Earlier this month nineteen teams asked BAFA to hold an EGM to discuss multiple issues ranging from the implementation of International players to when the Uniball All-Stars game should be held.
BAFA responded by saying an EGM wasn’t to take place but on a Sportank live stream Steve Rains, Head Coach of the Solent Thrashers & Bournemouth Uni Bobcats informed us that a meeting would be held on the 4th of August to discuss the resolutions put forward by those nineteen teams.
In the time that has passed between the live stream and now six other teams have joined with the initial nineteen in order to get their voices heard by BAFA, the updated list now comprises of 3 Premier Seniorball sides, NWFL teams U16’s & U19’s:
Solent Thrashers, Solent Seahawks Academy, Doncaster Mustangs, Hertfordshire Cheetahs, Salisbury Marauders, Aberdeen Roughnecks, Colchester Gladiators, Bristol Apache, Bournemouth Bobcats, Gateshead Senators Academy, AAFA, Birmingham Bulls, Cornwall Monarchs, Humber Warhawks, Leicester Falcons, Crewe Railroaders, Sussex Thunder, Oxford Saints, Portsmouth Dreadnoughts, Berkshire Renegades, Sandwell Steelers Peterborough Royals, Rugby Rhinos, Edinburgh Wolves & Poole Dolphins.
Along with the new teams joining in sponsoring the meeting with BAFA, the coalition has also added new resolutions to be put to BAFA on the 4th:
Resolution 1 Domestic American Football League Competition shall be prioritised by the Board and its Competition Management above any other objective of the Association. This must include a Post/Preseason mandatory attendance meeting to give the clubs a voice on issues of concern and agree the alignments, deadlines and structures for the next season. This meeting should also do all possible groundwork for the following season’s schedule.
Resolution 2 The League structure and schedule shall be determined and published to all member clubs no later than 1st December in the year preceding the year of competition. Failure to achieve this shall result in the Board dismissing the Competition Manager and taking such steps to ensure the structure and schedule is issued by the 1st January. The first step in schedule setting after the league meeting will be a discussion with BAFRA on crew availability – no self-officiating should be scheduled, its use should be solely as a backup resource.
Resolution 3 The available weeks for League Competition shall be extended and maintained at a minimum of 16 weeks (April to July) and the Coaches Convention shall be moved to coincide with the BAFRA Convention in the first week of April. This will leave one weekend for National Team activities which will otherwise take place on Friday/Saturday of a competition weekend. This will allow for a sufficient spread of fixtures to enable player recovery and the availability of Officials crews at all levels.
Resolution 4 Now that BUCS players are no longer registered through BAFA the registration year shall be altered back to April to March. This will allow pre-season training to be covered by the preceding year’s membership removing the risk of unregistered training. Between January and March each year there will be a £10 Pre-season category of membership to cover newcomers and those unregistered returning to the sport – this is particularly important as the current 3 free sessions for newcomers is clearly out of step with BAFCA training (no kit until session 5) .
Once the new season starts these members will need to convert to full membership by paying the full membership fee. To bridge the gap 2022 membership shall be extended to 31st March 2023. The introduction of part-year registration fees (covering insurance fees and a reduced BAFA profit element) this is to encourage more in-season recruitment past the season midway point in all codes Adult, U16,U19 and Womens
Resolution 5 The Association is instructed to negotiate a new Insurance Policy that does not require UK residency (as we had previously) which will allow teams to have imported players – putting us on an equal footing with European Leagues. Each team should then be restricted to a maximum of 5 North American/Mexican imports. The League will no longer have a strict amateur status.
Resolution 6 The Red and Yellow card punishment process for forfeited games which was withdrawn without consultation in 2022 shall be reinstated. This will return integrity to the league and protect paying club members from rogue clubs. This rule should be extended to the Women’s League to prevent clubs choosing to play one tournament game and forfeit the other
Resolution 7 BAFA will not sanction the BUCS All-Star game on a BAFA League competition weekend but will instead request that it is held on a Wednesday just as the BUCS Finals are. This change is essential to avoid the dangerous precedent set by BAFA this year where they sanctioned players to play 2 full contact games in 24 hours contrary to the IFAF standard of at least 2 clear rest days between games.
Resolution 8 The arbitrary change to the Youth, Junior and D2 play-off qualification should be reversed as the now extremely limited opportunities are causing clubs issues if an early loss indicates the end of any post-season hope.
Resolution 9 The long-term BAFA plan needs to address the Associations planned support and interventions for clubs in the short-sided codes – U19 and Womens – to get them back to an 11v11 League competition. Its recognised there is no quick fix to this – but there must be a plan. Our NP sides are at a significant disadvantage and this needs to be addressed