Minutes of a combined meeting of the BAFRA and BAFA Rules Committees on 16 January 2005
- The Chairman welcomed those present to the first meeting of the reconstituted BAFA Rules Committee.
The Committee noted and confirmed the procedures outlined in the documents:
The Committee reviewed the 2004 rules changes. No problems had been reported.
The Committee discussed the following rules changes proposals for 2005.
- Present: Jim Briggs (BAFRA, Chair), Roger Stangroom (BAFRA), Dave Bamford (BYAFA), Fergus Kehoe (BCAFL), Craig Waite (BCAFL), Jim Messenger (BAFCA, item 4a and part of 4b only), Brian Yates (BAFRA, from item 4), Keith Wickham (BAFRA, from item 5), Rich Hanby (BCAFL, from item 5), Wendy Bamford (BYAFA, from item 5), Nigel Clift (BSL, from item 5).
- Apologies: Charles Dean-Young (BAFRA), Colin Edwards (BAFRA), Paul Sutton (BAFRA).
- The Committee considered (i) a paper discussing the consequences of replacing the existing BAFA Rules 2-10 with NCAA Rules 2-10 in their entirety, and (ii) the NCAA 2004 rules changes.
The Committee considered a small number of significant changes and a large number of editorial changes to BAFA Rule 1 and Rule 13 (highlighted).
- The Committee agreed to adopt NCAA Rules 2-10 in the entirety. No problems were envisaged with the majority of the changes. With regard to dissent, BAFRA and BAFCA will draw up guidelines on how coaches and players may seek to obtain clarification of officials' decisions during a game without attracting a penalty (ACTION JB & JM). BAFRA will also draw up guidelines for its members on how to deal with situations where players remove their helmets illegally (ACTION JB).
- The Committee agreed to adopt the NCAA 2004 rules changes. Again, no major problems were envisaged. BAFRA will draw up guidelines in consultation with BAFCA on how the change allowing head coaches to call timeouts would be implemented on the field (ACTION JB). A guideline on handling substitutions that attempt to create a defensive disadvantage will also be devised (ACTION JB).
The Committee considerd a number of changes proposed by BYAFA for youth kitted football.
- A proposal to allow leagues to choose to use "NFL-style" hashmarks was not accepted. It was decided that all British football should use "college" hashmarks.
- A proposal to allow a camera to be attached to the umpire was agreed.
- A proposal to allow the referee's microphone to be of the lightweight headset variety was agreed.
- All other editorial changes were agreed.
- An issue was raised at the meeting concerning the minimum medical requirements (Rule 1-5). Concern was expressed that the requirement to have an ambulance and crew available might not always be the best option, and that teams might be able to provide a higher quality of provision at less expense. It was agreed that a working party would be established to review the rules regarding medical provision (ACTION JB). The working party should be representative of all the BAFA organisations, and should receive qualified medical advice. It was agreed that provided a new rule can be agreed before the end of August 2005, the new rule could be pilotted in the BCAFL 2005-2006 season.
- It was agreed to add the following new articles to Rule 13:
- To enshrine the BAFA Disciplinary Code into the playing rules, including the requirement that teams provide a roster form, and that the penalties for ejected persons stipulated by the BAFA Disciplinary Code override those specified in NCAA Rules.
- To allow the referee to require game management to remove any person from the field who poses a threat to safety or whose behaviour is prejudicial to the orderly conduct of the game.
- To allow leagues to choose to forego tiebreakers in regular season games.
- To allow leagues to choose to limit games to 48, 40 or 32 minutes.
With some members of the BAFA Board present, the Committee reprised the rules changes for 2005 noted above. The Committee confirmed its decisions noted above and recommends that the BAFA Board should also give its final confirmation to the changes.
The Committee noted the NCAA Points of Emphasis for 2005 and agreed with the view that they were not generally applicable to British football. It was agreed that British Points of Emphasis be drawn up (ACTION JB) on:
- A proposal (carried forward from last year) that a player who commits two personal fouls shall be disqualified was amended. It was agreed that in youth football, a player who persistently commits personal fouls shall be disqualified. This leaves more discretion to the officials.
- A proposal to remove the exclusion from the blocking below waist rule was agreed. This means that it is no longer legal for youth kitted players to block below the waist in the legal clipping zone. A further proposal that a player who committed a blocking below the waist foul would be automatically disqualified was rejected.
- A proposal that the pitch dimensions be reduced for 9-man football played by affiliate teams was rejected on the grounds that it was not applicable at all levels of the sport.
- A proposal to include 5-on-5 kitted rules within the BAFA rules framework was agreed in principle. The rules would be circulated to the Committee once available, with an opportunity for comment and revision. Once agreed, the rules would be incorporated into the rulebook at the first opportunity.
The Committee discussed issues concerning the production of the rulebook.
- two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls lead to automatic disqualification
- the blocking below the waist rules in youth kitted football
- players removing their helmets illegally
It was agreed that a press release concerning the rules changes would be drawn up and that BAFA organisations be asked to bring it to the attention of their members (ACTION JB).
The Committee noted a request from the BAFA Board to consider the disciplinary code as it applies to persons who "bring the game into disrepute" and similar offences. It was agreed to set up a working party to make recommendations in time for 2006 (ACTION JB).
In response to proposals from the Chair:
- It was agreed that BAFRA would continue its existing role of editing the rulebook (ACTION JB).
- The Committee agreed that it was desirable that the rules be available both in book form (particularly for officials and coaches), and electronically on the web (as a reference).
- The Committee recommends to the BAFA Board that BAFA should produce a printed rulebook annually commencing this year and provide copies to each BAFRA and BAFCA member.
- It was suggested that the rulebook should also include various BAFA handbook material (e.g. a directory of member organisations and contacts, dates of meetings, National Programme information) and advertising that might mitigate its cost.
- It was suggested that the rulebook be available on the BAFRA website, with links to it from other BAFA organisations' websites.
In response to proposals from the floor:
- It was agreed that leagues would notify the Chair at least two weeks in advance of their season of any regulations that they wished to adopt based on the playing rules. The Chair would then notify all interested parties.
- It was agreed that a procedure would be established by which official rules interpretations could be requested from the Committee and published (Action JB).
- It was agreed that only rule change proposals (other than NCAA changes) supported by a BAFA organisation would be considered by the Committee.
- The following persons were noted as being the current primary rules contacts for their respective organisations: Jim Briggs (BAFRA), Dave Bamford (BYAFA), Jim Messenger (BCAFA), Craig Waite (BCAFL), Nigel Clift (BSL) and Stuart McKay (SGA).
The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.
- The Committee recommends to the BAFA Board that BAFA should purchase copies of the NCAA Rulebook annually for each of the members of the BAFA Rules Committee.
- The Committee recommends to the BAFA Board that BAFA should reimburse the necessary expenses of persons attending the BAFA Rules Committee meeting.