BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 03/14

23rd January 2014


Work on the 2014 edition of the Manual of Football Officiating is progressing well and we are looking for a group of people to proof-read it.

If you would be willing to proof read some sections, please let me know. The more people who volunteer, the less each person needs to do. You don't have to be a mechanics expert to do this - just able to spot spelling and grammar errors and to spot inconsistencies between different sections. However, it is a good way to learn the mechanics at a very detailed level, so even rookie officials would be able to do it. Full instructions are provided.

Jim Briggs


I would like to thank the Highland Academy Community League and members of staff ably led by Robbie Pauli, for the warm and eager welcome I received from them recently. The development of sports officials to cover all American football games in the UK has been high on the agenda for the British American Football Referee Association and the British American Football Association for a number of years, and it is with great pleasure that I arrived in Inverness and was privileged to spend the day with keen eager members of the Highland Academy Community League in their quest to drive the game on in the local area.

Sports officials from all sports are key to the smooth running of the game, though they are not often seen in the best light. So I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out for the day's training and greatly encouraged by the number of young people who took part. The level of knowledge and eagerness to learn what is a complicated and involved set of rules (and mechanics) made the day great fun. The questions and discussions showed a level of commitment, knowledge and desire to make the HACL a great success. Thirteen members took part in a rules clinic as well as an on field mechanics session with players from the HACL, followed by a review of the day and a competency exam of which they all passed with flying colours. I hope that they consider taking their officiating career further as they will be a great asset to the sport.

I greatly believe that the additional skills that where learned on the day will make the upcoming season a great success. The development of young players as well as young officials is crucial to the long term growth of the game, as well as the development and life skills that both paths can give to young people in their non sporting lives. I am certain that it is in good hands in Inverness and look forward to my next visit to the Highlands of Scotland.

Martin Cockerill










New this week

Brook Da Costa


Kingston Cougars



At the end of a play during which Kingston #69 had already been flagged for a Personal Foul, the player squared up to an opponent and struck him in the face.

26/01/14 v Imperial Immortals

Previous weeks

Luke Passey


Reading Knights



After a play the player became involved in an altercation with an opponent during which punches were thrown.

26/01/14 v Brighton Tsunami

James Pickering


Oxford Lancers



After a play the player became involved in an altercation with an opponent during which punches were thrown.

02/02/14 v OBU Panthers

Connor Bibby


Leeds Carnegie



After a play had finished, head butted an opponent.

02/02/14 v Leeds Celtics

Dylan Hibbert


BNU Bucanneers



With 7.02 remaining in the 4th quarter, player taunted and then struck an opponent.

26/01/14 v Cambridge Pythons

Josh Smithies


Canterbury Chargers



With 7.02 remaining in the 4th quarter, player struck an opponent who was taunting.

02/02/14 v Kent Falcons

Simon Thomas


Canterbury Chargers



With 7.02 remaining in the 4th quarter, player struck an opponent who had previously taunted his team mate.

02/02/14 v Kent Falcons





New this week

Brunel Burners

Field markings were red and quite difficult to see from one side of the field as the sun went down. Changing rooms are very nice, but located a very long way from the field.

Dean Wright #553

09/02/14 v City Sentinels

Bournemouth University Bobcats

The team should be commended for getting this game to go ahead after weather caused a waterlogged field the team arranged for the game to be moved from Bournemouth to Portsmouth. Field still has some marking issues with double painted lines and hash marks not always being a yard apart. Field is also marked with NFL hash marks.

David Knight #135


Outstanding items from previous weeks

Exeter Titans

Both teams normally wear green jerseys. Teams had foresight to discuss this beforehand and Exeter (home team) sourced a mixture of blue & black jerseys which did not cause any problems for officials nor opponents. KO was also delayed by 45mins due to Swansea's bus breaking-down. Luckily, due to the game being played in one of the southern-most venues in the UK, the game was completed without needing to shorten quarters.

Simon Ryan #408

26/01/14 v Tarannau Aberystwyth

Tarannau Aberystwyth

Only two game balls were provided by the home team - the third ball was provided by the away team.

Amir Brooks #593

23/02/14 v Bath Spa Bulldogs

Nottingham Outlaws

Upon arrival the end lines were very close to the surrounding fence with insufficient run-off area, so soccer end lines were used as the end line. This gave 7 yard end zones but with sufficient run-off area. The field was marked in red (except for the soccer goal line which was marked in white). There were no short yard-line extensions at the hash marks and the hash marks were less than 24 inches long. No numbers or nine-yard marks. No limit lines, coaching line or team area markings.

There were no goals, both coaches agreed to play without goals. The chains broke on at least three occasions. The officials changing rooms were ideal except the ambulance crew had to use the officials changing room as a treatment area. The changing rooms were not secure. The crew were not paid and should have been.

Ben Griffiths #228

31/01/14 v NTU Renegades

Bangor Muddogs

After inspecting the field, game management where asked to fill in divots in the middle of the field with sand. Other than this the markings on the 100yd field where in place, including numbering. The space for the team area opposite the pressbox side is inadequate - at it's maximum approximately 6 yds deep. The team occupying this area was asked to spread outside of the team area along the sideline to allow for the chains to be positioned and a clear sideline maintained.

One of the stakes on the chains had a missing extension pole so this was taken from the down box, the down box was held by the operator in the air.

By half time the field had deteriorated significantly and after a conference with both coaches it was decided to reduce the length of the field to 80 yds and not utilise the area between each 40 yd line.

Plaudits to both teams for competing in the conditions and playing the game in good spirit! The crew have suggested that the field conditions could be described as 'squidgy'

Kevin Stanton #157

23/02/14 v MMU Eagles

York Centurions

All markings in red, but the 5, 10 and End Zone lines well marked. The following lines were missing: 9 yards marks or numbers, 3 yard mark for PAT's, coaching or team areas.

Chris Jarvis #10

09/02/14 v Huddersfield Hawks

Southampton Stags

Team area line not quite 12ft from sideline. Goals tied to fence at each end but were well padded.

Jim Briggs #31

09/02/14 v Sussex Saxons

Canterbury Chargers

Played at Aylesham Welfare Leisure Centre. Football markings in blue with rugby markings in white. No team areas or limit lines and inbounds lines at NFL distance. No coaching line or 9-yard marks but there were rugby markings at approximately the correct positions that were able to serve.

Tim Ockendon #481

09/02/14 v ARU Rhinos

Coventry Jets

Coventry played in a mixture of different blue shirts as both teams normally wear white. 80 yard field with markings in various colours and team areas marked to 15 yard lines. Down box did not arrive until a few minutes into first quarter, an improvised box was fashioned and used until then.

Jed Brookes-Lewis #395

09/02/14 v Lincoln Colonials

Edinburgh Napier

Game suspended at half time with the score at Edinburgh 0 Stirling 55. The game started game with a crew of 3 officials, however after the end of the first half one of the 3 officials was unable to continue due to a leg injury. Both coaches were advised and the game was ended.

David Parsons #425

02/02/14 v Edinburgh Predators

Gloucester Gladiators

Field was 80 yards long, nicely marked but no 9 yard marks and no coaches boxes.

Balls were not new or nearly new.

Mike LeFevre #341

02/02/14 v Swansea Titans

MMU Eagles

This was the second game of a double header. The main issue was regards the provision of 5yard lines which where not present when the crew arrived for the first game. MMU Eagles game management were advised of the issues arising from the first game to ensure they understand and can rectify for future games.

Kevin Stanton #157

26/01/14 v Lancashire

Reading Knights

Well-marked 100 yard field as usual. Changing room very large but very grubby - as usual.

Dean Wright #553

02/02/14 v Portsmouth Destroyers

Portsmouth Destroyers

The field had been originally marked in red at the beginning of the season which has become very faded. The field had therefore been remarked also in red, however, the new markings did not line up with the previous markings. This gave a couple of problems - on one side line the old and newly marked hashmarks were about 4 inches out from each other causes double marked hashmarks. Also the new goal line at one end was marked 1 yard short of the old (faded) goal line. On measuring, the new goal line was 9 yards from the 10 yard line so the old (faded) goal line was used as the goal line for the

David Knight #135

26/01/14 v OBU Panthers

Durham Saints

No coaches box/team area. No limit lines. Both coaches agreed to end the game after the 3rd quarter, with the score 49 to 7, after a 45 minute delay due to a terrible injury. Plaudits to the coaches and linemen from both teams for moving the car that was blocking the emergency exit and in doing so stopping the ambulances from accessing the field.

Dan Holt #371

02/02/14 v Newcastle Raiders

Sheffield Sabres

80 yard field. Field markings were in red, and there were also rugby pitch markings in red. No team area or coaches box marked, although the edge of the field gave a natural line for the players to stay behind approx 12 feet out of bounds. Chain crew were initially slow, and appeared to get slower as the game progressed.

John Roberts #145

01/02/14 v Sheffield Hallam

Sussex Lancers

Sussex are sharing Brighton Tsunami's home field this season. Well marked out field, though no coaching box or team area markings: cones were used instead. Goals right up against perimeter fence. Changing rooms were the usual portable ones and this week they remained unlocked. Chain crew were a bit poor. Ball persons changed at half time.

Jim Briggs #31

02/02/14 v Brighton Tsunami

BNU Buccaneers

All issues from last week still present with BNU's facility. I'm told that the field will be re-marked before their next home game. Chain crew better this week, but still slow.

Alan Dobson #308

26/01/13 v Cambridge Pythons

Leeds Celtics

Ball Boys & Chain Crew only provided 15 minutes after Kick-off time. Ambulance arrived 10 minutes after kick off time. One member of chain crew changed at half-time. Field was 100 yards with 5 yard end-zones so 5 yard line was used as goal line No coaching line or team area markings.

Kevin Stanton #157

02/02/14 v Leeds Carnegie

UWS Pyros

No limit lines, no hash marks at sideline . Nfl hash marks in the centre of the field . No numbers or nine yard marks . No coaches box or team area marked

Henry Richardson #25

09/02/14 v Edinburgh Predators

Swansea Titans

80 yard field which had no 5 yard lines what-so-ever, game management was approached but immediately stated that they "had run out of paint". According to rule 1, the game should not have gone ahead but we as an officiating crew knowing how vital this game was to both teams felt that we should leave it to the league to sort out any sanctions.

Colin Edwards #76

16/02/14 v Cardiff Cobras

Manchester Tyrants

On arrival 5 yard lines were missing from field, once implications of missing lines were explained by Officials (and some further “discussion”) the 5 yard lines were marked.

No nine yard marks or numbers, no limit lines, no coaching line, no team area markings. The home team initial presented 4 balls for play. One was rejected because it was sodden. This was returned to the home team game management. During the 1st half the Sheffield head coach requested a head coaches conference and claimed one of the game balls was sodden. Upon inspection this was found to be the case (the originally rejected ball had found it's way back into circulation). The home team had no further suitable game balls so the visitors (Sheffield) provided a third ball which was used for the remainder of the game. The official changing room was only available approximately 45 minutes prior to kick-off.

Ben Griffiths #228

02/02/14 v MMU Eagles

Imperial Immortals

Imperial's field markings have not improved from those described in Newsflash 42/13, namely: "90-yard field marked out in fluorescent yellow with rugby markings in white. No numbers or 9-yard marks, PAT line marked at 2-yard line, main lines every 10 yards, inbounds lines in correct position but too short, hashmarks too short and only down one sideline." There were also no coaching or team areas, and one change to the chain crew at half time.

Peter Parsons #321

26/01/14 v Kingston Cougars

Loughborough Aces

In a season where gaffa tape,short pitches and jumpers for goal posts are common place, plaudits to Loughborough University for providing excellent facilities and a beautifully marked pitch. Thank you.

Muz Gibson #268

16/02/14 v Worcester Royals



New this week

Play: A's ball, free kick, on A's 30 yard line. While the untouched free kick is rolling on team A's 38 yard line, A44 blocks B62 above the waist on A's 41 yard line. At about the same time, B96 blocks kicker A4 above the waist on A's 37 yard line. A96 recovers the untouched kick on A's 42 yard line. Ruling?

Last week

Play: A's ball, 4th and 12, on A's 47. During A4's punt, B55 blocks below the waist on B's 26. The untouched ball bounces on B's 6 and is batted backward after it breaks the plane of B's end zone by A22. The ball rolls out of bounds on B's 2. The ball never touches the ground in B's end zone.

Ruling: B's ball, 1st and 10, on B's 10. Team B may elect the touchback before the penalty is enforced since the illegal touching occurred in B's end zone. This option is not available when the illegal touching occurs in the field of play. Thus, the basic enforcement spot is B's 20. The spot of the foul is in advance of the basic spot. The 15-yard penalty is enforced from the basic spot.


New this week

Game Situation: 1st and 10 on the A30. A89 runs a post pattern on the Linejudge's side of the field and is held by B33 at the A40 yard line. Quarterback A13 then throws a legal forward pass to A82 on the Linesman's side of the field. A82 is downed on the A38. Ruling?
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: 4th and 12 at the A40. Punter A4 kicks the ball downfield. The ball hits the ground and is rolling around as returner B22 makes a 'get away' signal by waving both arms at waist level. The ball is rolling at the B12 when B22 races to the ball and picks it up. He runs to the A45 before he is tackled. Ruling?
Answer: B22's 'get away' signal is an invalid fair catch signal (AR-6-5-3-VI & M-3-9-1). The ball is dead where recovered by B22 at the B12 yard line. Penalise B22 for delay of game. B's ball, 1st and 10 at the team B 7 yard line.




Contact for details


February 15th (sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

April 5th (Sat) & 6th (Sun)

BAFRA Annual Convention 2014

May 10th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 19th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

November 15th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

BAFRA Directors


David Parsons

General Secretary

Paul Sutton


Andrew Lovell


Richard Vernon


James Meredith


Pete Thom

Director without Portfolio #1

Martin Cockerill

Director without Portfolio #2

Steve Tonkinson

The opinions expressed in this Newsflash are those of the contributors, and not necessarily of BAFRA or its Directors.

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Editor: Dean Wright - Email: