Pulling The Flag

BAFA Flag 2015: What You Need To Know

So by now you know who you’re playing for that all-important playoff spot this year. And if you don’t, head over to our PTF roundup to get yourself clued up.

But that’s not all, because before you go tearing into the pool without your armbands on, we’ve got some info to jam in your head like those buds that stop your ears popping.

Onto the Q&A…

When does the league start then?

Well, technically it starts now. According to BAFA, the league year officially begins on Monday March 2 (that’s today). That means that from this point, players need to start registering on the BAFA portal here.

The season itself will begin during the week commencing April 6, so game weekend 1 is essentially April 11 and 12.

And what about the final?

Wow. You’re getting ahead of yourself, aren’t you? Well, since you asked (and arrogance isn’t a nice look on you), it’s pencilled in for Saturday September 12. But that’s just a likely date, as BAFA is still awaiting confirmation of both date and venue.

Okay, so we know our division. How do we get into the playoffs?

Just win, baby. But if you want more detail than that, the way to get into the playoffs is to win your division or come second.

Just like last year, the top two in each division go through, and each of the four qualifying teams in each conference will be given a seeding of #1 to #4 (best conference record is #1, second-best second-placed team is #4). The playoffs themselves will be split between “Southern Teams” (South-East and South-West conferences) and “Northern Teams” (Mid-England and Highland North). Seed #1 in one conference plays #4 in the other conference, and so on.

Eventually two teams from the North and two from the South will remain, and they’ll go to Britbowl. Semi-finals will be drawn randomly, and the losing semi-finalists will get to wrap up their day in a third-place playoff.

So just like last year then.

Tie-breakers are win percentage, then head-to-head record, then division record, then points scored, then net points. If at some point in the playoffs, two teams have the same win percentage, teams will be drawn in out-of-conference matchups, as long as that doesn’t pit the two top seeds together.

Last year there was a lot of talk about whether the top-seeded team had the right to host…

Yes. And BAFA has adjusted its rules to meet those concerns. If you’re the highest seed in your particular playoff grouping (North or South), you’ll be offered the chance to host. However, you don’t have to if you don’t want to.


Okay. Maybe we are going a bit fast here. What do I need to bear in mind for Week 1?

Well, firstly, all teams need numbered shirts. That’s the easy bit.

Also, these numbers need to be listed next to the player’s name and info on roster forms, which MUST be handed into the home team on tournament day. Each team is responsible for filling these in (and, yes, bringing them with them). The home team will scan them and pass them onto BAFA.

That’s not all. Teams need to send the filled-in rosters to BAFA by 12pm on the Friday before the gameday, via email.

Home teams need to give at least 7 days notice of the venue where they’re holding the match, the surface of the venue (grass, 3G, etc), where best to park and the nearest train station.

They should also confirm the start time of the first game, and supply the schedule. Order of games must not be changed.

Scoresheet info should be signed by both teams and the refereeing team. The ref team should also note any incidents on the back of the scoresheet, sign it and email Nick Bertenshaw of BAFA with an explanation of what happened at the end of the day.

What if this doesn’t go according to plan?

Hmm. Let’s put it this way:

You love your stats, right? It’s the responsibility of the teams and the refs to check AND sign the scoresheets after every match.The host team must send back the scoresheets and the accompanying scoring form from their host games by the end of the following Thursday. If they don’t, and don’t have a good reason, they’ll lose the right to have their team’s stats recorded for the rest of the season.

Forth Bowl Jules

Right. Better get on that then. What about other rules? Are there any big changes?

Here’s one. You no longer HAVE to wear a gumshield, although it is recommended.

We’ve had a few problems with forfeits in the past, so here’s what’s going to happen in 2015.

If you miss ONE GAME DAY, you lose the right to be a “home team” throughout the regional playoffs, and you won’t be able to host the regional playoffs even if you’re #1 seed.

If you miss TWO, you’re out of the running for the postseason

If you miss THREE, all completed or scheduled results for your team are marked as “walkover losses”. What’s more, you’ll be banned from entering the league for at least the following year, and you’ll have to prove that you can be trusted to field a team if you want to be allowed back the year after.

Eek. What about ejections?

Well, we had a couple of these. And the rules regarding them have been firmed up for the new season.

ONE EJECTION means a one-game ban, either taking place in the next game on that day, or rolling on to the next tournament. The player may also have his ban extended if the BAFA Disciplinary Committee reckons it’s justified.

If you get more than one in a season? Well, that’s up in the air at the minute, but the BAFA Disciplinary Committee will be supplying clarification on that soon.


I’ve got this excellent player who’d be perfect for my playoff matchup. Can I play them?

To be eligible for the playoffs, a player has to have played for their team in at least 51% of its games since registering. There is going to be a BAFA-wide cutoff for registration at the beginning of July (date TBC). If you miss that, you ain’t playing this year…

If you still haven’t found out your division for the 2015 season, head to our PTF division rundown.

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