Improving game management
Many people have commented on the decline in the quality of game management in recent years. The aspects that are particuarly of concern are:
- field markings (particularly inaccurate hash marks and incomplete team area markings, especially coaching boxes)
- chains (break frequently) and down boxes (too short)
- chain crew and ball boys (provided late; too young; never done it before; frequently changed; inattentive)
These factors are all essential components of a smoothly run game.
The following rule changes are intended to provide a disincentive to teams that ignore some of the important aspects of game management. The penalties will of course not apply when game management is not the responsibility of one of the teams (referred to as the "home team" below).
- The chains, chain crew and ball boys are supposed to be provided 30 minutes before kickoff (Rule 13-3-1-a), but usually officiating crews brief them 20 minutes before kickoff. If the chains plus 5 personnel are not available 15 minutes before kickoff, the home team will be charged a timeout. If they are still not available 10 minutes before kickoff, the home team will be charged its second timeout. If they are still not available 5 minutes before the appointed kickoff time, the home team will be charged with its third and final timeout of the first half.
- In addition to the above, the home team will be charged a 5-yard penalty if the chains and 5 personnel are not available at kickoff time, and a further 5-yard penalty for every full 5 minutes the kickoff is further delayed.
- The home team will be charged with a timeout (or a 5-yard penalty if timeouts are exhausted) every time a change is made to the chain crew or ball boys, or the game is halted because the chain or down box breaks (Exception: no charge for the first stoppage to repair the chain or down box). Game management may however make multiple changes for one timeout/penalty.
- Leagues will be required to (or BAFA will) fine teams that do not meet all minimum game management requirements. A fine of £25 per infraction will be doubled for a second infringement per season, and further doubled (i.e. £100) for a third and each repeated infraction.
As an incentive to teams to achieve high standards of game management, BAFRA will re-institute its season awards for the best chain crew and best game managment.