Results of the consultation on the BAFA Disciplinary Code

Jim Briggs, 17 November 2007

Demographics

20 people completed the survey. 90% represented personal views. South Yorkshire Mustangs and Glasgow University Tigers gave representative responses.

Only one person contributed in a relevant professional capacity (police officer).

Participants were members of the following organisations:

BAFRA (3)

Bristol Aztecs

Bristol Aztecs Youth

BYAFA

Chester Romans (2)

Doncaster/South Yorkshire Mustangs (2)

Edinburgh Wolves

Fife Fire

Glasgow Tigers

Glasgow University Tigers

Greenwich Mariners

Lancashire Wolverines BAFL

Lincolnshire Bombers

Not stated (2)

Oxford Cavaliers & Reading Renegades

How long have you been involved in American Football?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Not involved

0

0.0%

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Less than 3 years

1

5.0%

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3-5 years

0

0.0%

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6-10 years

5

25.0%

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10-15 years

4

20.0%

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16 or more years

10

50.0%

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In what way(s) are you (or have you been) involved in American Football? (Tick all that apply)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Player

16

80.0%

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Team manager / administrator

14

70.0%

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Spectator at British games

12

60.0%

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Coach

11

55.0%

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Referee / BAFRA official

4

20.0%

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Other (please specify)

2

10.0%

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Other responses: Club Chairman; Photographer

Current disciplinary processes

Does your team/organisation have disciplinary policies or procedures concerning the following (tick all that apply)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Misconduct during a game

15

75.0%

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Misconduct before/after a game

14

70.0%

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Misconduct at training (or similar events)

12

60.0%

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Unethical conduct

12

60.0%

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Discrimination

9

45.0%

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Child protection

8

40.0%

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Making inappropriate public statements

8

40.0%

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Doping

5

25.0%

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Criminal offences

2

10.0%

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Fraudulent administration

2

10.0%

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None of the above

2

10.0%

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Other (please specify)

1

5.0%

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Gambling

0

0.0%

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Ticket touting

0

0.0%

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Negligent administration

0

0.0%

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Other response: "Not having matric card, gumshield"

Which of the following punishments does your team/organisation issue? (tick all that apply)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Suspension from one or more games

15

75.0%

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Warnings about future conduct

14

70.0%

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Suspension for a fixed period of time

12

60.0%

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Monetary fines for individuals

8

40.0%

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Prohibition from being involved in the running of a team/organisation for a period of time

8

40.0%

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Suspension for life

6

30.0%

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Prohibition from being involved in the running of a team/organisation for life

3

15.0%

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Other (please specify)

2

10.0%

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Monetary fines for teams/organisations

0

0.0%

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Other responses:

         formulating at presentOther (please spec...

         committee agrees on punishment of teh individual who breaks club rules set in the club constitution

Processes

Within the sport of American football, who do you think should be responsible for enforcing discipline against a member for each of the following matters?

For each category there are four options:

         NONE: Nobody - this should not be covered by a sport's disciplinary code

         BAFA: BAFA should administer this itself

         ORGS: the accused's organisation (e.g. BAFL, BUAFL, BYAFA, BAFCA, BAFRA) should enforce this

         OTHER: Other (please specify who you think should enforce this)

%

None

BAFA

Orgs

Other

Other responses

Doping

5

80

15

 

Child protection

60

30

10

Police, N/A

Criminal offences committed by BAFA members

10

60

30

Police(6)

Extreme misconduct during a game

50

50

 

Discrimination

50

50

 

Fraudulent administration

5

50

40

5

Police

Gambling

25

50

10

15

N/A(3)

Unethical conduct by coaches

45

55

 

Unethical conduct by referees

45

55

 

Negligent administration

45

55

 

Ejections from a game

5

40

50

5

BAFRA

Unethical conduct by other personnel

40

50

10

N/A(2)

Ticket touting

30

40

20

10

N/A(2)

Misconduct before or after a game

30

70

 

Making inappropriate public statements

5

30

60

5

N/A

"Cheating" (i.e. bending rules unreasonably)

5

25

65

5

N/A

Some contributors didn't think that gambling or ticket touting applied because they are not currently relevant to British American football.

Do you think American football needs an umbrella disciplinary offence like "bringing the game into disrepute" or "conduct which is prejudicial to the interests of the game"?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Strongly Agree

9

45.0%

Agree

9

45.0%

Neutral

1

5.0%

Disagree

0

0.0%

Strongly Disagree

1

5.0%

What do you think is a reasonable length of time for a typical disciplinary case to be completed in? (Include time for the case to be made, the accused to put their side of the story, and for a judgement to be made - don't include time for appeals)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Less than one week

1

5.0%

One week

2

10.0%

Two weeks

6

30.0%

One month

7

35.0%

Three months

2

10.0%

Six months

0

0.0%

One year

0

0.0%

Other (please specify)

1

5.0%

Other response: 3 weeks

Which of the following do you think are important aspects of a disciplinary code? (tick all that apply)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

The accused should see the evidence against him/her

18

90.0%

The accused should be given the right of reply

17

85.0%

Appeals should be allowed if new evidence comes to light

16

80.0%

Disciplinary boards should be able to ask for more evidence

16

80.0%

There should be a normal time frame specified for cases

15

75.0%

Those involved in dealing with disciplinary cases should receive training

15

75.0%

BAFA should be the ultimate appeal authority for a member organisation's disciplinary processes

15

75.0%

Standards of evidence should be specified

13

65.0%

The costs of a disciplinary case should be kept to a reasonable minimum

13

65.0%

Any criminal case (e.g. assault) should be completed before a disciplinary case begins

12

60.0%

Appeals should be allowed against the severity of a punishment

11

55.0%

Only authorised people within each team/organisation should be able to make allegations

9

45.0%

People in American football should be obliged to answer questions asked by a disciplinary board

9

45.0%

The costs of a disciplinary case should be borne by the accused (if found guilty)

9

45.0%

Those involved in deciding disciplinary cases should be selected randomly (like juries)

8

40.0%

The person making an allegation should be able to appeal if the accused is found "not guilty"

8

40.0%

The accused should be told who has made the allegation against him/her

7

35.0%

Anyone found guilty of three disciplinary offences should be banned for life

5

25.0%

The accused should be declared "not guilty" if the time to administer his/her case is too long

2

10.0%

Appeals should be allowed only where the disciplinary procedures were not followed correctly

2

10.0%

Multiple appeals should be allowed

1

5.0%

How should disciplinary cases normally be dealt with?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

By correspondence or personal hearing depending on the severity of the matter

11

55.0%

By correspondence or personal hearing according to the wish of the accused

4

20.0%

By correspondence or personal hearing according to the wish of the disciplinary board

3

15.0%

Entirely by a personal hearing (e.g. accused attends a meeting of the disciplinary board)

1

5.0%

Entirely by correspondence (e.g. letter or email between the accused and the disciplinary board)

0

0.0%

How should APPEALS arising from disciplinary cases normally be dealt with?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

By correspondence or personal hearing depending on the severity of the matter

9

45.0%

By correspondence or personal hearing according to the wish of the accused

4

20.0%

Entirely by a personal hearing (e.g. accused attends a meeting of the appeal board)

3

15.0%

By correspondence or personal hearing according to the wish of the disciplinary board

3

15.0%

Entirely by correspondence (e.g. letter or email between the accused and the disciplinary board)

0

0.0%

To what extent do you believe the principles and procedures for discipline should be standardised across BAFA and its member organisations? (select one response in each row)

Principles of justice

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

17

85.0%

They should be similar but not identical

1

5.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

1

5.0%

Procedures for deciding cases

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

15

75.0%

They should be similar but not identical

3

15.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

1

5.0%

Scale of punishments

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

11

55.0%

They should be similar but not identical

7

35.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

1

5.0%

Time limits for deciding cases

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

13

65.0%

They should be similar but not identical

5

25.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

1

5.0%

Grounds for appeal

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

11

55.0%

They should be similar but not identical

6

30.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

2

10.0%

Procedures for appeals

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

They should be highly standardised

14

70.0%

They should be similar but not identical

3

15.0%

It doesn't matter if they are different

0

0.0%

I have no strong view on the matter

2

10.0%

Which of the following do you think are appropriate punishments for a sport's disciplinary processes to issue? (tick all that apply)

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

Suspension from one or more games

19

95.0%

Warnings about future conduct

18

90.0%

Suspension for a fixed period of time

17

85.0%

Suspension for life

17

85.0%

Prohibition from being involved in the running of a team/organisation for a period of time

15

75.0%

Prohibition from being involved in the running of a team/organisation for life

15

75.0%

Monetary fines

12

60.0%

Other (please specify)

0

0.0%

What do you think the maximum fine should be imposed on an INDIVIDUAL?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

None

5

25.0%

20

1

5.0%

50

2

10.0%

100

4

20.0%

500

2

10.0%

Unlimited

4

20.0%

Other (please specify)

1

5.0%

Other response: Scale of fines - dependent on severity

What do you think the maximum fine should be imposed on a TEAM/ORGANISATION?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

None

3

15.0%

20

0

0.0%

50

0

0.0%

100

2

10.0%

500

8

40.0%

Unlimited

3

15.0%

Other (please specify)

3

15.0%

Other responses:

         Scale of fines - dependent on severity

         points/win deduction

         This could depend on the steps taken by the team/organisation and those who committed the acts

What do you think is an appropriate fine for an adult player who is ejected from a game for the FIRST time in a season?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

No fine

4

20.0%

10

2

10.0%

20

9

45.0%

50

3

15.0%

100

0

0.0%

200

0

0.0%

Other (please specify)

1

5.0%

Other response: one game ban

What do you think is an appropriate fine for an adult player who is ejected from a game for the SECOND time in a season?

Result

Responses

Percentage

Graph

No fine

1

5.0%

10

0

0.0%

20

2

10.0%

50

11

55.0%

100

4

20.0%

200

0

0.0%

Other (please specify)

1

5.0%

Other response: banned for rest of season

Are there aspects of the disciplinary processes of another organisation (sporting or otherwise) that you particularly think BAFA should take heed of? (give brief details, and if possible a URL where we can find out more)

1.      BAFCA code of discipline and conduct

Finally, you can give any other views you have, or give more detail to support the points you made above.

1.      A whole of sport plan requires a unified approach to disciplinary matter sas well as everything else. Individual organisations need to take care of general behavioural and dishonesty matters. Some differences in tyeh individual codes would probably better reflect the individual organisations. For example a referee caught gambling on the outcome of a match needs to b emore heavily disciplined than a player. A coach should be held to a higher behavioural standard than a player in a dishonesty matter. Matters impacting on the safety of the sport, child protection and doping being two big ones, should come under the BAFA umbrella. No wiggle room. Out of one, out of all.

2.      Access to BAFA Rules/Regs/Constituation would be useful

3.      Any rules / regulations being brought into practice must be given to all member clubs , including those who are affliated, so that everyone is aware of how our discipline process works.

4.      I think fining players will be hard to enforce, and as we all have to pay for the privilidge to play, may act as another financial barrier to people participating

5.      I think it is vital to avoid introducing a "bringing the game into disrepute" charge. When you look at how it is used by the FA in football, no-one can say anything against the way things are without incurring that charge. This stifles change.

6.      i think it would be benifical to have a standard process across the diffenet groups (ie BYAFA, BAFL) within BAFA, that way people know teh severity of their actions would carry the same weight no matter where you are and the level you play in. Also it would make it easier for people involved within the clubs management to communicate the processes to its memebers easily.

7.      no need to specify crimes just have one charge of bringing the game into disrepute for any criminal offence (other than minor motoring offences), then the severity of the crime and circumstances can be decided by the panel (independant if possible)

8.      Re: The responsibility for discipline: Criminal offences committed by BAFA members. If BAFA are to assess a person's criminal background prior to allowing entry into the sport will this mean ALL BAFA members need to be CRB checked prior to BAFA registration? What will the cost of this be and will registration to Leagues be delayed? Who will bear the cost? Example: Should a coach who has a conviction of sexual offences against children be allowed involvement in British American Football at any level? In my opinion, the answer should be no. But without CRB checking every BAFA member (and not just those involved with under 18s) how do 'we' police this? Good Luck!

9.      The code (http://www.bafra.info/rulebook/2007/discipline.html) as it stands specifically covers conduct within and around teh game. It is concerning that the consultation makes reference to "criminal acts" potentially outside of the game and allegations that could be unsubstantiated. I am concerned by the lack of understanding of the term "child protection" and even more alarmed by the use of words such as "molestation". I have yet to see BAFA or any other governing body provide suitable training for club administrators, coaches or anyone involved in governing bodies on the subject of child or vulnerable adult protection. Knee-jerk reactions akin to that seen in the media have not helped with teh administration of games or leagues. Head-strong ignorance and the refusal to accept that the law in Scotland differs to that of England have set unhealthy and in my belief unlawful precedents in terms of the disclosure of personal information under the guise of child protection. I strongly suggest that BAFA undertakes an improved level of engagement with its stakeholders in this matter beyond a web-based tick-box exercise and liaise with agencies such as Children 1st, the Scottish Government, APEX Scotland and the Central Registered Body in Scotland. I would argue that it is the role of the governing body (BAFA or BAFCA) to ensure that each and every coach has recevied basic child and vulnerable adult protection awareness training. Whilst this is a matter beyond this code, it is pertinant to point out that discipline on any matter without the accused having been informed of their expectations is somwhate remiss. BAFCA already covers coaching ethics in it's programmes. I am heartened to see that consideration is being given to provide training to disciplinary panels and that the code is being reviewed and would be happy to comment on any future revisions.

10.  The process should be standadised so that there is 'common' justice. AT present a player ejected at youth level is banned for two games whilst a senior/college player gets a one game ban for the first offense. This seems unfair to me. Both should get either a one or two game ban for the same offense.

11.  With regard to monetary penalty, I do not believe that these are justified when being administered against a team or individual as the sport is already hard pressed for financial resources. However, this situation may be mitigated according to circumstance (ie fraud) provided the fines are used in a fiscally responsible way (for example contribution to a benevolence fund or to fund grass roots development of the sport.)