American Football regulations for 2021-22 | Published 13 August

Please note: Regulations are currently under review for the 2021-22 season and so those currently published are subject to change.

AMF i The BUCS American Football Championships shall be conducted in accordance with the following BUCS sport specific regulations, the BUCS general regulations, and the British American Football Association (BAFA) Rulebook.

AMF ii In the event that these regulations contradict the BUCS general regulations these BUCS sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.

AMF iii In the event that these regulations contradict the British American Football Association (BAFA) Rulebook, these BUCS sport specific regulations will supersede, unless specifically stated otherwise.


AMF 1 Open Championships The BUCS American Football Championships are an Open Championships. Open Championships have no gender-based eligibility requirements and individuals may participate whatever their gender identity.

AMF 2 Minimum number of players for a fixture to start or continue The minimum number of players required for a fixture to start or continue will be 11.

AMF 3 Affiliations All institutions/Playing Entities, players, coaches and sideline personnel must be affiliated as per the requirements of the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document. Failure to affiliate by the deadlines stated in the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document will result in sanctions being imposed as outlined in the BUCS Sport Specific Affiliations Document and the possibility of further disciplinary action.

AMF 4 Roster Before each match, in addition to completing BUCS Team Sheets as per REG 11.2, teams must supply the Referee with a roster listing all players, coaches and other sideline personnel as per BAFA regulation 5. All individuals on this roster must meet the requirements of AMF 3. A BAFRA Roster Form should be used, but if a team does not have one available then an alternative form can be submitted as long as it captures the same required information.

AMF 4.1 Each team must have a BAFCA Level 1 qualified coach who is on the sideline at all times for a game to start or continue.

AMF 5 Goalposts All Premier Tier league and National Championship knockout matches shall be played with goalposts as a minimum standard. In all other matches, teams can agree to play without goalposts.

AMF 6 Fixture confirmation REG 9.5 shall apply, however as well as communicating fixture confirmation information to the away team’s Athletic Union (or equivalent) in writing, via their own Athletic Union (or equivalent), home teams should also ensure that this is communicated to BAFRA/any appointed officials.

AMF 7 Match officials and officials' assistants

AMF 7.1 BAFRA (British American Football Referees Association) endeavours to appoint officials to as many BUCS American Football fixtures as possible. Appointments are based on the availability of officials geographically and teams are informed as soon as appointments are confirmed throughout the season by BAFRA. The minimum appointment is outlined in Appendix 5 (‘BUCS Match Officials Requirements’).

AMF 7.2 If a BAFRA Officials Crew assigned to a fixture do not turn up the game will be postponed unless both Head Coaches agree to the game taking place with interim officials as per AMF 7.4.

AMF 7.3 If BAFRA cannot provide officials for a fixture and the teams have been notified of this at least 48 hours (outside of weekends and bank holidays) before the fixture start time, then the teams must make provision for the game to take place with interim officials as per AMF 7.4.

AMF 7.4 Where interim officials are to be used:

AMF 7.4.1 Unless otherwise agreed in writing by both teams before the start of play, as a minimum, the home team must provide the Referee and a Line Judge, and the away team a Head Linesman. Under no circumstances may a game commence, nor proceed if suspended, if there are fewer than three interim officials. If a fourth interim official is available (from either team), they will act as Umpire.

AMF 7.4.2 All interim officials must be licensed (as defined in BAFA Rule 13-9-4/Rule 13-9-5), meet the minimum officiating requirement (as defined in BAFA Rule 13-9-6-d) and have undertaken the reading of the rules of the game as provided by BAFA and the BUCS sport specific regulations.

AMF 7.4.3 Interim officials should refer to the BAFA Guide to Self-Officiating including all appendices and complete the Game Day Audit/Checklist.

AMF 7.4.4 The name of each interim official, the club they are registered with and which team provided them shall be recorded on both teams' rosters (see AMF 4) which shall be submitted to both BAFRA and BUCS after the game.

AMF 7.4.5 Interim officials will have the same powers as appointed officials and must be treated with equal respect.

AMF 7.5 Officials provided by BAFRA must be paid in accordance with the BAFRA Terms and Conditions which are detailed in the BAFA Rulebook. Interim officials will be paid as per any agreement made between them and the home team.

AMF 7.6 The home team must provide three people for the chain crew and at least one ball person. The away team is responsible for providing a ball person for their own sideline. If a team does not have enough people to man these tasks, they must remove players from their playing squad to cover this. Playing squad members nominated to fulfil chain crew and ball person duties are interchangeable at appropriate times throughout the fixture but must be wearing clothing other than the playing uniform.

AMF 8 Playing conditions Should the match officials (including interim officials) deem the game unplayable due to the conditions then the game must not take place on that field for the remainder of the day pending a favourable reinspection by said officials. Alternative fields can be sought and approved by the officials present.

AMF 9 League points

AMF 9.1 Two points will be awarded for a win, one point for a draw and no points for a loss.

AMF 9.2 Where a walkover has been awarded/conceded (REG 13), two points shall be given to the non-offending team and two points deducted from the offending team.

AMF 9.3 No points will be awarded to either team in the case of a void fixture.

AMF 10 Separating teams tied on league points In an exception to REG 8.3.7, where either REG 8.3.7.3.2.1 or REG 8.3.7.4.2 are required to be utilised, average points conceded of fixtures played shall be considered, not goal difference. If this does not separate the tie, then the process will move straight to the coin toss as per REG 8.3.7.3.2.5 or REG 8.3.7.4.6.

AMF 11 Knockout competition draws

AMF 11.1 National Championship For the National Championship knockout competition, the Quarter-Final draw, involving the top four teams from the Premier Tier North and South leagues, will be determined based on league positions. There will be no seeding and teams will progress through a pre-determined bracket draw with the first named (home) team hosting the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final matches.

AMF 11.2 National Trophy For the National Trophy knockout competition, the Round of 16 draw involves the top two teams from each Tier 1 league, plus the two best performing 3rd placed teams from the three ‘North’ leagues and the two best performing 3rd placed teams from the three ‘South’ leagues. The best performing teams shall be calculated through the application of REG 8.4.3.1. Teams will progress through a pre-determined bracket draw, split ‘North’ and ‘South’, with the first named (home) team hosting the Round of 16, Quarter-Final and Semi-Final matches. Within these brackets, the initial draw will be based on ‘seedings’ calculated using the application of REG 8.4.3.1 across first placed teams, then second placed teams and then third placed teams.

AMF 11.3 Conference Cups For the Conference Cup North and South knockout competitions, the Quarter-Final draws will involve the top two teams from each of the respective Tier 2 leagues, plus the two best performing 3rd placed teams from these leagues. The best performing teams shall be calculated through the application of REG 8.4.3.1. Teams will progress through a pre-determined bracket draw with the first named (home) team hosting the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final matches. The initial draw will be based on ‘seedings’ calculated using the application of REG 8.4.3.1 across first placed teams, then second placed teams and then third placed teams.

AMF 12 Duration of play BAFA Rule 3-2-1 is amended so that the maximum total playing time shall be 48 minutes, divided into four periods of 12 minutes each, with one-minute intermissions between the first and second periods (first half) and between the third and fourth periods (second half).

AMF 13 Ties in league matches A tie can occur in a league match and it shall be recorded as a draw.

AMF 14 Ties in knockout matches Ties are not permitted in knockout matches. If at the end of the fourth period the score is tied, then extra periods shall be played as per BAFA Rule 3-1-3.

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