I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are keeping safe, and I think I speak for our whole community when I say we salute the heroic efforts of those on the front lines of our health care system and our supply chain.
Within British American football, we are striving to meet the current challenges we face with both pragmatism and optimism.
I continue to be in daily conversations with the BAFA board
on our response to the current situation, and we view our approach as having
three phases – protect, prepare and play. I will now give you an update on
where we stand with each phase.
It is imperative that we protect everyone involved in our
sport, and safety and wellbeing will continue to be our number one priority.
That is why I urge everyone to closely follow the advice and guidance from
public health officials and the Government in the fight to stop the spread of
To ensure the protection of BAFA members, I can confirm the
current suspension of all American football related activity will continue
until at least the end of May. We will keep this suspension under constant
review as the situation evolves and guidance from the Government is updated.
Of course, we must also protect the integrity of our sport
and our financial stability, and we are working hard to plan for when our great
game can resume – which leads onto the prepare phase.
While American football related activity is suspended, we
want to use this time to consult with teams on the best way to return to
As it stands, we are looking at a potential start date for
the season in mid-July, although this is very much subject to government advice
allowing for this – and feedback from the consultation process. All commission
leads and/or relevant officials within clubs will be contacted in the coming
days for their views on our proposals.
We know that starting a season in mid or late summer
presents challenges, but I hope that members can understand we are responding
to the hand we have been dealt, and we are doing our utmost to find the best
possible solution in the circumstances.
While we plan for the start of our season, BAFA as an
organisation very much continues to operate at full capacity. We are absolutely
committed to playing a format of a season, or as close as we can come to one,
and we are working with our clubs, BAFCA, BAFRA and all our volunteer workforce
to prepare for this.
On this basis, we do not anticipate making any changes to
our membership structure given we are planning for American football to take
place this season. We will though continue to keep the situation regarding
membership under review.
We will aim to give clubs and players as much notice as we
can once a final decision is made on the season commencing. In the meantime, I encourage
everyone to stay as ready for playing action as they possibly can within the
obvious limitations – whether that be training at home, keeping in contact with
teammates virtually, studying or continuous professional development.
I mentioned in my last update that anyone with relevant
skills or experience who could volunteer within BAFA at the current time should
get in touch with me, and this very much still stands. It has been fantastic to
see the spirit already displayed within our community as we pull together to
overcome the challenges we are faced with.
Hopes held high
Understandably there are more important things on all our
minds right now than sport or matches of any sort. Yet we also know that British
American football has incredible passion and commitment and when the time comes,
we can play an important role in the recovery of sport in Great Britain.
Until then, let’s all do what we can to stop the spread of
this virus and protect each other. And at the same time, let’s keep our hopes
high and positive for American football in 2020.
Pete Ackerley, BAFA Chief Executive