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BAFA statement from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley on COVID-19 (13 March)

Friday, March 13, 2020

All American football related activity to be suspended

The current situation we are facing with coronavirus (COVID-19) is both difficult and completely unprecedented. And my first priority is absolutely the safety and wellbeing of BAFA members and their friends and families.

The status with COVID-19 feels like it is changing not just daily, but hourly, and I am working around the clock with my management team to consider all possible outcomes and solutions. We are doing our utmost to make decisions pragmatically and with the best interests of our whole community at heart.

Suspension of British American football activity
From midnight today, Friday 13 March 2020, we request that BAFA clubs suspend all American football-related activity. This includes practices, training camps and friendly matches across all formats. It also includes BUCS American football.

The Sapphire finals event, due to take place tomorrow, is included in this suspension and will therefore not go ahead. The suspension also means that the start of the season will be postponed.

This is not a decision that has been made lightly, and I know it will cause disappointment and inconvenience for many of you. We all want our great game to continue, and not being able to practice and play is incredibly frustrating for everyone. Yet I believe in this current moment, with the situation facing not just Great Britain but the entire world, it is the right decision despite it being a difficult one to make. The decision has been made with health and safety prioritised above sport.

Understandably there will be implications for clubs and players with this suspension, and I appreciate that cancelling venues and changing plans is far from ideal. I hope you can understand that we are simply in a period that no one could have foreseen, and we will all therefore have to make difficult decisions and sacrifices.

This suspension will be kept under daily review as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, and the advice from the Government is updated. I hope it goes without saying that I am desperate to get our sport back up and running as soon as it is safe and sensible to do so. We will of course lift the suspension on training with enough time to allow teams and players to prepare for competitive fixtures.

I am sure many of you will have questions around the decision and what happens next, and everyone’s opinion matters. We are all in this together and we all want the best for our great game. Please feel free to contact me, or BAFA Operations Manager Clive Dobbin with your comments and questions. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as possible, although as I am sure you can appreciate, this is an incredibly busy and challenging time so there may be a delay in responding to everyone.

Please do keep a close eye on BAFA channels (our website and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages) for further updates.
 As mentioned already, the situation is clearly changing so rapidly that we will keep our position as flexible as possible, reviewing it continuously.

Please continue to follow the advice we are being given around prevention and protecting yourself, and let’s work together to keep our community safe and healthy, and get back to playing the game we love as soon as we can.

Pete Ackerley, BAFA Chief Executive


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