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BAFA Rules Committee

BAFA Rules Changes 2007

Jim Briggs, Chair BAFA & BAFRA Rules Committees

January 2007

The following table lists all the rules changes adopted for 2007 (including NCAA changes introduced in 2006). The changes take effect from 1st March 2007 (except for the remainder of the BCAFL season).

Rule number

Rule difference



Eye shields that are not clear are illegal

This is part of the prohibited equipment rule. The operative words here are "not clear". Last year, the rule said "not transparent", and this change makes it absolutely clear what is required. Also, last year's procedure to allow exceptions has been removed. There is now no exception to the rule.

Note to all players with tinted visors - buy a clear one!


Kicking tee may not elevate the ball more than 1 inch

This change is to reduce the height of the tee so that the ball's lowest point is now no more than one inch above the ground instead of two. The NFL made this change a few years ago, and it is designed to reduce the number of touchbacks in the game and thus keep the clock moving (as well as creating a more exciting game).

Note to all teams - buy a new tee!


When the ball is free kicked, the game clock will start

This change again alters the point at which the clock starts on the kickoff. Now, the clock starts when the ball is kicked without exception. This is a rule which has changed a couple of times since 1997.


Game clock starts on ready-for-play when Team B is awarded a first down

This change has generated a large amount of controversy about shortening games. We don't believe it will significantly affect British games as referees will be advised to make sure both teams have made their substitutions before starting the clock.

7-1-3 Penalty & 7-1-4 Penalty

Fouls on snap on scrimmage kick plays may be enforced from succeeding spot

This change introduces to the NCAA a change the NFL made last year. It only occurs during a scrimmage-kick play that is not a field goal attempt, and only applies to illegal shift, illegal motion, illegal substitution and illegal formation fouls. It allows Team B to choose enforcement from the subsequent dead ball spot (if the ball belongs to Team B) or from the proceeding spot. If Team A remain in possession at the end of the down, then the penalty must be enforced from the previous spot. Last year in the NFL, most teams chose enforcement from the dead ball spot, thus avoiding replaying the down and saving time.


Instant replay procedures adopted

Although we don't expect it to be used in the near future (for lack of televised games), we have adopted the NCAA instant replay provisions. They differ from the NFL ones in that coaches only have one challenge per game, but the replay official can instigate a review at any time. The review is conducted by the replay official in the booth, not by the referee at the sideline.



This change formalises the present arrangement whereby leagues have the power to punish (or not) teams that fail to meet mandatory game management provisions. Leagues must publish a list of sanctions before the season starts, and we expect will not want to apply them to all possible breaches. Extreme sanctions can only be used where there is evidence that the integrity of the game has been compromised (i.e. cheating).


New 5 on 5 flag rules

BAFA has now included the rules for 5-a-side flag football in the rulebook.

Acknowledgements: BAFA thanks Stephen Bowness of the NZGOA for his notes on the NCAA rule changes.

The full text of the rules can be found at

Questions about the changes should be addressed to