BAFA Rules Committee

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Minutes of a combined meeting of the BAFRA and BAFA Rules Committees on 23 January 2010


  1. The Chairman welcomed those present to the sixth meeting of the reconstituted BAFA Rules Committee.
  2. The Committee approved the minutes of the meeting on 19 October 2008.
  3. The Committee noted that the actions agreed at the meeting on 19 October 2008 had been carried out with the following exception:
  4. The Committee noted and confirmed the procedures outlined in the documents:
  5. The Commitee noted that NCAA had moved to a 2-year rulebook cycle. It was too early to say whether or not they would nevertheless make any rule changes in 2010, but if they did it was anticipated that changes could be dealt with by issuing a change sheet rather than a completely new rulebook.
  6. The Committee reviewed the 2009 rules changes. No problems had been reported. In particular:
  7. The Committee discussed the following rules changes proposals for 2010.
    1. The Committee considered the NCAA 2009 rules changes. The Committee agreed to adopt all the changes except as noted below:
      1. the existing BAFA glove colour rules would be retained
      2. the existing BAFA jersey colour rules would be retained (but both teams would be reported if there was a clash) - there was no desire to impose yardage penalties on teams for colour clashes
      3. various minor changes were agreed to keep NCAA changes consistent with existing BAFA exceptions
      4. the change to 7-3-10 (ineligible receivers downfield) should be interpreted as the whole of the player's body being over the 3-yard line before a foul should be called
      5. the change to 9-1-4-a-5 was noted, but only applies to kickers who carry the ball outside the tackle box, and not to muffs or wide snaps
      6. the additions to 9-6 (conference review) would apply (consistent with BAFA Disciplinary Code), but review would only take place when possible and could not be automatic
    2. The Committee agreed that the missing goal procedure should be made mandatory (to ensure consistency of application). However, it was agreed that the rule would be changed so that if one goal was missing, the coaches could agree to forego use of the remaining one.
    3. The Committee agreed the BAFA Board's proposal to make white stripes on the ball mandatory from 2011. However the Committee did not agree that the game should not start if such balls were not available.
    4. The Committee agreed a change to Rule 13 to reflect that the referee shall take the opinions of medical personnel and groundsmen into account when deciding whether to cancel, delay, suspend or abandon games. It was noted that a set of guidelines as to what constituted an unfit field might improve consistency of application, but a suitable set of guidelines (e.g. from the USA or another field sport) had not been found.
    5. The Committee agreed a change to Rule 13 to define the circumstances under which the cancellation or abandonment of a game could be reversed. This closed a loophole in the rules identified during the 2008-09 BUAFL season.
    6. The Committee disagreed with a proposal to introduce a rule to terminate uncompetitive games early. However, it was noted that leagues need to address the number of mismatches in their games.
    7. The Committee agreed a new section to Rule 13 to define the status of BAFA games and to contrast them from controlled scrimmages. The new rule defines age groups and minimum coaching and officiating requirements. A number of editorial changes to the original proposal were discussed and agreed. The BAFA Board was asked to consider carefully whether the aspirations, particularly for coaching qualifications, were strategic goals, and what timescales were appropriate for them.
    8. The Committee agreed to replace the word "league" with "competition" throughout the rules.
    9. The Committee agreed to adopt IFAF flag rules in place of existing BAFA flag rules.
  8. The Committee reviewed the remaining differences between NCAA and BAFA rules (in the link, text in red is BAFA only; text in blue is NCAA only). It was agreed not to make any changes, though the rule prohibiting use of tobacco was discussed at length. While wishing to discourage such use, the Committee did not feel it appropriate for this to be enforced by game officials disqualifiying players.
  9. The Committee reviewed the differences between BAFA Youth Contact rules and those used for international competition (which are virtually identical to adult contact rules). It was agreed that:
    1. a consultation shall take place with youth teams as to whether the existing differences on blocking below the waist and tripping the runner should be retained, as well as the scoring of 2 points on a kicked try
    2. it was desirable to obtain medical input on the issue of whether the safety of under-19 players was unreasonably compromised by the existing youth or adult blocking below the waist rules
    3. the rules relating to the now-obsolete 9-a-side form of the game be removed
    4. the rule on playing without goals should be consolidated into Rule 1
    5. the rule on disqualifying players for persistent personal fouls be removed
  10. The Committee agreed to adopt an adapted version of the NCAA guidelines on lightning. It was noted that there was no evidence that waiting to resume less than 30 minutes after the last flash/bang was appropriate.
  11. The Committee agreed to change the BAFA Disciplinary Code to permit disciplinary authorities to double the suspension and fine after a denied appeal that was judged to be unreasonable, vexatious, or designed substantially to permit a player to play in a game for which he is suspended.
  12. The Committee confirmed its decisions noted above and recommended that the BAFA Board should also give its final confirmation to the changes.
  13. The Committee agreed that British Points of Emphasis be drawn up (ACTION JB) on:
    1. sideline control
    2. protection of defenceless players
    3. safety and medical considerations
    4. game management
    5. celebrations
  14. The Committee agreed that JB would continue his existing role of editing the rulebook (ACTION JB). It was agreed that for practical reasons, contact and flag rules would be published separately, but that the contact rules would reference the flag rules and vice versa.
  15. 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). The new flag rules would require particular attention drawing to them. AD agreed to produce a list of changes to flag rules. (Action AD)
  16. JB reported that IFAF was intending to produce a rulebook (based on NCAA) for use in its competitions.
  17. It was noted that no progress had been made on setting up an 8-on-8 version of the sport.
  18. It was agreed that the date for next year's meeting should be provisionally set for December. It was noted that if NCAA made zero or few changes to its rules then holding a BAFA Rules Committee meeting in person might be dispensed with and any business conducted electronically.
  19. The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
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