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Message from Pete Ackerley:

Thank you to everyone who joined the recent Q&A session which followed our AGM.

The Q&A was a great opportunity for me to connect with lots of different people in our community and answer your questions directly. It was also hugely encouraging to have such fantastic engagement in what we’re doing as a National Governing Body and another reminder – not that I needed one – of the passion and commitment that exists within our sport.

While there’s no substitute for meeting in person, holding the session virtually worked well on a number of levels, and gave people from different parts of the country a chance to take part. This is certainly a good learning in terms of how we conduct events like this in the future.

Transparency

One theme I noticed running through many of your comments and questions was transparency. I hope the publication of our inaugural Annual Report, and the Q&A session, highlight how I want us to be more transparent and open with you – the BAFA members. We can certainly continue to improve on this, but I believe we’ve taken a positive step forward in this direction.

Overall, positive is a word that provides a good summary of the session as a whole. I felt a real sense of constructive and upbeat energy, as we all pull together to continue growing our sport.

Questions

I know some questions were not answered in full during the meeting, and I want to stress that outstanding queries will be followed up individually and collectively. We are working through these at the moment – it’s been a busy 10 days or so, but they have not been forgotten.

As our Chair Nichole McCulloch mentioned, please do not think you have to wait for sessions like this to get in touch with me either. I am always available to hear your comments and views.

10-year vision

Looking forward, those who joined the meeting will know that I presented my 10-year vision for professionalising British American football and inspiring people to play. While I won’t run through the whole presentation again here, I think it’s important that I outline the main themes.

There are four key objectives that I want us to work towards over the next 10 years, and these are:

Play & Participate
Flag football development strategy
Women’s football – playing and growth strategy
GB National Football League strategy
Schools, colleges and youth strategy
University participation and play strategy

Play Your Part – People Strategy
Volunteer strategy
Coaching strategy – quality and quantity
Referee strategy – quality and quantity
Science and medicine staff support strategy
Apprenticeships engagement plan

Place to Play
Club development strategy
Club accreditation process
Facilities development and access strategy
National Centre for British American football
Inclusive game for all

Playing Pathway to Performance
Long term athlete development plan
GB teams strategy
CFL and NFL partnerships – player pathways
Talent development support plans
Academies development plan

I’ve had really encouraging feedback on these key themes, which I firmly believe are the areas we must focus on as a sport – starting right now. I want BAFA to be a progressive, responsive, inclusive and driven governing body, where people enjoy being part of the game.

Volunteering

In support of this 10-year vision, I’ve already received a number of messages from people wanting to help BAFA and volunteer their expertise and time.

This is fantastic to hear, and I encourage anyone who wants to contribute to the growth of British American football to get in touch with me, or relevant commissions leads, to see how you might be able to support the organisation.

Thank you once again to all of you who participated in the Q&A, and for your continued drive, enthusiasm and commitment to our great game.

Despite current challenges, I look forward with great optimism to the coming 12 months, and taking the first steps towards delivering our 10-year vision for British American football.

Pete Ackerley, BAFA Chief Executive

Keep up with all BAFA updates from Gridiron Hub!

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