BAFA National Leagues
The BAFA National Leagues (BAFANL, formerly the BAFA Community Leagues) are the primary American football competition in England, Scotland and Wales. They were formed by the British American Football Association in 2010 following the collapse of the British American Football League to coordinate contact football within Great Britain. There are currently 62 teams who compete in 12 divisions across three levels of football. The 10 teams who contest both the Premier Division North and South compete to reach the Britbowl. The current champions are the London Warriors and are also the most successful having won 6 titles. BAFA also operate a flag football, Women's division as well as a Youth league across all age ranges.
|Formerly||BAFA Community Leagues|
|No. of teams||62|
|Country|| England (54 teams)|
Scotland (7 teams)
Wales (1 team)
|Headquarters||Birmingham, United Kingdom|
|Most titles||London Olympians|
- 1 History
- 2 Season format
- 3 Stadiums
- 4 Teams
- 5 Associate Process
- 6 Media coverage
- 7 Notable people
- 8 Winners
- 9 References
- 10 External links
American football was introduced to the United Kingdom during the early part of the 20th century by American servicemen stationed in the country. The first recorded match took place on 23 November 1910 at Crystal Palace, London, where a team made up of the crew from USS Idaho defeated their counterparts from USS Vermont 19–0. During the Second World War, matches were played by American and Canadian servicemen stationed in the UK at venues throughout the country. This included the 'Tea Bowl' game played at the White City Stadium in 1944, and this was followed by the creation of the United States Armed Forces Europe (USAFE) league in 1946. This league consisted of teams from American military bases throughout Europe, with one of the league's three conferences made up of teams based in the UK – teams from this conference won the league championship thirteen times until the competition ceased in 1993.
The first teams open to British players were established in 1983, and competition began the following year in the form of a series of one-off games. The match results were compiled into a 'Merit Table', with teams playing more than three games eligible for the championship—the first champions were the London Ravens, who won all ten of their matches.
Tensions grew between the directors of British American Football League and those of the British American Football Association, the governing body throughout 2009 and at the beginning of 2010, BAFL formally, but unconstitutionally, withdrew from BAFA. This led to uproar from the teams within BAFL, ultimately signalling the end for BAFL as an entity. The league ceased operations on 1 April 2010. The league was replaced by the BAFA Community Leagues for the 2010 season. This organisation, run under the umbrella of the governing body, rebranded in 2011 to become the BAFA National Leagues. Hundreds of clubs have since been formed, playing both full contact football and flag football at senior, university and youth level. Many of these clubs have since folded, renamed or merged with other local teams, but a few of the older clubs survive today.
The BAFANL season format consists of a ten-game season for Premier Division teams and First Division teams, with 8 for Second Division. The League operates between April and August with play-off games usually running into September. The winner of top two teams from both the Premier Division North and Premier Division South make up the semi final in which they will play to win a place in the Britbowl. First and Second Division teams aim to win promotion to the division above by attempting to reach their respective play-off final. The team that finishes bottom of their Division are relegated to their Regional division below. (excluding Division Two)  Since 2014, The Britbowl winners will automatically qualify to play in the IFAF Europe Champions League for the following season. European games run aside the clubs domestic season. Prior to 2014 qualification was for the EFAF Cup.
The use of Stadiums in the BAFANL is scarce due to most clubs running on a tight budget. Most clubs operate from Rugby Union clubs, University facilities or High Schools however some teams do play inside stadiums which have seating capacities for spectators. The Britbowl itself has recently been played at Sixways Stadium in Worcester, while Division 1 and 2 finals are hosted at the South Leeds Stadium. At present the Halton Spartans ground share of the Select Security Stadium with Rugby league team Widnes Vikings constitutes as the highest capacity stadium within the BAFANL with 13,350 seats.
|Halton Spartans||Select Security Stadium||13,350|
|Manchester Titans||National Speedway Stadium||6,700|
|West Coast Trojans||Meadow Park||5,000|
|Leicester Falcons||De Montfort Park||4,329|
|Yorkshire Rams||South Leeds Stadium||4,000|
|Black Country Vipers||Stourton Park||3,500|
|Edinburgh Wolves||Meggetland Sports Complex||3,000|
|Northumberland Vikings||Druid Park||2,500|
|Nottingham Caesars||Harvey Hadden Stadium||1,600|
|London Olympians||Well Hall||1,550|
|London Blitz||Finsbury Park Stadium||1,500|
|East Kilbride Pirates||Braidholm||1,250|
|London Warriors||Frant Road||1,000|
|Farnham Knights||Wilkinson Way||1,100|
|Gateshead Senators||Monkton Stadium||1,000|
|Tamworth Phoenix||Pack Meadow||750|
|Glasgow Tigers||Lochinch Stadium||700|
|South Wales Warriors||The Dairy Field||700|
|Sandwell Steelers||Tipton Sports Academy||650|
|Ouse Valley Eagles||Bedford International Athletics Stadium||600|
|Oxford Saints||Tilsley Park||550|
|Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Beltane Park||500|
|Ipswich Cardinals||Northgate International Sports Centre||400|
The BAFA's Premier Division for the 2019 season comprises twelve teams, split into the North and South Divisions. Within each division each team plays each other twice. There will be 2 rounds of playoff football with the top ranked team in the North will host the second ranked team in the South whilst the top ranked team in the South will host the second ranked team in the North. The winners will then compete for the BritBowl. The team who finishes bottom of each division are relegated to Division 1 for the following season and are replaced by both of the Division 1 winners.
|Edinburgh Wolves||Edinburgh, Scotland||2002||Grey and Red|
|Leicester Falcons||Leicester, Leicestershire||2006||Green and White|
|Manchester Titans||Gorton, Manchester||2003||Royal Blue and Gold|
|Merseyside Nighthawks||Skelmersdale, Lancashire||1984||Black and Red|
|Sheffield Giants||Sheffield, South Yorkshire||2008||Sky Blue and Black|
|Tamworth Phoenix||Coleshill, Warwickshire||2004||Black and Orange|
|Bristol Aztecs||Filton, Bristol||1990||Grey and Orange|
|Farnham Knights||Farnham, Surrey||1985||Sky Blue and Red|
|Kent Exiles||Bromley, Kent||2004||Black and White|
|London Blitz||Finsbury Park, London||1995||Navy Blue and White|
|London Olympians||Eltham, London||1984||White and Burgundy|
|London Warriors||Thornton Heath, London||2007||Black and White|
For the 2018 season, the second tier has expanded to 24 teams, now divided into 4 conferences of six: the Northern North, Northern South, Southern Central and the Southern East. Each team plays the others in their conference twice during the regular season as well as all teams playing two opponents on three occasions. There is no inter-conference play until the playoffs.
Top 2 in each of the 4 conference enter North Semi Final & South Semi Final. N#1 v N#4 & N#2 v N#3 (Same in South). North Champ v South Champ for Div 1 Championship. The two teams reaching the final will both win promotion to the Premier.
NFC 1 NorthEdit
|Aberdeen Roughnecks||Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland||2012||Red and White|
|East Kilbride Pirates||Glasgow, Scotland||1985||Black and Red|
|Gateshead Senators||Jarrow, Tyneside||1985||Green and Orange|
|Glasgow Tigers||Glasgow, Scotland||1986||Orange and Black|
|Northumberland Vikings||Newcastle upon Tyne||2014||Black and Red|
|Yorkshire Rams||Leeds, West Yorkshire||1986||Black and White|
NFC 1 SouthEdit
|Chester Romans||Chester, Cheshire||1986||Red and White|
|Doncaster Mustangs||Doncaster, South Yorkshire||2002||Gold and Green|
|Lancashire Wolverines||Preston, Lancashire||1987||Black and Silver|
|Nottingham Caesars||Nottingham, Nottinghamshire||1984||Burgundy and Gold|
|Sandwell Steelers||Tipton, West Midlands||2013||Grey and Black|
|Shropshire Revolution||Telford, Shropshire||2006||Purple and White|
SFC 1 CentralEdit
|Berkshire Renegades||Reading, Berkshire||1985||Red and Black|
|Hertfordshire Cheetahs||St Albans, Hertfordshire||1986||Yellow and Black|
|Oxford Saints||Abingdon, Oxfordshire||1983||White and Navy Blue|
|Portsmouth Dreadnoughts||Portsmouth, Hampshire||2012||Navy Blue and Grey|
|Solent Thrashers||Southampton, Hampshire||2003||Grey and Gold|
|Sussex Thunder||Brighton, East Sussex||1997||Red and Blue|
SFC 1 SouthEdit
|Bury Saints||Thetford, Norfolk||2013||Gold and Green|
|Cambridgeshire Cats||Cambridge, Cambridgeshire||1984||Red and Black|
|Colchester Gladiators||Colchester, Essex||1983||Sky Blue and Yellow|
|London Hornets||Camden Town, London||2011||Black and Yellow|
|Ouse Valley Eagles||Bedford, Bedfordshire||2013||White and Grey|
|Wembley Stallions||Wembley, London||2013||Red and White|
The third tier consists of two conferences, the Northern and Southern Football Conferences, which are further geographically subdivided into three regions each: the NFC North, Central, and South, and the SFC West, South, and East. Each team plays the others in their region twice during the regular season. Within each conference, the playoffs are structured identically to the Division One system described above, with the NFC 2 Bowl and SFC 2 Bowl deciding separate champions.
NFC 2 NorthEdit
|Carlisle Sentinels||Carlisle, Cumbria||2014||Green and Black|
|Clyde Valley Blackhawks||Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, Scotland||2007||Gold and Black|
|Darlington Steam||Darlington, County Durham||2014||Black and White|
|Dumfries Hunters||Dumfries, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland||2014||Green and Black|
|Inverclyde Golliaths||Greenock, Renfrewshire||2016||Royal Blue and Black|
NFC 2 CentralEdit
|Furness Phantoms||Ulverston, Cumbria||2011||Green and Gold|
|Halton Spartans||Widnes, Cheshire||2014||Black and Green|
|Knottingley Raiders||Knottingley, West Yorkshire||2014||Black and White|
|Leeds Bobcats||Leeds, West Yorkshire||2008||White and Gold|
|Morecambe Bay Storm||Morecambe, Lancashire||2016||Black and Blue|
NFC 2 SouthEdit
|Birmingham Bulls||Erdington, Birmingham||1983||Black and White|
|Crewe Railroaders||Crewe, Cheshire||1984||Silver and Black|
|Humber Warhawks||Hull, East Yorkshire||2014||Grey and Red|
|Lincolnshire Bombers||North Hykeham, Lincoln, Lincolnshire||2005||Red and Black|
|Staffordshire Surge||Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire||2008||White and Blue|
SFC 2 WestEdit
|Bristol Apache||Filton, Bristol||1990||Orange and Black|
|Cornish Sharks||Newquay, Cornwall||2005||White and Gold|
|Somerset Wyverns||Taunton, Somerset||2017||Burgundy and Gold|
|South Wales Warriors||Llanharan, Mid Glamorgan, Wales||2001||Green and Black|
|Torbay Trojans||Torquay, Devon||1983||White and Black|
|Worcestershire Black Knights||Worcester, Worcestershire||2016||Black and Green|
SFC 2 SouthEdit
|Bournemouth Bobcats||Poole, Dorset||1985||Red and Black|
|Hastings Conquerors||Hastings, East Sussex||2012||Burgundy and White|
|Jurassic Coast Raptors||Weymouth, Dorset||2016||Green and White|
|London Blitz B||Finsbury Park, London||1995||White and Navy Blue|
|Swindon Storm||Swindon, Wiltshire||2012||Navy Blue and Gold|
SFC 2 EastEdit
|East Essex Sabres||Rayleigh, Essex||2016||Orange and White|
|East Kent Mavericks||Canterbury, Kent||2002||Red and Black|
|Essex Spartans||South Ockendon, Essex||1998||Black and Gold|
|Ipswich Cardinals||Ipswich, Suffolk||1986||Burgundy and Gold|
|Maidstone Pumas||Maidstone, Kent||1997||Black and Orange|
|Norwich Devils||Norwich, Norfolk||1984||Navy Blue and Yellow|
New teams must undergo an indefinite associate period before they are granted full member status of the national leagues. A number of criteria must be met, involving successfully completing a number of games, recruiting an amount of new players, proof of required finances and the creation of a club committee. Associate teams spend their seasons playing each other and League teams in what are essentially friendly fixtures. Some of the current Associate teams are also previous League teams that have dropped out of the BAFANL at some stage.
|Burnley Tornados||Burnley, Lancashire||2016||Claret and Blue|
|DC Presidents||Durham, County Durham||1985||Royal Blue and Red|
|Dundee Hurricanes||Dundee, Scotland||2002||Blue and White|
|Dunfermline Kings||Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland||2016||Purple and Gold|
|Hereford Stampede||Hereford, Hertfordshire||2016||Purple and Black|
|Highland Stags||Inverness, Scotland||2016||Green and Black|
|King’s Lynn Patriots||King’s Lynn, Norfolk||2016||Navy Blue and Gold|
|Northants Knights||Northampton, Northamptonshire||2016||Burgundy and White|
|Scunthorpe Alphas||Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire||2018||White and Navy Blue|
The Britbowl as well as the Divisional Play-off finals are live streamed on YouTube via DblCoverage.com and Onside Productions. The programmes feature in-game commentary and interviews. Onside began operating by streaming Nottingham Caesars games in 2016 before being brought on by DblCoverage.com to broadcast the National finals as well as Great Britain national American football team games 
DblCoverage.com is the largest British American Football-focused media outlet and community hub, featuring news, league results and standings for all formats of the contact game, as well as opinion articles and editorials.
Their social media pages represent the largest online community of British American Football players and fans.
Winners of the Britbowl since the BAFA National Leagues 2010 formation.
|London Warriors||2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019|
|London Blitz||2010, 2011, 2012|
Division One BowlEdit
In 2015 there was a separate Bowl final for both the Northern and Southern sections.
|East Kilbride Pirates||2011|
|Merseyside Nighthawks||2014, 2015|
Division Two BowlEdit
Each year there is both a Northern and Southern Bowl winner.
|South Wales Warriors||2019|
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- "Britbowl XXV Details Announced" (PDF). Inside American Football. July 2011. p. 14. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Dobson, Cathy (27 April 2010). "Two Sarnia war heroes to be honoured". Sarnia Observer. Archived from the original on 2017-10-03. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- Polvino, Andrew. "2009 USAFE Football Reunion Approaching Fast". Andrews Air Force Base: USAF Germany. Archived from the original on 3 October 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- "Military Football in the UK". Britball Now. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
- "1984 Table of Merit". London Blitz. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "All Time British American Football Tables – 1984". Britball Now. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "BAFANL Adult Contact Standings". BAFA National Leagues. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "BAFANL League Expansion – Update". Double Coverage. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "BAFA confirms National League 2016 structure". British American Football. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "BAFANL Standings 2016". Double Coverage. Archived from the original on 18 May 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
- Establishing a club
- BAFA Announces New 2017 League Alignments
- "Britbowl XXXIII games to be live streamed by BBC Sport". British American Football Association. Retrieved 6 September 2019.