BAFA Announce Changes to the Board


24 May 2018

New interim board announced


The new BAFA board met on Saturday 19/5/18 and were due to send this update on Sunday when we heard about the tragic death of Charles Mack of the Cambridgeshire Cats. We hope the membership will understand that we postponed this update as a result.


As communicated in previous updates the BAFA board is undergoing an important process of change with the aim of improving the governance, communication, reach and success of British American Football.

Here’s a quick reminder of how we’ve got to this point:

  • Feb. ’17           Membership consultation begins on BAFA’s future direction
  • Mar. ’17           Sports management consultancy Sports Structures hired to manage change
  • Apr. ’17            BAFA Strategy Day held to discuss future of the sport’s governance & strategy
  • Aug. ’17           New strategic plan presented to members
  • Oct. ’17           New strategic plan presented to MPs
  • Feb. ‘18           Sports Structures & BAFA develop & announce new board structure
  • Mar. ’18           Board positions advertised externally
  • Apr. ’18            Candidates interviewed for board positions
  • May ’18           New board members notified & meet for first meeting

Next steps:

  • Sep. ’18           AGM to approve new board (Date TBC)

Between now and the AGM the outgoing and incoming BAFA boards will operate together with Martin Cockerill as Chair, and Nichole Trudeau-McCulloch as Vice Chair.

It is also important to note that alongside a new board, a new operations group is being created, responsible for much of the day-to-day running of the game. This will allow the board to focus on strategic development, governance, finance and communication. Details of this group will be unveiled at a later date, but we are delighted to confirm that many of the current BAFA board will continue in operations roles.

We have included our contact details below. If you have any questions please feel free to email us. We’ll share further updates before the AGM, and we look forward to working with you all.

Five positions to be approved at an AGM:

Nichole Trudeau-McCulloch – Chair


Nichole McCullochNichole has an MBA and is an experienced management consultant and executive search professional with over a decade’s worth of experience advising boards, CEOs and government officials globally across Energy and Natural Resources. She is also the Managing Director of Women in Mining and a board member.  Nichole has a family of American football enthusiasts with an uncle that is a former NFL quarterback. Nichole is keen to bring British American Football to a wider audience and participation base. Noting the similarities between Association football in the UK and American Football in the USA, she will bring a range of leadership skills that will guide BAFA through their strategy and will be a great asset to lead the board.

Steve Rains – Director of Operations


Steve has a background in human resources and is a current interim HR consultant having previously held Board positions at Royal Mail International and Guernsey Post Ltd. Steve has been coaching since 1985 (Wight Rhinos) before leading the Farnham Knights to the National Championship in 2004 and three second tier championships (2000, 2007, 2015) and the EFAF (Europe) Cup Final 2004. He is the current Head Coach at the Solent Thrashers and has taken various coach education opportunities in the USA over his 33-year coaching career. Steve has extensive knowledge of the sporting structures of American football in the United Kingdom and will apply this to support the strategic direction to meet the operational needs of the sport.

Ian Deakin – Director


Ian DeakinIan is an employment solicitor, predominantly working with professional sports clubs from the top tiers of football and rugby. He has extensive commercial law experience and is skilled in giving simplistic, succinct and pragmatic advice to his clients. He has also served on the board of Warrington Wolves Supporters Trust and White Rose Academy Trust. He is a fan of all types of football in the UK, including football, rugby and of course American football, and he hopes to bring this passion to BAFA.



Amy de Marsac – Director


Amy de MarsacAmy has a degree from the University of Birmingham in accounting and finance and is currently the head of investor relations at Mitchell and Butlers PLC. Amy is a skilful influencer with a wealth of knowledge on commercial analysis. She has expertise in meeting business objectives, meeting performance targets and influencing decision makers. Amy will bring a fresh perspective from the business world outside of American football.


Richard Watson – Director


Richard WatsonRichard currently works for Birmingham County Football Association and brings a wealth of specialist knowledge in safeguarding, discipline and supporting a volunteer workforce He is the current safeguarding and referees officer in the Birmingham area leading on safeguarding provision for all youth football clubs across Birmingham County FA, including 10 youth leagues and 630 clubs. Richard has extensive best practice knowledge from working in a national governing body of sport and hopes to apply this to BAFA. He is also a level four Football Association referee and a big fan of American football.




Four positions directly appointed:

Bruce Leatherman – Director of Business Process


Bruce L.With over 10 years of experience as a technically focused manager, Bruce has delivered multiple enterprise level software projects within the national government and financial sectors. He currently works as a Senior Solutions Consultant, advising on technological solutions and ensuring contractual and regulatory compliance. He has extensive experience of data security principles and will apply this knowledge to BAFA’s business and data processes. A qualified American football coach and official, he has been involved in the British game for over 26 years.



Graham Swanson – Director of Business Development


Graham SwansonGraham is the current Business Development Manager at England Hockey. An accomplished account manager with a proven track record for delivering and sustaining revenue through strong client relationships, Graham is a high performing team player who consistently delivers business development objectives and raises commercial awareness. He’s a former American Football player, coach and administrator; his former teams include London Blitz, East Kent Mavericks, City University and the University of Kent. He will bring this knowledge to negotiate new business opportunities for BAFA.



Stephen Jones – Director of Finance


Image may contain: 3 people, outdoorStephen is a consummate finance professional, who is currently the Director of Finance for the leading UK photo print company called Harrier LLC and is a former Director of Finance for British Triathlon. In addition to being a qualified accountant, he has a degree in Pure Maths and Statistics and an MA in Sports Development and Coaching. He will bring 24 years of finance management experience in making leadership decisions on BAFA’s finances. Stephen is a huge fan of American football having been a director at BAFCA, a current offensive coordinator at Plymouth Blitz as well as founding the Cardiff Cobras. His knowledge of both the sport of American Football and finance will be a great asset to the board of directors.


Geoff Jein – Director of Communications


Image may contain: 1 person, close-upGeoff has over 15 years’ experience as an award-winning radio and TV producer, working for the BBC (Radio 2, 6 Music, & Five Live) as well as commercial radio in the UK and Australia. Now working as a Communications specialist Geoff brings press relations, marketing and social media experience to BAFA to help the board deploy a communications strategy that truly meets the needs of BAFA’s members, stakeholders and commercial partners. He attended his first British American Football game at the age of nine and has been a fan ever since.




Nick 'Willy Tee' Wilson-Town hails from the South West where he's spent the last decade bouncing around various teams at the university and senior level. He came to fame on the now departed unofficial forum thanks to his regularly irreverent Uniball predictions and general 'BUAFL wafflage'. Follow him on twitter @WillyTee1