Following on from our previous announcement on August 10th, we would like to thank everyone who took up the invitation and took the time to offer their thoughts on the future of Flag Football. We are very hopeful of receiving formal confirmation of the sport’s Olympic inclusion in the coming week or so and have aligned our year-end accordingly and remain poised to act when we have received further clarifications.
Whilst we remain on tenterhooks regards LA 2028 and will report back in more detail at our annual Flag Football Town Hall (This year scheduled for Oct 19th – Sign-up here), the following key observations need to be addressed ahead of the upcoming season to ensure that Flag Football in the UK has the best chance of a successful future. How we address these items will be influenced by the outcome of any formal IOC announcements but they regardless of outcome they must be addressed if the game is to grow in Britain, a desire that we all collectively share.
Key items to be addressed:
- There is currently a significant gap between the hopes the community hold for the game, the anticipated growth of the game and what can be achieved with a wholly voluntary workforce. Multiple workforce methodologies have now been trialled over the last 4 years of the Commission and it is now time to look towards alternative levers to make our shared vision for Flag Football a reality – this will include a route and branch review of all current BAFA Flag operations.
- Whilst we remain cognisant of economic circumstances across Britain, unfortunately costs of sporting products and facilities have continued to rise and fees for Flag Football haven’t been reviewed holistically in over 10 years. Furthermore, and despite best efforts, we haven’t received the external investment we had hoped for and for Flag Football to become sustainable and potentially reach Olympic heights in the UK, it must be financially self-sufficient with external investment only viewed as a short-term catalyst to push beyond the baseline.
- Gameday standards across the sport remain relatively low and therefore not presentable or in a position publicise widely, we also lack the resources to publicise at a level which will assist in marketing the sport and subsequently facilitating growth.
- Whilst a strategy and plan for a comprehensive British Flag Football ecosystem exist and have been publicised and communicated, several community members remain unaware of the direction of travel and the constraints and considerations which need to be accounted for.
We are working on addressing these matters ahead of the 2023/24 season in order to avoid losing a year of progress when time is precious considering our 2028 ambitions. As it stands this will unavoidably delay our standard opening procedures for the annual cycle as the outcome of potential Olympic announcements will greatly affect our next steps, the timing and content of which are out of control.
What actions are we taking to mitigate the delays?
- Any existing memberships from the 2022/23 cycle will be temporarily extended until we communicate further (ETA Dec) allowing teams and players to continue to operate in the meantime.
- We are finalising dates/calendar rotation for the 2023/24 cycle so that teams have advanced notice of what is happening when. At the latest these will be finalised by the Town Hall on 19/10/23 which formally marks our year end.
- Any structural changes for pre-existing formats in 2023/24 will be limited to minor tweaks and in Youth Flag we will stick to the dominant age ranges of 11U, 14U and 17U.
- We will continue to communicate further updates and re-open memberships as soon as possible, wherever possible sticking closely to our existing operational timelines.
In the meantime, we appreciate your patience as we try to build a better future for British Flag Football.