OVE and Britball vs Iceland – some updates and clarifications

OVE Head Coach Neale McMaster got in touch this week to share some clarifications about the exciting upcoming trip of a group of Britballers, based around a core of Ouse Valley Eagles players, to face the Reykjavik Einherjar.

OVE – but not as you know it

To help distinguish ourselves from the Eagles and therefore BAFA/IFAF for the game in Iceland, the game will no longer be played under the “Ouse Valley Eagles” banner. Instead, after a player vote the travelling squad will be referred to as the Ouse Valley Exiles Touring Party.

We have made this change for several reasons that are worth clarifying given some of the recent discussions surrounding the game:

The Point – The main point of this game is to help grow the sport. That’s it. One of our travelling party read an article online that explained the Einherjar’s situation of being the only team on the island, and they were desperate for games.

We love this game, and think as many people as possible should be able to play the sport as possible. This seemed like a great opportunity to get a trip abroad, have a great night out in Reykjavik, play some football and help a team who just want to play games.

Insurance – All Players and Coaches are aware that as the game takes place outside BAFA jurisdiction, their normal BAFA/BAFCA insurance does not cover them. The travelling party is made up entirely of adults (i.e. over 18s) who understand that everyone is responsible for organising their own insurance.

Name Change – As stated above, we have done this to make it clear that this is not an Ouse Valley Eagles game (and therefore everything the association implies – not least that purple kit).

At this stage, we have a non-IFAF affiliated team travelling to play another non-IFAF affiliated team. BAFA and IFAF have made it clear that this game is not sanctioned by either, and as such players and coaches will not be insured.

Contact with BAFA has been open and forwards since 10th April, and BAFA have been good at responding to us. Their main concern is regarding insurance and as discussed above, we believe that situation has been made clear to all involved.

Ineligible Players – Bergpor Phillip Palsson, the QB for the Einherjar and the person we have been organising the game with, is currently serving a ban from the sport due to some failed drug tests spanning from the time he spent playing in Norway a few years ago.

The players and coaches are aware of this, and are of the view that if Bergpor is willing to risk potentially extending his ban by playing in this game, that is entirely his call. It does not affect our players or their insurances for this game, as it is outwith IFAF governance.

Selection – Selection took place completely at random after creating a list of interested names for each position group, randomized the order of the list three times (standard Madden practice) and took the top “X” players from that list. We are not representing GB (or anyone else) in this game, nor has anyone been selected on anything other than luck.

Eligibility – A concern has been raised about players potentially damaging their eligibility for GB by playing in this game. Given the BAFRA statement below we now know that is more related to the risk of injury as opposed to eligibility. All players are aware of the risk associated, and asked to play – nobody has been recruited for this game.

BAFRA – Following a conversation with a currently-serving official about coming along to officiate at the game as a kind of ‘working holiday’, BAFRA released a statement which has subsequently been removed, the outcome of which was essentially that referees are free to travel and officiate if they wish, provided they do so at their own expense, take out the necessary insurance required and remove any references to BAFRA on their uniform and equipment.

In the interest of fairness, the BAFRA statement raised some points that should be addressed:

  • “Neither IFAF, BAFA or BAFRA have sanctioned this game and no request has been received for Officials via formal channels. Those facts alone should set off alarm bells”

The Einherjar have their own referees who will be administering the game, with the help of some currently registered BAFRA officials. Will these officials be up to standard of BAFRA officials? It is impossible to tell, but to help grow the game, you need to grow all aspects of it. Officials can’t get practice if there are no games. Again, the players and coaches are aware of the situation.

  • “In the past organizers of unsanctioned games have claimed to have insurance cover however when pushed for a copy it either never appears or it does not cover the Officials”

We cannot comment on previous “unsanctioned” games. What we can say is that at no point has anyone claimed anything other than the travelling party will need to obtain their own insurance for this game. That has also been covered above.

  • “Discipline is also a concern. As the game is not sanctioned by the NGB there will be no formal procedures in place. If a player is sent off they will not be banned or fines and will have no recourse to anyone.”

We are all aware that this is a friendly game, and will be doing everything we reasonably can to ensure the game is played in the right spirit.

  • “Medical cover is also a concern, as an official you have a responsibility to ensure adequate medical cover is in place”

Bergpor and the Einherjar have assured us there will be sufficient medical cover at the game, and we take them at their word, in the same way we woudld do any Britball club too.

  • “If you decide to officiate this game then I would recommend you ask relevant questions and ask to see specific documents before committing your hard cash. Also, it would not be unusual for such a game to be cancelled”

The flights have been booked and paid for, and we have confirmation from the airline.

We are genuinely grateful to Martin, BAFA and BAFRA for being open and honest about the potential risks and issues associated with this trip, and for their general assistance in clarifying potential grey areas.




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