BAFRA Newsflash

Issue: 25/14

27th June 2014


For the third year running, BAFRA members have voted Cancer Research UK as their charity for this year. This coming weekend, all crews are requested to donate all or some of their game fees to this worthy cause. Donations may be sent with the game day paperwork or, for pre-paid teams, a note regarding donations may be made on the electronic “Crew Request for Payment Form”. If you don’t have a game this weekend but still wish to donate, please send your donation to me (address in the member’s section of the website).

All donations, large or small, are welcomed. In the past two years we have raised over £1200 for this worthy cause – let’s see if we can do even better this year.

Paul Sutton


In previous years BAFRA has supplied officials for the Chain Crew for these games (eight officials at each game). I am pleased to report that we have been asked by the NFL Vice President Operations to provide Chain Crews for all three games this year.

The games are as follows:

Please note the earlier start time for the game on 26th October although accommodation near the stadium is provided for all chain crews members at every game.

Expressions of Interest to be part of the Chain Crews for these games are now invited from all eligible officials. All BAFRA members who have either never worked on a Wembley NFL Chain Crew, or have only done it on one occasion are welcome to apply. Please clearly state for which games you will be available as we ideally want to schedule officials for two games in a row to ensure crew continuity. The criteria for selecting officials is explained in the members area of the website and I would encourage all eligible officials to consider applying although we are usually heavily over-subscribed.

If you require further information please contact me directly for an informal discussion.

The closing date to inform me of your interest will be Friday 18th July 2014. Please submit all requests to be considered to me, you will receive a reply from me acknowledging your expression of interest. If you do not receive a reply then contact me to ensure your application has been received.

Richard Vernon


The next Elite training clinic will be held at the Ramada Encore Milton Keynes ( on Saturday 26th July 2014. All BAFRA members are welcome to attend and all Elite programme members are expected to attend. Numbers are limited so please register by emailing me.

Ben Griffiths



Some junior teams are playing their 8-on-8 games on full-width fields, which rather changes the game (the sideline on a properly marked field should act as two extra defenders when it comes to sweep runs and out passes; if it's not where it should be, the offense has a space advantage). However, some teams are marking a second sideline on each side of their normal field in order to meet the rules.

To make it slightly easier for those teams (and to encourage others to do so), we want to make it clear that the inner (8-on-8) sideline doesn't have to have its own hash marks, provided the outer (11-on-11) one does. Our reasoning for this is that anyone (official, player, coach or chain crew) looking across the field can line up on at least three hash marks, even if the fourth one is behind them. Not having hash marks on the 8-on-8 sideline is therefore NOT a reason to abandon the game.

Jim Briggs


A BAFA Disciplinary Committee has found Portsmouth Dreadnoughts and three of its associated personnel guilty of charges under the BAFA Disciplinary Code. Three of the charges related to the Dreadnoughts using unregistered personnel in coaching and game management positions at games earlier this season. The fourth related to them permitting someone to participate in club activities while banned for safeguarding reasons. The club has been fined a total of £375 and suspended from competition for the rest of the season (4 games).

In addition, Phil Marter (the club welfare officer and the current head coach) has been suspended totally for 6 months (with a further 6 months deferred) for his part in breaching the BAFA welfare/safeguarding policy.

The other two defendants are not currently registered with BAFA. One, who acted as a coach without registration, will have to pay a fine of £100 before being eligible for registration. The other, who is banned for safeguarding reasons, will not be considered for registration for 3 years.

The parties have 28 days to appeal, but the Dreadnoughts must appeal at least 14 days in advance of a game for that part of the penalty to be stayed.

The defendants were found not guilty on three further charges.

Jim Briggs


The next Regional Training Clinic will be held on the 12th July 2014 at The Arkley Club, 64 Barnet Road, Barnet, Herts. EN5 3EY, there are no games in the South East on this weekend. Although the clinic is aimed at officials with less than 5 years experience, all BAFRA members will gain from it and are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be provided and places are limited so please register as soon as possible at

Pete Thom


Congratulations to Darren Carr on completing all of the requirements necessary to become Qualified. Thanks to Tony Newsham and all those who are helping with Darren‘s training.

Pete Thom









New this week

Adam Ledner


Bristol Aztecs



With 9:04 remaining in the 4th quarter, #93 was seen to punch an opponent in the stomach.

29/06/14 v London Warriors

Ayotunde Oshibote


London Olympians



After the play was over, the individual concerned threw punches at an opponent.

27/07/14 v Cambridgeshire Cats

Adzine Tiamou


London Warriors



After the play was over, the individual concerned threw punches at an opponent.

29/06/14 v Bristol Aztecs

Previous weeks

Stephen Morrison


Kent Exiles



Used insulting language towards an opponent in Q2, and committed a dead-ball contact foul that was obviously not part of the game action in Q3. At the conclusion of the game, player was waiting for the officials, physically blocking the tunnel leading to the changing rooms. He approached the crew in a very threatening and intimidating manner, and confronted them for a considerable amount of time.

29/06/2014 v Watford Cheetahs

Ricky Murray


Aberdeen Roughnecks



Player was ejecting for punching opponent.

28/06/14 v West Coast Trojans





New this week

London Olympians

Team areas marked to 18 yard lines. Extra point lines marked at 2 yards rather than 3 yards. Team areas marked to 18 yard lines. Extra point lines marked at 2 yards rather than 3 yards. No limit lines. Changing rooms not lockable. Multiple changes to ball persons and chain crew occurred during the game.

Peter Parsons #321

17/08/14 v Colchester Gladiators

East Kent Mavericks

Pitch had been marked out by ground staff to rugby width (approx 200 feet). Game management were able to mark sidelines and hashmarks both at sidelines and inbounds lines. No limit lines, numbers or 9-yard marks and, although there were lines marked that approximated as a coaching lines, there were no team area lines. Entire chain crew changed at half time so the second half KO was delayed.

Tim Ockendon #481

27/07/14 v Berkshire Renegades

Sheffield Predators

Further to previous reports the PAT and limit lines are still missing. On a positive note, 3 balls were supplied and the ball persons were available throughout the game. Excellent game management including the prevision of drinks, snacks and cool box for use of the officials.

Richard Whitby #136

10/08/14 v Lancashire Wolverines

South London Renegades

Field was marked to 11 v 11 dimensions rather than those for 8 v 8. The crew shortened the pitch to 80 yards by moving one end zone from the goal line to the 10 yard line. Kick off delayed by 20 minutes with the agreement of both head coaches to enable the late arrival of some South London players so that they met the minimum team size requirement. With 9 minutes 30 seconds left in the 4th quarter the Sussex head coach stated that he was too short of players and wished to forfeit the rest of the game. With South London winning at this point, the score was declared final.

Graham Hedges #219

06/07/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Gateshead Senators

Kickoff delayed by 35 minutes due to late arrival of medical cover.

Henry Richardson #25


East Kilbride Pirates

Game was played on 80yd field + 10yd endzones due to EKB having to find new pitch this week. There were no team or coaches' box lines. There were also no PAT lines. Kickoff was 15 minutes early at the request of visiting team with agreement of home team and officials.

Shawn Sombati #15

29/06/14 v Yorkshire Rams

Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Changing rooms is a martial arts room and not an actual changing room with no separate showers. One of the goal posts had been vandalised in the week and one goal post was shorter than the rest. No gaps between the hash marks and the side line. The field grass was cut very short but the cut grass had laid on the field - this had been pushed to the side lines but needed to be moved as there was about a foot of cut grass all along the side line where the chains needed to be, this was cleared before the start of the game. Game kicked of 15 minutes late because of the late arrival of the away team. Also team was asked to clear the side lines at half time because lines were becoming obscured by cut grass. Game was played in a good spirit.

David Knight #135

27/07/14 v Cornish Sharks

Outstanding items from previous weeks

London Hornets

The game was played as Farm Road recreation ground, a location with no changing rooms and one abandoned and derelict building with a barely-operational toilet. The crew were informed upon arrival that changing facilities were apparently available a short drive down the road, but since only 1 official of the 7 had a car we decided it was more practical to simply change in the shade of the trees.

Field had only one set of hashmarks right down the middle of the playing area, yard line marks were on only one side of the field. The field appeared to be marked out in combination of yards and metres, such that the chains sometimes matched the marks on the field and sometimes didn't. The chains were used for all determinations of 1st downs. The field was an apparent 100 yards long, though it was likely longer.

The goal posts were unacceptably small and so they were removed before the game with the consent of both coaches, we played a 'no posts' game.

Chains broke several times throughout the game. The home team management provided the crew with chilled energy drinks at half time, which was much appreciated.

Dean Wright #553

29/06/14 v Bury Saints

Swindon Storm

No Limit Lines. Changing room not locked.

Peter Parsons #321

29/06/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Solent Thrashers Junior

Officials turned up at the game an hour and a half prior to the scheduled kick off, only to be told by the home team that Watford had forfeited the game. Crew waited around for the following senior game to start.

David Knight #135

03/08/14 v London Blitz

Solent Thrashers

Game kicked off 20 minutes early as the previous Junior game had been cancelled and both teams and the officials were ready to play. Field markings were in white and this clashed with the Association football markings. Endzones are only 9 yards and the plane of the crossbar is approx. 1 yard into the endzones. Game played in a very good spirit and a pleasure to officiate.

David Knight #135

03/08/14 v Bristol Apache

Bournemouth Bobcats

Some patches of the field were very sandy. Chain crew and one ball boy changed at half time. Kickoff delayed 30 minutes due to late running junior game.

Jim Briggs #31

20/07/14 v Portsmouth Dreadnoughts

Yorkshire Rams

90 yard field. No nine yard marks or numbers. No team area or coaches box. No limit lines. No coat hooks in the changing room.

Dan Holt #371

10/08/14 v Nottingham Caesars

Walney Terriers

The game balls provided were still in their wrapping and were not inflated to a legal pressure. There was crash on the M6 resulting in the motorway being completely closed in both directions. Two officials were delayed for three hours and arrived shortly before half-time. The remaining three officials were slightly further back in the queue and were able to leave the motorway and were only slightly delayed. Thus the first half of the game was officiated using three-man mechanics.

Ben Griffiths #228

29/06/14 v Staffordshire Surge

Merseyside Nighthawks Juniors

Field was a shortened adult pitch and too wide. Short yard extensions iffy one side. Team areas not adjusted for shorter length. No three yard marks or numbers/9 yard marks.

James Meredith #547

19/07/14 v Lancashire Wolverines Colts

Staffordshire Surge

Changing room hardly big enough for two let alone four officials. Waited for the teams to go on to the field before using their changing areas. One ballboy provided, and three changes during game.

Mike Cavangh #465

10/08/14 v Crewe Railroaders

Tamworth Phoenix

The pitch at Tamworth was only 80 yards

Muz Gibson #268

29/06/14 v Birmingham Bulls

Lincolnshire Bombers

Only one set of goal posts were available so the game was played with both teams attacking the one set of posts when their offences were on the field.

Muz Gibson #268

17/08/14 v Sandwell Steelers

South Wales Warriors

With 8:40 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the game was suspended for 40 minutes due to lightning.

Amir Brooks #593

29/06/14 v Cambridgeshire Cats

London Warriors

By consent of the Head Coaches and the Referee the 2nd half was shortened

Keith Wickham #423

29/06/14 v Bristol Aztecs

Cornish Sharks

The field was mown after it had been marked and there was not enough paint to re-mark the field completely. The 5-yard lines were not painted but hashes were there. There were nor markings for the team areas for similar reasons.

Julian Mallia #336

29/06/14 v Solent Thrashers

Farnham Knights Junior

Field was 90 yards long (shortened to 80 by moving one of the goal lines) and full width. Officials were unable to shorten the width of the pitch, therefore the 8-on-8 game was played on the full-width field.

Dean Wright #553

29/06/14 v Bournemouth Bobcats

Merseyside Nighthawks

Changing room was too small and we were unable to use it before the game due to rugby officials using it too.

Dan Holt #371

27/07/14 v Manchester Titans

Essex Spartans

Chain crew changed at half time, several delays for injured players during the game with one of them lasting for just over 5 minutes.

Phil Clarke #262

19/07/14 v Kent Exiles



New this week

Play: 4th and 4 on the Team B 10 yard line, Team A attempt a field goal. During the attempt, which is good, B90 charges forwards and roughs holder A5. What are team A's penalty enforcement options?

Last week

Play: 4th and 8 from Team A’s 37-yard line. Team A line up to punt. B80 catches the ball and runs it back to the Team B 32 yeard line where he is legally tackled by A76. B80's helmet comes off in the tackle. Team B have no team timeouts remaining and as such B80 must leave the field for one play. The field has visible 25/40 second play clocks; should the play clock be set to 25 or 40 seconds?

This was Q27 on this year's BAFRA exam.

Ruling: If a player's helmet comes completely off through play with one minute or more remaining in either half, the play clock will be set at 25 seconds if the player is on offense and at 40 seconds if the player is on defense. The game clock will start with the referee's signal (3-3-9-b-1). The offensive team is the team in possession, or the team to which the ball belongs; the defensive team in the opposing team (2-27-2). Therefore B80 is on the offensive team, since he has the ball, and as such the play clock should be set to 25 seconds.


New this week

Game Situation: How should the officials efficiently change ends at the end of the first and third periods after the Referee has signaled the end of the period?
Answer next issue...

Last week

Play: 4th and 7 from Team A’s 15-yard line near the end of the 1st quarter. Team A line up to punt facing a very strong headwind blowing straight down the field with punter A8 standing on the Team A goal line. Snapper A55’s long snap is wayward and the ball bounces along the ground and rolls into the end zone where it stops. How should the wing officials react to ensure that the potential kicker A8 is covered?

This was Q42 on this year's BAFRA exam.
Answer: When the ball is loose in the backfield, wing officials should assist the Referee by observing actions against the kicker, especially when the ball is on the opposite side of the field (MM 11-7-d-1-d & MM 13-7-d-1-d ). Although technically there is no kicker until the ball is kicked (2-27-3-a), this mechanic applies to any player who was lined up as a kicker and is likely to try to recover the ball with the intent to kick it.




Contact for details


July 12th (Sat)

BAFRA London Region Development Clinic

July 19th (Sat)

BAFRA Board Meeting

July 26th (Sat)

BAFRA Elite Training Day

Ben Griffiths

September 14th (Sun)

BAFA Senior Finals

September 20th (Sat)

BAFA Junior Final

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: