BAFRA Members’ Handbook – Game day administration

Game day administration

Why do we have game day paperwork?

Some paperwork is inevitable in any organisation. It allows the operation to function smoothly. In the case of American Football it serves three purposes:

  1. it ensures that officials get paid properly,
  2. it ensures that standards of discipline and game management are maintained, and
  3. it allows meritorious performance by officials and teams to be rewarded.

Who is responsible for game day paperwork?

Normally the Referee on a crew will fill in most of the paperwork, but another member of the crew can do it if he/she is willing. The Line Judge will normally do the Field Audit. The Umpire will normally do the Game Management Audit (where required). At the end of the day though, it is the Referee who we will chase if the paperwork is incomplete or not in on time.

For which games does the paperwork have to be completed?

All games, including friendlies, youth games, flag games, passball games, etc.

What is the difference between a game and a scrimmage?

Regardless of what a team calls it, BAFRA’s definition of a game is any American football played between two teams, and our definition of a scrimmage is where only one team is involved. We do not charge fees for attending scrimmages so no paperwork needs to be completed. The team is entirely responsible for the event, including providing whatever medical cover they feel they need. If two teams want to have a “controlled scrimmage” then charge them the appropriate fee for a game and complete the relevant paperwork. The mandatory level of safety cover (including medical facilities) must be met, even if the rules are modified.

How do I know what to charge a team?

In the “Annex to BAFRA’s Terms and Conditions” there is a table of charges according to each game’s category and league. Another table also lists the maximum number of officials that the team has to for. An explanation of the category code system is given in the Rulebook.

Can I change the Terms and Conditions for a particular game?

No, they form part of a contract between you, BAFRA and the teams. If you have any doubt about any aspect of the Terms and Conditions or how to interpret them in a particular situation, contact the Directors of Finance or Operations for advice.

Who is responsible for knowing that a team is not in Category A?

By decision of the Directors, the Referee is responsible. In a test case in 1991 where a crew accepted cheques that subsequently bounced from a Category B team, it was decided that BAFRA would not recompense even those members of the crew who did not receive Newsflash.

What do we do if we are not paid our match fees?

If you are not paid your match fee (and/or allowed travel expenses, if applicable) in full, you must:

  1. Make an incident report
  2. Complete a “Crew Request for Payment” form

Both forms can be submitted online and/or on paper. This procedure applies also if the game is called off at short notice and the crew is entitled to payment.

What do we do if a team doesn’t pay the administration fee?

Report it as an incident. There is no need to make a “Crew Request for Payment” unless you have not been paid.

How are travel expenses paid?

BAFRA will pay the officials their travelling expenses, the cost being recouped from the administration fee. The “Annex to BAFRA’s Terms and Conditions” lays out what officials can claim for. This system makes it fairer for teams (evey team in the league pays the same amount) and also makes it easier for them to plan their budgets (they will know in advance the maximum that they have to pay on the day to the officials).

Expenses will be paid according to the figure given on the Game Report form. Cheques will normally be sent out four times a year, but the contact the Director of Finance if you have reason to be refunded quicker. Note that officials are expected to maintain the same high standards of accuracy and fairness in claiming expenses from BAFRA, as has been the case in the past from claiming from teams.

Where more than two officials on a crew are claiming travelling expenses, a note of explanation must be provided.

What paperwork has to be completed before the game?

All the gameday paperwork is available online.

The Referee has to fill in the match and crew details on the Coach’s Card and hand one to each team’s Head Coach. As well as serving as part of our assessment system, the Coach’s Card serves to meet a BAFA requirement that both teams should be notified in writing of the names and registration numbers of the officials before the game.

You will also need to get the signatures of the senior game management representative and both Head Coaches on the Crew Report Form before the game can start. The game management signature is to confirm that the standard of medical cover meets the minimum set by rule. The coaches’ signatures are to confirm that their team is properly equipped according to rule. Don’t start the game without all three signatures.

Game management must also be provided with an Invoice listing the crew and their fees.

What should I do if the game manager signs to say that the medical provision is met, but there is no ambulance, doctor or paramedic in sight?

Talk to the game manager and find out what is going on. His signature only protects you from responsibility provided you act reasonably. You might be held negligent in law if you were to proceed when a “reasonable person” would be expected to realise that the manager’s confirmation was clearly false. Your first responsibility is always to safety and no amount of signatures will protect you if you disregard that.

How can I avoid a coach giving marks to non-existent officials on the coaches’ card?

If you are working a less-than-7 man crew, put a cross in the grade column against the missing officials. This prevents the coach from assessing non-existent officials (this is an example of preventative form filling).

Do I have to put a stamp on the card?

No, when you hand the card to the coach, encourage him to complete it and thank him for his help. You can offer to save him the cost of a stamp by collecting it back from him at the end of the game. If you get it back simply include it in the envelope with your match report.

What is the purpose of the team roster forms?

Roster forms identify the personnel representing each team – the roster is normally the only way of finding out someone’s name if they are disqualified or reported for some other reason. Players who are suspended or under appeal must be included on the form and so marked. A suspended player who is not on the form is not considered as having served his suspension.

Who is responsible for providing the roster form and what do I do if the team doesn’t have one?

The leagues are expected to send a stock of forms to each team. If all else fails and neither the team, their opponents, nor you has a spare form, ask the coach to write out the names and numbers of his players and sideline staff on a plain sheet of paper.

Can a game start without roster forms being submitted?

No, under no circumstances may a game commence without the roster forms being provided. Note that if the kick-off is delayed while waiting for a team to provide its form, it is the team that is responsible and they should be penalised under Rule 3-4-1a. It is not Game Managemenet’s reponsibility under Rule 3-4-1b. If a team refuses to supply a roster, the game must be cancelled.

What do I do if a player who I know is suspended is not marked as suspended on the roster form?

Talk to the coach. He may simply have forgotten to mark the player correctly. However, if he says that the player is entitled to play, show the coach the edition of Newsflash that lists the suspension and stress to him that it is the accepted journal of disciplinary actions. You should take all reasonable steps to talk the coach out of playing the player, but if the player plays, allow him to play (i.e. don’t eject him on the first play) and report it as a misconduct incident. Note on the Incident Report what you said to the coach.

Similar provisions would apply if a coach or someone else were banned from the sideline.

What should I do if I find a player or sideline person not named on the roster form?

Up to kick-off time allow the coach to correct his form. However if, for example, a player turns up late and was not named on the form, don’t allow him on the field until the form is updated. If he gets on without your knowledge and participates in a play, he must be disqualified under Rule 9-1-4c as soon as he is discovered. Note, you will still have find out his name so that you can report his ejection. If someone is in the team area without being named on the roster ask game management (or the coach of the team concerned) to remove them. If they refuse, report them. Make every attempt to identify the miscreant, so that appropriate action can be taken.

What role do I play in administering card checks?

You must find out whether or not a card check has taken place before the kick-off and tick the box on the Crew Report if it has. That is the extent of your responsibility. If a team complains about an opposing player, ask them to give you the details in writing before the end of the game and then include it with your incident report.

Who is responsible for completing the Crew Report Form?

The whole crew is responsible, although the Referee may hold the pen! All officials are responsible for recording the fouls they call, and all members of the crew should participate in the grading of each other’s performance and in the determination of the marks for the coach and players’ attitude according to the 5-point scale. Also grade the chain crew and game management in the same way. If you are excluded from this process, complain to the Director of Training.

Why do we do a penalty survey?

BAFRA is not currently conducting a penalty survey, though we may re-introduce it in the future.

How do we measure the duration of the game?

Fill in the kick-off time and the end of game time (after overtime, if played). The duration is then the difference between these two, including the half-time interval and all other stoppages.

What do the marks for crew assessment mean?

  1. Unsatisfactory game, two or more major mistakes.
  2. Poor game, major mistake – inadvertant whistle, wrong number of downs, serious mechanics failing (e.g. wing official not moving to goal line) or failing to detect illegal participation.
  3. Satisfactory game, no major mistakes but consistent minor mistakes or consistently failed to follow mechanics manual (e.g. wing official lining up in-bounds or Umpire not trying to get to neutral zone on a pass, unsatisfactory appearance).
  4. Good game, no major mistakes and followed the mechanics manual (“normal” mark).
  5. Excellent, official did something out of the ordinary, must be explained, not more than once or twice a season.

Under what circumstances should an Incident Report be made?

You should complete an Incident Report form if one or more of the following has occurred:

  1. Anyone was disqualified from the game.
  2. Any allegations were made that an unregistered or suspended person participated.
  3. Any of the mandatory game management requirements were breached.
  4. Any required payment was not made.
  5. Any serious incident occurred.

What do I do if a player is disqualified but his coach has not been informed?

If an official ejects a player for a foul, the head coach of his team must be informed, normally at the time of ejection. Very rarely, if circumstances do not permit, then the coach should be informed after the game but before the officials leave the ground. If by some chance you have to leave the ground without informing the coach, contact the Director of Operations when you get home from the game and will pass the message on.

What if we eject a player, but on second thoughts we think that he does not deserve to be suspended?

This should be a very rare occurrence – if it happens it probably means that you are too quick to eject people in the first place – but nevertheless may be justified. Say nothing to the team, but contact the Director of Operations as soon as possible.

What constitutes a fight (E-code FGT)?

Any time a player is disqualified for infringing Rule 9-5-1.

Exactly what game management breaches do I have to report?

Two things:

  1. First you need to report any breach of a mandatory requirement. The REPORT section of each appropriate rule article lists the things that must be reported and these are summarised in the Rulebook. Rules 1 and 13 state what precisely is required or mandatory and what is merely recommended or permitted. For example, field numbers are not mandatory (Rule 1-2-1j) so you do not need to report it if they are missing, but nine-yard lines are mandatory (Rule 1-2-1m) in absence of numbers. Note in particular that coaching lines and team areas are mandatory. You should always report their absence.
  2. Secondly, should should report any information which you think would be useful to the next crew to visit that venue. If in doubt as to what to report ask yourself whether or not you would have wanted to know that information before you arrived at the game. When in doubt, make a report.

What guidelines are there as to what constitutes “misconduct”?

Any incidents that occur before, during or after the game that could be said to “bring the game into disrepute” are defined as “misconduct”. Simply being disqualified should not normally be considered “misconduct”, though extreme actions taken by a player after he has been disqualified might. A coach who contravenes the “Football Code”, particularly the parts about coaching ethics may need to be reported. If in doubt, submit a report but talk to the President about it as soon as possible.

Under what circumstances should I abandon the game due to things getting out of hand?

There is no easy answer to this question – the best we can do is offer some guidelines:

  1. Strive at all times to be fair. You must ensure that a team cannot engineer an abandonment to their advantage. You must ensure that you have exhausted all the procedures and penalties that the rules give you before giving up. You must ensure that when it is individuals (whether they be players, coaches or anyone else associated with a team) who misbehaves it is they who are identified and punished and not the team collectively.
  2. As Referee, always consult the rest of your crew before making a decision to abandon. While the final decision rests with you, they may be able to offer moderating perspectives that you have missed in the heat of the moment.
  3. Don’t rush the decision. Give the players time to calm down. Give the coaches time to talk to their players. Once that time has elapsed, abandoning the game may no longer seem the only option open.
  4. Never threat to abandon a game. The threat will be used against you.
  5. If you do decide to abandon a game, as well as reporting it online, ring the Director of Operations directly and send him an additional copy of your Incident Report.
  6. If you consider the cause to be of a “serious nature”, report it to the President and the General Secretary by email and/or phone as soon as possible.

What do I do if a team asks me to report something?

This might include a breach of league regulations or some more general complaint. If you are asked to report something, report it, but it is entirely in order for you to ask a team to write down exactly what they want you to report. We will simply pass the information along to the appropriate league authority to deal with

Under what circumstances does an Incident Report need to be posted and reported online?

All Incident Reports must be both posted and recorded online.

How do I make an Incident Report online?

A link to the appropriate forms can be found here.

Are there any special circumstances in which I should also contact the Director of Operations?

Yes, he needs to know if any of the following occurs:

  • A game is abandoned
  • A charge of bringing the game into disrepute may be brought
  • A coach has not been informed of an ejection
  • You want to recommend that an disqualified player should not be suspended
  • Anything unusually newsworthy happens

The Director of Operations’s phone number can be found here.

Who do I post the paperwork to?

As soon as possible after the game, post all the paperwork to:

89 Smithfield Road
ST14 7LD

Make sure that you include all of the following:

  • Game Report form
  • Incident Report form (where necessary)
  • Coaches Report cards (if returned to you)
  • Cheque for Administration fee (unless not applicable)
  • Crew Request for Payment form (if you weren’t fully paid)

Please put a FIRST CLASS stamp on the envelope and post it by Monday morning. Reports need to reach us by Thursday at the very latest. Delays will also hold up expense payments. Action (up to and including suspension) will be taken against officials who are persistently late in sending in reports.

What do I do with the roster forms?

Keep them for at least seven days in case a player appeals and we need to confirm his identity. After seven days, you may dispose of the forms.

What should I do if I don’t receive Newsflash?

BAFRA Newsflash should reach everyone by email by Wednesday each week during the season (later if you receive it by post). If it has not arrived before your next game, it is your responsibility to check the website or contact someone else to find out what news might apply to your game. If Newsflash is persistently late, or does not arrive at all, contact the General Secretary.

What do I do if I run out of forms?

Most of the BAFRA gameday forms are available online. The exception is the Coach’s Card, which is a postcard. Contact the Director of Training for stocks of this.