Minutes of a combined meeting of the BAFRA and BAFA Rules Committees on 19 October 2008
- The Chairman welcomed those present to the fifth meeting of the reconstituted BAFA Rules Committee.
The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 14 October 2007.
The Committee noted that the actions agreed at the meeting on 14 October 2007 had been carried out with the following exception:
- Present: Jim Briggs (BAFRA, Chair), Nigel Clift (BAFL), Paul Sutton (BAFRA).
- Apologies: Alan Dobson (BAFRA/Flag Working Party), Andy Fuller (BUAFL), Jim Messenger (BAFCA), Peter Parsons (BAFRA), Steve Tonkinson (BAFRA), Brian Yates (BAFRA).
The Committee noted and confirmed the procedures outlined in the documents:
The Committee reviewed the 2008 rules changes. No problems had been reported. In particular:
- Item 6 (BAFRA to run game management audit for 2008). Because BAFL did not run the field audit, BAFRA had run that instead of the game management audit.
The Chairman reported that he had been invited to join the IFAF Rules Committee. The aim of the Committee was to produce and maintain an IFAF rule book, to cover international competition, based on NCAA rules but with appropriate amendments.
The Committee discussed the following rules changes proposals for 2009.
- The credentials rule (1-2-4-b) had resulted in tighter control of team areas and there had been no serious problems. The duty of care towards injured players had been better discharged by identifying teams' medics/trainers.
- It was noted that NCAA had reversed itself in 2008 on Rule 3-2-2-i (timing on inadvertent whistles).
- The reversion to the 2006 clock rules (3-2-5) had not noticeably changed the length of games. This was not surprising since the 2007 change had not had this effect either.
- Some rule changes (e.g. 3-3-7-b) only applied in televised games and therefore had not been tested in Britain.
- The change (13-4-7-a-3) imposing a maximum delay to the kick off of 60 minutes unless otherwise agreed had been tested in a (cancelled) game at Leicester. The fact that, on that occasion, the ambulance had turned up a few minutes later, did not obviate the need for this rule.
The Committee confirmed its decisions noted above and recommended that the BAFA Board should also give its final confirmation to the changes.
The Committee agreed that British Points of Emphasis be drawn up (ACTION JB) on:
- The Committee considered the NCAA 2008 rules changes. The Committee agreed to adopt all the changes except as noted below:
- microphones for referees would not become mandatory in 2010 (1-4-9-d), however the recommendation for lapel-type microphones would be accepted
- the change to the chop block rule (2-3-3) would need to be emphasised to coaches
- the 40-second clock rule (3-2-4) would only be adopted in games where there were stadium play clocks that meet the requirements of rule; in all other cases, the existing 25-second clock rule would be used
- the new rule prohibiting horse-collar tackles (9-1-2-p) would need careful explanation, particularly relating to the use of the word "immediate" and the fact that it does not apply to a runner inside the tackle box or to a quarterback in the pocket
- the change to the penalties for sideline interference (9-1-6) would need to be emphasised to coaches
- The Committee agreed to reduce the minimum size of the end zone to 7 yards (1-2-1-a-2-a). This was to make legal a small number of otherwise excellent fields where the end zones were 7½ yards deep. It was noted that if there was, for example, 114 yards between end lines, Rule 1-2-1-a-2-b strongly recommends that the field be marked with 90 yards between the goal lines and 12-yard end zones, rather than 100 yards between the goal lines and 7-yard end zones.
- The Committee agreed not to set any absolute minimum standards for the dimensions of the field. It was noted that leagues already have the sanction under Rule 13-6-2-a to cancel (i.e. not play) a game should any mandatory requirement not be met.
- The Committee agreed a number of minor changes to Rule 13 to reflect the new 40/25-second clock rules.
The Committee agreed that JB would continue his existing role of editing the rulebook (ACTION JB). BAFL were invited to request copies of the rulebook from BAFA for their team judges (Action NC).
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).
In other business:
- the 40/25-second clock rule changes (new)
- sideline control and credentials
- protection of defenceless players
- proper use of equipment
- medical guidelines on MRSA and similar infections
- game management, including officials' assistants
It was agreed that the date for next year's meeting should be provisionally set for late October - the same time of year as this year.
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
- In AD's enforced absence, the Committee noted that the Flag and 5-on-5 Rules Working Party was still working on a new draft of those rules. A proposal for adoption by this Committee would be circulated by email in due course, but prior to finishing the rulebook.
- The Committee noted interest in the playing of a form of the game that was intermediate between 5-a-side and 11-a-side. It was agreed to establish in due course a Working Party to develop a set of rules, but this might await an indication via IFAF of whether 8-a-side or 9-a-side would be more appropriate.
- It was noted that BAFRA would be proposing an interpretation to clarify the consistent application of Rule 3-4-3 (unfair clock tactics).