International American Football Officials Association

Questions and answers about IAFOA

With any new organisation there are bound to be lots of questions about what its aims are. Here's our attempt to answer some of them. Email us if you have any others.



What is the primary purpose of IAFOA?

The primary purpose of IAFOA is to establish qualifications for its members, and to provide the necessary education and training resources for that.

The secondary purpose is to provide continuing professional development (CPD) for its members, for example via discussion of plays on video and the distribution of training material.

Our (provisional) objectives are here.

Is IAFOA trying to take over from IFAF?

Absolutely not. IAFOA is purely an officials association dedicated to improving standards of officiating. We will be working closely with IFAF to enable their games to have the best quality officials.

Who is running IAFOA?

Currently, it is being led by Jim Briggs (Great Britain), assisted by David Sinclair (Australia) and Martin Mikkelsen (Denmark).

All positions of responsibility will ultimately be decided by the members. This structure is only temporary.

How will IAFOA deliver training to its members?

We anticipate that most will be delivered online. We are currently talking to a number of individuals and organisations who may be able to help us with that.

Initially, our online forum provides an excellent opportunity for members to discuss rules and mechanics, and to review video.

Who can be a member of IAFOA?

Anyone who is an American football official.

Our focus in setting up IAFOA was to ensure that the next generation of officials, whether they want to work international games or not, are given access to the best possible training and leadership from those officials who currently do work international games. This applies even in countries that do not currently have any internationally recognised officials.

What rules and mechanics will IAFOA be focusing on?

We will focus on IFAF rules (and the NCAA rules they are based on) and IAFOA mechanics.

An IFAF 2016 rule change (11-2-2) now mandates use of the Manual of Football Officiating, published by IAFOA. There is a Point of Emphasis on this in the 2016 rulebook. There is also a memo on the topic. IAFOA is taking over formal responsibility for the Manual from BAFRA.

Where was the idea for IAFOA raised?

This was something discussed by the officiating group at the IFAF World Championships in Canton last summer (2015). A steering group was set up to discuss ideas and a smaller group is taking those forward.

How can I join IAFOA?

Register with the forum at

Your registration will be accepted provided:

  • your profile displays your real name (e.g. "Jim Briggs") and your country of residence - this is so everyone knows who you are: this is not a forum for anonymous posts
  • you provide us with your email address
  • we believe you are an American football official

How can I get even more involved?

If you want to get more involved, please let us know:

  • how you think you can help
  • what experience/skills you can bring

We are always looking for people to take on new roles, on a temporary or permanent basis.