British American Football Association cancels season

British American Football Association, BAFA, CEO Peter Ackerly issued a statement Tuesday cancelling all tackle/contact American football for 2020.

In BAFA’s last announcement issued on April 9, Ackerly stated that BAFA was hoping for the season to potentially start in mid July allowing for a proper preseason. BAFA has left the door open for a flag football season that could possibly be held beginning in August.

BAFA statement from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley on COVID-19 (May 12):

Firstly, and most importantly, I hope everyone in British American football is staying safe and well.

In my last update, on 9 April, I said that we wanted to consult with our community on how we might return to playing action and to find the best possible solutions for British American football in these unprecedented times. I sincerely thank everyone who has shared their feedback and thoughts.

Contact football
Having listened to your views, assessed the latest advice from the Government and reviewed all the options on the table, we have made a decision to cancel the contact season across adult, junior and youth. In addition, the Diamond Series will be postponed until 2021.

I mentioned previously that we were looking at a potential start date for the season of mid-July. Feedback from teams and coaches is that a minimum of a six-week pre-season will be required before any competitive action can take place, meaning a go-ahead decision is needed in early/mid-May. Given the latest update we have received from the Government, we are simply not in a position to make this go-ahead decision for a mid-July start to the season. And the overwhelming feedback from the teams is that, in this scenario, they would prefer the certainty and clarity of the season being cancelled.

This is why we have taken this decision even though we all, of course, want to see contact football played in 2020. We have tried to give it every chance we can, but once logistical challenges such as transport, venues and medical cover are also factored in, it’s become clear that it’s just not feasible.

Teams have said they would be keen to potentially play friendly fixtures later in the year, if this is possible, and this is something we will absolutely support if public health guidelines allow for it. We will keep this situation under constant review and confirm as/when training and friendly games can take place.

Flag football
The situation for flag football is slightly different. Flag football clearly has fewer logistical challenges than contact, and the same duration of pre-season is not required before competitive action can start.

The feedback from our flag teams is that they would like to give the season every possible opportunity to take place. Therefore, we are keeping the option open for an adult flag season to start in August, and youth and cadet seasons to start in September. Of course, this will be completely subject to Government advice allowing for this.

Coronavirus situation in Great Britain

As of Tuesday, May 12, the number of cases of COVID-19 recorded in Great Britain totaled 226,463 with 32,692 deaths attributed to the virus. The novel coronavirus was first confirmed in the United Kingdom at the end of January, but the number of daily confirmed cases and related deaths only began to increase significantly mid-late March. Although strict social distancing measures introduced at the end of March have helped bring the daily death toll down, the UK now has the highest official death toll in Europe and the second highest in the world.

AFI
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