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Members of the British American Football executive and board have met with teams to discuss the future direction of competitive leagues.

The meeting took place in Birmingham on the afternoon of Wednesday 4 th August following calls for an Extraordinary General Meeting by representatives from 27 teams.

In attendance for BAFA were CEO Pete Ackerley, Operations Manager Amanda McDonald and Board Members Bruce Leatherman and Kenny Bello.

Representing the 27 teams were Steve Rains and Clive Dobbin from Solent Thrashers, Guy Kersey from Leicester Falcons, Patrick Joseph from Berkshire Renegades, Steve Stoakes and Matt Sheldon from the Birmingham Bulls, and Jack Storey from Humber Warhawks.

The meeting, which was regarded as a “positive and forward looking” by both parties gave rise to 12 action points.

We are grateful for the opportunity to have this meeting, which was constructive and has seen a positive action plan emerge as a result."

Steve Rainsspeaking on behalf of the group-of-27

The key themes and actions are summarised below:

  1. A face-to-face meeting for contact clubs to be reinstalled in the BAFA calendar which would serve as an opportunity for dialogue and feedback on the season. For 2022 this will take place in October to align with BAFA’s planned AGM, but this will be scheduled for September for future years.
  2. The creation of a contact clubs league forum to meet at regular intervals during the year to create a channel for future feedback and input.
  3. For 2023, a commitment by BAFA to expand the available weeks of the contact league season to ensure a more even spread of fixtures and contingency weeks, while still leaving a bye week for the BAFCA convention. This will be managed by smarter scheduling around national programme weekends and pushing Britbowl weekend later into September. A draft schedule will be made available in December, and BAFRA will be more closely involved in the earlier stages of the scheduling process.
  4. The introduction of a ‘Practice Only’ registration category as an additional membership option for adult and women’s contact playing memberships. This will allow new players, returning players, BUCS players and those moving up from U19 who are unsure whether they want to commit to a become a full member to have an extended and insured trial period with their team. The fee for this would be £10 and would be for pre-season only – up until March 31.
  5. For 2023, playing membership fees for adult and women’s league contact categories will be reduced by 50% for the remainder of the season from 1 July.
  6. A long-term look at the approach for managing import players and related insurance challenges.
  7. Agreement to return red card / yellow card wording to our contact competition rules for 2023 in addition to our existing underpinning disciplinary rules regarding forfeits.
  8. The scheduling of the BUCS All Star game to before the start of the National Leagues contact season.
  9. In 2023, a return to the adult contact playoff formats last used in 2019. In addition, the return of plate finals for U19 and U16 formats and the maximisation of the playoff opportunities offered to NWFL teams.
  10. A commitment to more central venues and better communication for all contact format finals.
  11. Installing plans to support the development of 11v11 football for small-sided contact formats of the game.
  12. Deferring the transition of U16 contact football from 5v5 to 7v7 which was planned for 2023. There will be dialogue with teams before introducing any further changes.

I'd like to thank Steve and the group for their positive and useful input. It builds upon much of our existing thought processes and wider feedback received.”

Pete AckerleyBAFA CEO