BAFA announce further changes to the 2019 Competition Rules

The British American Football Association have shared further rules updates and guidance ahead of the 2019 seasons kicking off, aimed at raising the standards in a number of areas – including results submission, self-officiating and player registration. 

The move shows BAFA’s awareness of the concerns shared by teams across the league in previous seasons, and the NGB’s common sense approach to finding solutions.


BAFA are pleased to announce three further changes to the Competition Rules for 2019.

The first change introduces a rule for compulsory reporting of results to BAFA by both the home and away team. This will enable BAFA results and tables to be automatically updated, which will then provide information in one place for BAFA participants, supporters and other media outlets.

Results will have to be reported either by text, online or on the app linked to the results page (details have been notified to all teams) before 5.00pm on the day following the fixture (at the latest). Failure to do so will incur a £25 fine. Teams will receive a text message prior to their games and a simple reply with the final score is the easiest way to achieve what is required.


The second change introduces a new BAFA Guide to Self-Officiating 11 v 11 contact games which sets out the requirements for self-officiating and gives guidance to any coaches who volunteer to officiate games in the absence of BAFRA Officials.

The rule regarding self-officiating has been long established. But, as the shortage of officials results in games in the National Leagues being scheduled without cover for the first time this year, this guide – which incorporates rules around where temporary officials are sourced from – is considered necessary.

Registration dates

The final change brings re-registration and first registration into line with the transfer cut off principle where one date applies to all teams in a competition. Previously re-registration and first registration cut off was dependent on each team’s individual schedule.

This rule change means that the cut off will be at 5.00pm on the Friday before the last scheduled regular-season games in each competition (regardless of whether the team in question is playing that week).

For example, this year the Premier and Division 1 adult contact schedules conclude on Sunday 28 July – the cut off will, therefore, be on Friday 26 July. For Division 2 we have games scheduled on 4 August and the cut off will, therefore, be on Friday 2 August. Games that take place in the “catch up” week between the regular season and the playoffs will not affect this date.

The transfer cut off remains, as before, 10pm on the first Tuesday in July which this year will be Tuesday 2 July.

‘Common sense’

Operations Director Steve Rains said:

“These rule changes make common sense. The fact that we are bringing our fixtures and tables “in house” has been welcomed right across the football community and all this rule does is ensure that clubs play their part in this step forward.

Self Officiating is not going to be popular – it already isn’t in the University League (BUCS) – but its currently unavoidable given the shortage of officials. We are working with clubs, BAFRA and BUCS to find ways to improve the situation. In the meantime, we felt it was essential to set out how Self Officiating works and to have a reference point giving guidance for those who volunteer to undertake the roles.

We are extremely grateful to those from the officiating community who assisted us with this work.

Finally, the cut off for re-registration and first registration has been an anomaly under the previous wording where an individual teams schedule dictated the date – a postponed fixture could alter it – and it was not equitable for teams in the same competition.

We don’t expect a lot of last-minute registrations, but this will make it fair for all teams in each tier/competition. To allay any fears that players coming from the USA or Europe could be brought in just prior to the playoffs – they are International Transfers and therefore governed, as now, by the transfer cut off date.”

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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