BAFA Rule Changes 2006

Jim Briggs, Chair BAFA & BAFRA Rules Committees

February 2006

The following table lists all the rules changes adopted for 2006 (including NCAA changes introduced in 2005). The changes take effect from 1st March 2006 (except for the remainder of the BCAFL season).

Rule number

Rule difference



An ambulance is no longer mandatory if the medical cover is provided by either a doctor or a paramedic. If the medical cover is a nurse, physio or first aider, an ambulance will still be mandatory.

BAFA is preparing guidelines for teams on medical cover.

It remains the responsibility of game management to certify that the medical requirements have been met.


A telephone must be available as part of the minimum medical requirement.

Previously the rule said "should".


A player in the rectangular area may not block an opponent with the force of the initial contact from behind and at or below the knee (Exception: Against the runner).

There are two changes to this part of the rule, one editorial and the other major. The editorial change, which is consistent across the whole book, replaces the legal clipping zone with “the rectangular area”. This is because the major change to this rule trims allowable clipping down significantly, thus making the old term rather obsolete. Now, any contact by Team A linemen in the zone from behind must be above the knee. Therefore, the only time that it is legal to block from behind and at or below the knees is against the runner (or simulated runner) or when the player turns his back on a committed blocker (the definition of clipping at any other point in the game remains the same as before). Remember also that the rectangular area is only in existence for a very short time, as long as it takes for the ball to be touched outside of the area, or for it to end up outside the area after a muff or fumble.


No defensive player, in an attempt to gain an advantage, may step, jump or stand on an opponent. No defensive player who runs forward from beyond the neutral zone and leaps from beyond the neutral zone in an obvious attempt to block a field goal or try may land on any player(s). It is not a foul if the leaping player was originally lined up within one yard of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped.

Last year’s new leaping rule has been expanded by now prohibiting contact with players of one’s own team. The basics of the rule remain the same. The foul only applies to scoring-attempt kicks when a Team B player moves towards the line of scrimmage from a position one yard away from it, jumps to block the ball and lands on another player. The NCAA Rules Committee feels that this can cause quite a devastating injury, hence the foul. Dick Honig advises that specific instructions have been given that if a player lands on another player who was attempting to block him, then the leaper has still fouled. This is a change from some earlier opinions and a complete change from last year. If the leaping foul is against the snapper and occurs within a second of the snap, then this is roughing the snapper, and the penalty may be carried over to the succeeding kick off (this has also changed from some publications). But, if the foul occurs due to contact with the snapper after one second, this is a leaping foul and not roughing the snapper. The penalty must be enforced on a replay of the down and cannot be carried across to the succeeding kick off. Dick also notes that even on a good Field Goal teams will take the foul – and a first down. This should make the foul significantly easier to officiate. Last year, it was often difficult to distinguish between players when it came to the contact: was it Team A or Team B? That no longer matters.


New section containing 5-on-5 kitted rules

BAFA has now recognised a 5-a-side kitted form of the game.

Thanks to Steven Bowness of the New Zealand Gridiron Officials Association for his analysis of the NCAA changes.