The 2013-14 membership year has seen an overall growth in BAFA membership as more people have taken part in sanctioned competitions.
The recently concluded student league grew at over 5% as more than 4, 300 people took part in university competition.
The flag football competitions saw growth of over 50% whilst adult contact football posted growth figures of 12%.
The embryonic women’s game continues to grow considerably following the launch of the Opal and Sapphire Series events and the successful player development days.
Successful recruitment events held in conjunction with the NFL have seen more people take up officiating.
BAFA Chair Charles Macnamara welcomed the growth figures and paid tribute to those working in teams across the country. ‘We are delighted to see that the sport continues to grow across the country’ he said. ‘We are grateful to all those who work tirelessly with teams to provide more people with opportunities to take part in this great sport.’
BAFA Director Andy Fuller also welcomed the figures ‘We are pleased that there are further positive signs of growth across the sport’.
Fuller continued ‘We are aware however, that there is considerable work to be done to ensure that we continue to build structures which support sustainable growth and development. We recognise that there has not been pronounced growth across the u19 age range this year and that many teams remain fragile. To these ends we have modified our competitions for 2014 and we will continue to look at ways in which we can add to our traditional structures to provide enhanced support to aid stability and greater opportunity for engagement – be it through new competitions and activities or modified versions of the game.
The 2013-14 year didn’t just see positives come out of the competition entry numbers. Innovative football schemes around the country proved very successful in providing even more young people with a high quality football experience.
The Leeds Academy of American Football and the South East Youth American Football Federation demonstrated that the sport can be enjoyed by hundreds of young people within and beyond the curriculum, and the Highland Academy Community League, emulating models of good practice from inside and outside of the sport, proved that localised competition and development programmes can thrive.