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CEO Pete Ackerley has held his first Town Hall meeting as part of BAFA’s drive to engage more closely with members and stakeholders.

The event, which took place at the BAFCA annual coach convention at Keele University in Staffordshire was hosted by Matt Davies, a coach and popular figure within the Britball community.

Ackerley began by setting out his stall for the future of the game:

“It’s about having a long-term vision – where do we want to go? I want to professionalise this game on and off the field and inspire more people to play – and play a part,” he said.

Davies pulled no punches in voicing concerns among coaches and administrators and tackled head on what he described as the “elephant in the room” – frustrations centred around the board’s refusal to grant an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) as a platform to air grievances.

Ackerley was forthright: “Far from stifling it, I encourage dialogue. As Chief Executive, it my responsibility to lead on operational matters – that’s what BAFA’s constitution dictates.

“As part of the good governance we need to meet Sport England Tier 3 governance requirements, which means we need to be seen to adhere to our Articles of Association. These make clear that operational issues should be raised in another way.

“This is precisely why I am holding face-to-face meetings and willing to engage directly,” he added.

Davies probed the credentials of Ackerley, who became CEO in September 2019 to lead BAFA.

“Because of the impact of Covid, this is the first year I am seeing the whole operation in process since joining,” said Ackerley

“BAFA has not got everything right, but we are learning and taking impactful steps to improve what we do and how we deliver. Many of the concerns raised in recent times, I believe are valid.”

Pete AckerleyCEO

Ackerley, a Lancastrian with a track record of 30 years working in British sport at executive level added:

“It is an honour to lead American Football in this country. There are sports of a similar size as ours – or smaller – which have access the sort of funding that we should, but do not. I am using my expertise and contacts within British sport to change that.

“My aim is to secure sums which have the potential to transform our game. But for access to these pots of money, we need to professionalise the game at all levels – and transform how we run it. I am talking to Sport England and the NFL regularly and know what is needed.”

Further Town Hall gatherings will be taking place up and down the country over the summer and a meeting with representatives of the group of 19 clubs who sought the EGM is being scheduled.

For anyone seeking to engage directly with Pete, there is a dedicated email