BAFA Rules Committee

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Minutes of a combined meeting of the BAFRA and BAFA Rules Committees on 14 October 2007


  1. The Chairman welcomed those present to the fourth meeting of the reconstituted BAFA Rules Committee.
  2. The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 22 October 2006 .
  3. The Committee noted that the actions agreed at the meeting on 22 October 2006 had been carried out with the following exception:
  4. The Committee noted and confirmed the procedures outlined in the documents:
  5. The Committee reviewed the 2007 rules changes. No problems had been reported. The clock rule changes had not noticeably shortened games, perhaps due to BAFRA's mechanics for dealing with changes of possession. The instant replay rules had not been tested.
  6. The Committee reviewed the game management audit for BAFL undertaken by BAFRA in 2007.
    1. It was noted that:
      • compared with the field audit done the previous year, it was not so easy to complete, since it required information from different times before, during and after the game
      • officials clearly needed more guidance on how to complete it, including not penalising teams for problems that were of the officials' creation such as their late arrival
      • the form was not resilient to incomplete entries - unlike the field audit, one could not always assume that something was the same as it had been reported in a previous game
      • more feedback needed to be given to game management on the day about their score
      • a few crews had failed to fill it in due to confusion as to which member of the crew should have brought the form
    2. It was agreed that:
      • the scoring on the form would be amended so that teams were penalised 50 points for not providing at least 5 officials' assistants
      • hi-vis vests would be recognised as a good, but not perfect, solution to identifying the assistants
      • the maximum score for the location of the changing room in relation to the field would be 20 points
    3. It was agreed to summarise the uniform marks to ascertain standards within this area. (Action PS)
    4. The Committee discussed whether some recommended requirements in Rule 1 concerning the uniformity of players' uniforms should be made mandatory. It was agreed to consult widely to ascertain the feeling within teams for this. (Action JB)
    5. It was further agreed that BAFRA should repeat the game management audit in 2008. (Action JB)
    6. It was also agreed that BAFL should reconsider whether it can run the field audit in 2008. (Action NC)
  7. The Committee discussed the following rules changes proposals for 2008.
    1. The Committee considered the NCAA 2007 rules changes. The Committee agreed to adopt all the changes. The Committee discussed in particular:
      1. the unlikelihood of the rules relating to live televised games ever being exercised in Britain
      2. NCAA's complete reversal of the timing changes made last year, and the need for BAFRA to restore the previous mechanic for declaring the ball ready for play after a change of possession
      3. the possibility that officials might be unable to quickly adjust the game clock after an inadvertent whistle, and therefore might be required to count off a few seconds in their head in the implementation of Rule 3-2-2-i
      4. the change in the kickoff spot and, in adopting the NCAA rule (6-1-1), noted that this would in effect be no change on 90-yard fields
      5. the change in the penalty for a kick off out of bounds (6-2-1), and noted that with the new wording of the kickoff spot, the distance that Team B would have to travel to score a touchdown after enforcement of the penalty would now be the same regardless of the length of the field
      6. the rule requiring the referee to declare the ball ready for play when the umpire hands the ball to the kicker (6-1-2) was impracticable to implement consistently, so officials would be asked to continue their existing practice
    2. The Committee considered the issue of the minimum age for officials' assistants. It was agreed that:
      1. The mandatory minimum age is to remain at 14.
      2. However, a game can not start (or continue if suspended) until at least 5 persons over the age of 14 were provided. This will provide officials with a stronger means of enforcing this important safety-related rule.
      3. Where officials' assistants are provided under the age of 18, they remain the responsibility of game management from a child welfare perspective.
    3. The Committee considered proposals concerning delays and suspensions of games. It was agreed that a game would be cancelled or abandoned after a delay or suspension of more than 60 minutes, unless both head coaches and the referee agreed to a specified longer period.
    4. The Committee discussed a proposal to vary the maximum length of a game threatened by darkness. It was agreed that a formula for calculating the length of the game would be provided (to ensure consistency of enforcement), but that it would only apply in cases where the kick off time was delayed.
    5. The Committee agreed to a proposal that there should be a two-minute warning in games even if there are stadium clocks.
    6. The Committee discussed a proposal concerning the identification of non-players in the team area. It was agreed that all persons allowed in the team area (other than those in full uniform) should bear colour-coded credentials, that would identify them as coaches, trainers/physiotherapists or other roles. It was agreed that the scheme proposed was entirely feasible to implement, since at a minimum a team would require only some coloured card, and either badge holders or lanyards. NC noted that BAFL might decide to issue these credentials centrally.
  8. The Committee confirmed its decisions noted above and recommends that the BAFA Board should also give its final confirmation to the changes.
  9. The Committee agreed that British Points of Emphasis be drawn up (ACTION JB) on:
    1. the clock rule changes
    2. sideline control and credentials
    3. protection of defenceless players
    4. proper use of equipment
    5. medical guidelines on MRSA and similar infections
    6. game management, including officials' assistants
    7. celebrations
  10. The Committee noted problems with the production of the rulebook for 2007. It had been printed too late for copies to be distributed at the BAFRA Convention, and some copies had binding faults that had caused them to fall apart after modest use.
  11. The Committee agreed that JB would continue his existing role of editing the rulebook (ACTION JB).
  12. The Committee agreed that a press release concerning the rules changes would be drawn up and that BAFA organisations be asked to bring it to the attention of their members (ACTION JB).
  13. JB reported briefly on changes proposed for the BAFA Disciplinary Code. A consultation was currently under way.
  14. It was agreed that the date for next year's meeting should be provisionally set for late October, the precise date to be agreed approximately 3 months in advance.
  15. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
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