfpack

Edinburgh Predators

Coaches area and team area not marked properly.

Shawn Sombati #15

10th Feb 2019 v Teeside Cougars

Bangor Muddogs

The game was suspended for almost 20 minutes in the 4th quarter for treatment to an injured player.

Tim Vickers #129

17th Feb 2019 v Leeds Gryphons

Keele Crusaders

Despite being advised at their first game home game of the season, and reminded during the week, on arrival the end zone was too small. The field was shortened to 80 yards using the 5 yard line as the goal line Both teams played in very similar kit, kit, Only way to tell difference DMU had a Reddish black top , while Keele was Red white white numbers.

Andrew Lovell #559

17th Feb 2019 v Huddersfield Hawks

Bradford Bears

After receiving an email from Bradford at the beginning of the week I was informed that this game was a 2.00pm kick off. In actual fact there was a local soccer game taking place on the field that didn't finish until approx 1.56pm,meaning kickoff had to be delayed until 2.30pm.All the field equipment (pylons,line numbers etc...) had been left in a box so the officials set about getting everything set up. The field itself was marked out as a 100 yard field but since that would have left no endzones the field needed to be shortened. It was then noted that the field was completely missing 5 yard lines which Bradford informed us was impossible to rectify. After conferring with the Director of Operations to double check the rule, the crew informed both teams of the situation,that minimum standards were not been met and left the venue.

David Hewitt #607

17th Feb 2019 v Liverpool Bears

Bristol Barracuda

While enroute to the venue, Bristol rang the officiating crew to inform them that Bath Spa had called him and stated they would not be travelling for the game because of lack of players, so the game had been cancelled..

Francis Bevan #474

24th Feb 2019 v Gloucestershire Gladiators

Royal Holloway Bears

Field markings very faint. Officials assistants were not forthcoming and had to be selected from the crowd, resulting in relatively inattentive people being selected. One ball person had to be changed following an altercation with the away team in their team area.

Ben Gadsby #564

24th Feb 2019 v Greenwich Mariners

Solent Redhawks

Goalposts overhang the end-zones by a couple of yards. It was noted that at the end furthest from the changing rooms, the posts were showing visible signs of rot, and this may cause an issue in the future. The home team said they were aware and would be looking to repair it.

Oliver Maskell #22

24th Feb 2019 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Kingston Cougars

100-yard grass field marked in white. No limit lines and team areas marked with cones. Goal posts had rotated through 90 degrees but this was rectified by game management prior to kick off. Down box below regulation height and had been crudely repaired with gaffer tape such that the operator had to prop it up. Playing surface at one end of the field was very muddy to the point where the correct lateral spot could not always be used. The other end of the field remained playable throughout.

Tim Ockendon #481


Huddersfield Hawks

On the day before the game. Huddersfield contacted me to inform me that a floodlight had exploded at their venue leaving shards of glass all over the field rendering it unsafe to play on. All officials were assigned elsewhere.

Ben Griffiths #228




New this week

Play: Team A score a Touchdown as time expires in the 4th quarter, the score is A20-B21. The fourth quarter is extended for the try. During the Try A88 catches a legal forward pass in the field of play and taunts B26 with the ball prior to crossing B's goal line.


Last week

Play: 2nd and 10 at Team A’s 6 yard line.  All eleven Team A players come to a complete stop for 2 seconds. A80 then goes in motion and stops. Half a second after A80 stops, A34 goes in motion and is still in motion when the ball is snapped.

Ruling? After Team A have been fully set for more than a second; there does not need to be a full second between one player stopping being in motion and a second player starting.  This action by Team A is legal.  (7-1-4-b-3 & 7-1-2-a)


New this week

Game Situation:

Answer next issue…

Last week

Game Situation: During a timeout, the Head Coach from the Head Linesman's sideline calls his team over and stands on the field 5 yards from sideline talking to them in a huddle.  How should the Head Linesman react to the Head Coach being on the field?

Answer: M17.1.9.f If during a timeout a coach enters the field to speak to his players, this should not normally be a problem provided a) he does not go onto the field more than nine yards b) he does not go beyond the 25-yard lines c) his players gather around him.  The official should take no action while a coach stays within these guidelines.




Contact for details


February 23rd (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

April 6th (Sat)


May 11th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 20th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

November 16th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

BAFRA Directors


David Parsons

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Roger Brown


Richard Vernon


Lee Taylor


Tzvi Lindeman

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: Ben Griffiths - Email:

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