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BAFA Covid-19 update (1 Dec)

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Message from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley

Following the end of England-wide restrictions, teams are now able to return to Stage 4 of the BAFA Return to Play Roadmap from Wednesday 2 December.

As different areas of England move into new tiers, the following additional guidance should be noted:

– Teams and individuals should not travel to or from tier 3 areas to take part in American football activity. The sole exception to this rule is for under 18s, who may travel a reasonable distance to or from a tier 3 area to participate in training activities with their registered club only
– Teams and individuals should not travel to Wales or Scotland to take part in American football activity at this time

Our Stage 4 guidance for England has been updated to reflect these amendments – these are highlighted in yellow.

Amendments to Stage 4 guidance for clubs in Wales

We have also updated our Stage 4 guidance for Wales to note the following changes:

– Indoor activity is now permitted for distinct groups of up to 15 individuals
–  No travel outside Wales for American football activity is permitted

Scotland – Stage 4

We appreciate that the majority of our clubs in Scotland are now in Level 3 or Level 4 areas and are unable to undertake any activity and for now remain at Stage 3 of our Return to Play Roadmap.

We continue to work with sportscotland to take the changing landscape of guidance into account, particularly around travel restrictions and anticipate being able to share updated club guidance reflecting this and moving to Stage 4 of BAFA’s Return to Play roadmap before Christmas.

As seen in current guidance for England and Wales, this will allow increased numbers for practice and play, inter-club non-contact games and the use of freestanding tackle dummies. New for Scotland, we hope this will also allow for some limited, distanced, adult activity in higher protection level areas – which may be especially welcomed by our BUCS teams north of the border.

Move to Stage 5 – return to modified contact

Although England’s national lockdown has helped to bring coronavirus back under control to some degree, caution and vigilance are required as we look to move to close contact activity.

We know how important being able to return to some form of tackle football is for the members of our contact clubs and teams. However, the incidence of the virus is much higher than we had all hoped it would be by this point when we were developing our Return to Play roadmap over the summer.

With that in mind, Stage 5 of our Return to Play roadmap will now consist of a number of smaller sub-stages of increasing modified contact as part of a pathway to returning to full contact.

BAFA is working closely with BAFCA on what this will look like, and we anticipate our plans for initial early steps will see time-limited modified contact as part of practice with limited 1v1 tackling and blocking permitted, as well as the return of hand held blocking shields and tackle bags for Stage 5a.

To help set your expectations, we anticipate moving to Stage 5a from mid-January onwards and will share more information as our plans and approvals progress.

In the meantime, I encourage all clubs to make sure their Club Covid-19 officers complete the required training and all other administrative actions ahead of the new year.

And as we move closer to a return to contact, as always, I ask all our clubs and members to still be mindful of adhering closely to our current guidance and continued restrictions while the UK is in a critical stage of dealing with the virus.

Stay safe,