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home > Newsflash Index > Newsflash 45/06

ISSUE 45/06 13 November 2006


  12 November


  12 November
Teeside Cougars Field numbers were only 4 yards in from sideline.
90 yard pitch
Hash marks down centre of field were only 4 yards apart
No team areas
No goal posts
Crew not paid. Game management informed us that they had pre-paid for officials.
Plaudits to both sets of players, no 15 or 10 yard penalties all game and only and only a handful of 5 yard penalties.
Paisley Pyros Crew not paid. Did not advise me when I presented the invoice that they did not intend to pay us at the end of the game. I was advised that they do not have money or cheques. Following the end of the game that they intend to pay Bafra directly. tba
Tyrranau Aberystwyth Crew not paid. Game management in Aberystwyth claimed that all payment must go through the University's Finance Department, therefore there was no money available to pay the crew on the day. They were given an invoice for payment and told to send it to BAFRA. tba
Portsmouth Destroyers It was reported that one set of goalposts had been vandalised. The game was played normally with any field goals or PAT kicks being moved to the goal end for that play. 26/11/06
Lincoln Colonials * Though there had been an attempt at marking the field an attempt was all it was.
* NFL hash marks
* Pitch ran full width of existing rugby pitch
* Rugby pitch markings still visible and confusing
* Grass was long
* No five yard lines
* Soccer pitch next to pitch restricted away team area
* Goal line was broken line not solid
* No down box so a flag was used instead
* Match balls provided were plastic so replaced with away teams balls
Despite the appalling condition of the pitch and lack of game management the game was played in good spirit by both teams.
ARU Phantoms No team areas, no limit lines, no coaches' box. No adequate balls had to use opposition's balls. Only one goal post. 26/11/06
Southampton Stags End zones only 8yds deep. Team area lines only 10ft from sideline. Goal posts tied to fence and approx 2yds beyond end lines. These are all due to restricted space within fence surrounding field. No limit lines. No numbers or 9yd marks. Considerable delay in unlocking the officials' changing room after the game.
Two wires stretched across field approximately 8ft from ground. The ball hit them 3 times during the game. By prior agreement, each time the down was replayed.
Despite these problems, the general standard of facilities was excellent. In particular, the chain crew was very good. The game was played at a cracking pace in front of a large crowd.
Oxford Cavaliers Pitch marked with NFL hashmarks - both coaches agreed to use hashmarks as marked.
No goalline/endline pylons.
Team areas not marked although a line had been put in six feet back from the sideline - that was adequate.
Hertfordshire Hurricanes NFL hash marks though inbounds lines had been marked in the correct place.
No team area markings.
Had to use away teams footballs as Herts still had not received game balls from the league.
Greenwich mariners The game was suspended for 30 minutes in the third quarter waiting for an ambulance to attend an injured player - there was an ambulance present, but the crew preferred to wait for the professionals to move the player.
The game was played on the Mariner's practice pitch at Mission Fields instead of their usual venue at Crystal Palace, and the pitch was some ways was better than Crystal Palace - their usual venue.
However, there were no coaching boxes, only one ball-boy, the balls were appalling, the posts were temporary soccer goals with extensions (no different to Crystal Palace) and the chain crew went home at half-time and had to be changed. The field scored 86. Worst of all, the officials didn't get paid!


BAFRA has written to BCAFL expressing extreme concern about the extremely poor quality of game management at a minority of their teams. This includes failure to pay the officials, as well as field marking and other facility problems.

BAFRA will not hesitate to use the provisions of our Terms & Conditions to protect the interests of our members. Nor do we want to be sending crews to teams with poor records in this regard, when teams with good facilities remain uncovered. This may mean a few late changes of assignments for some officials (for which we apologise in advance), but more we hope it will lead to all teams taking their game management responsibilities seriously.

We understand that the BCAFL directors are supporting us in our stand for which we are grateful - see

Jim Briggs


I know its short notice but put the blame on Stangroom as this should have appeared in last week's Newsflash. Colin requires all contributions to Flagdown by 2nd December - preferably in Word format - to be sent to


Southampton Stags have been in touch with an unusual issue regarding their field.

They said "At our new home field we have 2 wires running overhead dividing the field into 3 when curtains are run across, they are between 8 and 9 ft off the ground. Will this effect the playing of the game? The chances of a player or ball hitting them are minimal. If the ball does hit the wire, I assume it is repeat of down regardless of the play's outcome? Are these wires ok or do we have to remove them or find a different field?"

My response was:

The rules say nothing explicitly about this. If they posed a "hazard", then something would have to be done, but I can't imagine any risk they might pose.

However, it is still possible that the ball might touch them. Rule 9-1-4-d states "When anything other than persons subject to the rules and those not subject to the rules interferes in any way with a player or the ball in play, it is illegal interference.
The referee may replay the down or take any action he deems equitable, including awarding a score [S27]. "

Replaying the down would seem an acceptable thing to do. This should be agreed by the referee and both teams before the game."

Southampton also raised the issue of what if the away team objected to the wires? My view would be that unless they could demonstrate to the satisfaction of the referee or game management that there was a hazard to players, they would not have any further right of objection.

Jim Briggs


Please join me in welcoming the following new members to BAFRA:
Pete Johnson, Adrian Briggs, Simon Creasey, Phil Clarke and Ed Elliot.


From the BAFL website...

The BAFL are delighted to confirm six teams have successfully acquired full members status. Cornish Sharks, Edinburgh Wolves, Hull Hornets, Lancashire Wolverines, Lincolnshire Bombers and Shropshire Revolution have successfully negotiated their Associate membership status and are now eligible to apply for competition in the 2007 regular season.

The BAFL would like to offer commiserations to Leicester Falcons and wish them success in future applications. More details to follow soon.


From NFL films...


For last week, firstly visit There is a second clip on the play at

Now that Roger has posted such a comprehensive reply you may want to look at the second clip in light of the following.

Rule 7-3-2a states that the forward pass is illegal if thrown by a Team A player who is beyond the neutral zone.
Rule 7-3-2e states that the forward pass is illegal if thrown from in or behind the neutral zone after a runner in possession of the ball has gone beyond the neutral zone .
Whilst it is obvious that the player runs along the neutral zone, has he gone beyond it?
Rule 2-19-3a states that a passer has crossed the neutral zone when any part of his body is beyond the neutral zone when the ball is released.
Certainly there appears to be parts of his anatomy beyond the neutral zone at the point of release, although as the camera is not lined up along this line it is not 100% clear.

Roger raises another question about coverage

Who should call this? The Line Judge and Lines man have both released downfield , the Umpire is blocked out and the Referee is trailing.

Something to discuss at local meetings, for those who have them.

I have updated the thread on the forum by adding another view to the play. Opinions may change.

For this week, see

How many blocks in the back do you see? If you decide there is/are illegal blocks are they ones that should be called? Do they meet with the mechanics book guidance on when to call penalties?

I will start a thread later in the week once you have had a chance to think about the play. In the meantime feel free to email me at with your views.

Keith Wickham #423


Missing Goal Posts

We've had a couple of incident reports recently about fields with goal posts missing - either one or both. It's therefore worth reminding everyone of what the rulebook says about this eventuality (Rule 1-2-5-f):

"The following procedure is recommended when one or both goals are missing or have been taken down and the original goals are not available for a try or field goal attempt:

  1. If a portable goal is available, it shall be erected or held in place at the request of Team A.
  2. If a portable goal is not available but one goal is in place:
    1. On all scrimmage plays, Team B shall defend the end of the field where the goal is situated.
    2. On all free kick plays, Team A shall defend the end of the field where the goal is situated.
    3. After a change of possession, the teams will change ends if necessary so that Team B is defending the end where the goal is situated.
    4. There will be no change of ends at the end of the first or third periods (one minute timeout only). Captains will not have the option to select which goal line to defend at the beginning of a half.
  3. If no goals are available, the game may be played if both head coaches agree. In these circumstances no field goals shall be scored. Once stated, the coaches' decisions as to whether to start/continue shall be irrevocable. If one or both head coaches do not wish to play then the game shall be abandoned."

When there is only one goal, I know some people believe it's better to play normally and to move everyone down to the other end of the field when the team playing with the goal behind them wants to attempt a kick. I think that presents a potential major unfairness.

Imagine a situation with less than 20 seconds to go and Team A behind by 2 points with no timeouts remaining. They are heading towards the one goal. They rush the field goal unit on to the field, but in haste the kick is no good. On the other hand, if they are heading away from the goal, they notify the referee that they want to attempt a kick. He stops the game while everyone calmly jogs down to the other end of the field and lines up. Unhurried, the kicker slots the kick home and wins the game. Clearly the result of the game has been affected by the direction the team is playing. One could argue that other rules could be made up to obviate some of the unfairness (e.g. only swap ends if Team A has a timeout to burn), but they would still put one team at an advantage over the other. Only the recommendation in the rulebook is completely fair to both teams. I commend it to you!

Roughing the Passer

Rule 9-1-2-r states:

"When a team is in scrimmage kick formation, a defensive player may not initiate contact with the snapper until one second has elapsed after the snap."

How do we interpret this? The mechanics manual (section 3.2.13) says:

"This foul can only occur when it is reasonably obvious that a scrimmage kick will be made. In other words, only on field goal and PAT attempts, or when a team lines up in a punting formation on 4th down. Don't be picky about the one second interval. If the snapper is upright before the one second has elapsed then permit contact, but if he takes longer to recover then allow him more protection. Don't call a foul if a defensive player contacts the snapper after being blocked by an adjacent offensive lineman. Disqualify any player who attempts to punish by contact to the snapper's helmet or spears using the defender's own helmet."

Jim Briggs


From last week Play: A's ball, 2nd and 11, on B's 14. A32 fumbles on B's 4. While the ball is rolling in B's end zone, A51 pushes B90 in the back in an attempt to recover the ball. An inadvertent whistle is blown prior to the ball rolling over the end line.

Ruling: A's ball, 3rd and 1, on B's 4. The clock starts on the ready for play. Rule 9-1-2-d-3 states that this block is legal when attempting to catch or recover a fumble. Rule 9-3-3-c-3 restricts the block to above the waist. An inadvertent whistle was blown while the ball was loose. Team A has the option to take the ball where possession was lost or to replay the down. If they elect to replay the down, it would be A's ball, 2nd and goal, on B's 14. (CCA00132)
New this week A's ball, 4th and 3, on A's 40. Team A lines up in a scrimmage kick formation. A83 is the snapper and touches the ball or simulates touching the ball. There are six linemen to the left of A83 and one lineman, A37, to the far right of A83. No Team A linemen are numbered 50-79. A37 shifts to the backfield prior to the snap leaving A83 on the end of the line. A83 catches QB A18's legal forward pass on B's 44 while grounded.