Following a very eventful couple of days building up to the summer seasons getting underway, BAFA Chair, Nichole McCulloch has shared a message with the Britball community providing further insight into the actions taken by the sport’s National Governing Body:
I wanted to share an update with you following our announcement on Thursday concerning the eligibility of foreign nationals for BAFA National Leagues football.
This has resulted in the suspension of foreign nationals listed on the BAFA registration system until we can make sure they have provided the correct evidence required to be eligible for BAFA membership.
Our immediate priority has been to contact clubs with fixtures this weekend, and we are now in the process of working through all others. Any clubs impacted who have not already been contacted will receive an email from Operations Director Steve Rains over the coming days detailing their affected members and the next steps required.
This issue has only touched on a small overall percentage of our membership, and thanks to the swift actions of our volunteers, over 140 members have already been restored to active competition within hours of being suspended. Numerous queries to have also been promptly handled.
I would like to pass my sincere thanks to all the volunteers within BAFA who have rallied to action over the last few days to help us deal with this situation as swiftly as possible – in many cases working late into the night or rearranging their own personal commitments.
They will have many additional extra hours of work to come until we have fully resolved the issue, so I ask for your patience and understanding if there is any delay to responding to other, less urgent, queries – particularly in the case of our Registrations team.
I would also like to thank BAFA clubs for their prompt and professional response to the situation.
Since our announcement, we have had robust feedback that the timing of our action to suspend BAFA members listed on our registration system as non-UK nationals was poor – coming just two days before the opening weekend of our BAFA National Leagues competition.
We agree this was not ideal, and on behalf of BAFA I would like to apologise for any inconvenience this has caused our members and their clubs. However, once we were alerted to registration irregularities and the implications of this, we had a duty of care to act promptly and decisively in order to comply with the requirements of our insurers and ensure the safety of our members.
I would also again remind clubs that Competition Rule 5.25 makes it clear that to be eligible for BAFA National Leagues membership individuals must be ordinarily resident in the UK.
Going forward, we will be undertaking a review of the conditions of our insurance, the level of detail in our competition rules, and what is required within our registration system to make sure we’re not put in a similar position again.
I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone taking part in the opening BAFA National Leagues fixtures of the season a safe and enjoyable weekend of football!