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BAFA has launched a full-scale review of Contact Football in the UK – which will take on board views from across the Britball community in preparation for the creation of a roadmap of the future of the British game.

The Contact Football consultation was first announced at the BAFA Annual General Meeting in February by CEO Pete Ackerley. He said: “Earlier this year, I spoke about my ambition to launch a root and branch review into how we play our game. We recognise that it is vital that before we make any changes to how we do things or update our strategy for Contact football that we consult with our member clubs and tap into the knowledge and perspectives of our community.

“This consultation focuses on Contact American football formats, leagues and competitions. We recognise the nuanced needs for Flag Football looking ahead and the work of the Flag Football Commission continues in parallel to these consultations.”

The review will comprise a comprehensive online club survey that will be shared with representatives of each member club later in the summer.  Prior to this, to assess the scope of the survey BAFA is seeking to gather the themes and topics that are most important to the Britball Community. This process will take the form of focus group sessions during July and August to garner views from across key stakeholders and club management representatives.

The focus groups will be online and be 90 minutes in duration. Participants will asked for their thoughts regarding the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities offered by the current state of our game.

“The Britball Community at large is an invested and passionate partner. We recognise that at times it is rightly our critical friend – and so to allow all contributors to feel they can be as candid as they wish, the focus group sessions will be run independently of BAFA. They will be facilitated by Matt Davies who is well-known among many of us while being recognised as an experienced and respected executive coach, facilitator and leadership consultant,” added Ackerley.

What’s in scope for the review?
Everything is ‘on the table’ but key areas we’ll be looking at include:

  • Structure of our competitions – including age ranges, playing formats, regionality of leagues and finals
  • Elite formats including semi-pro leagues and National Programme activity
  • Minimum standards for clubs and teams
  • International players including eligibility

Why do we need a review?
We want to professionalise British American football and inspire people to play the game but we can’t keep doing things the same way and expecting a different result.

The outputs from the focus groups and survey will be analysed and used to set a direction of travel for the contact elements of our sport and inform our planning as an NGB over the coming years. To ensure transparency, a summary of the results will also shared with the community.

Clubs will be sent an email with a direct link to sign up to one of the forthcoming sessions. This will be sent to the nominated club contact email address entered in our JustGo membership system.  Over 100 slots are available across eleven dates in July and August. Where possible, and to allow us to gather as broad a range of input as possible, we ask that only one representative per club take part – but we appreciate that it may be more appropriate for our larger clubs offering multiple contact formats to attend more than one session in order to properly represent those aspects of the game.

Although all sessions will follow the same format, we have also dedicated a number of sessions specifically to the youth and women’s areas of the game to allow discussion to focus on the unique challenges of these aspects of our sport. We will also be internally reviewing the performance our contact leagues post-Covid, speaking with external experts and other key stakeholders and looking to other sports for best practice.

If your club representative can’t make one of the sessions – don’t worry! They’ll still get the chance to contribute and share your organisation’s feedback via our club survey later in the summer.