Category: Officiating

Posts related to Officiating activities

Youth 2020: Volunteers and Officials Needed

AFI requires volunteers and officials for the upcoming 2020 youth season, which sees the next generation of American football players take to the field and compete – do your part to help facilitate the games!

Games will take place on 20th Sep, 4th Oct & 18th Oct from 1pm to 5pm at the Sport Ireland Campus, Dublin. Volunteer roles include chain crew, scoreboard operator, camera persons as well as officials.

If you are interested in volunteering or officiating, please complete the form below. The form will close at 8pm on Thursday 17th Sep.

2020 Senior Kitted Season Cancelled

Statement from AFI Commissioner Brian Cleary “The AFI board held an online meeting to discuss the current ongoing situation and the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

It has been decided that the 2020 Senior Kitted season will be cancelled in its entirety. A number of factors were considered in making this tough decision. There remains uncertainty as to when this crisis will end, which makes it very difficult to publish a schedule that will allow for enough time to prepare and complete a season for our members. It may also prove very difficult to secure ambulance bookings for fixtures due to the increased workload of our front-line services. We are also very aware of the financial difficulties our clubs and members may be facing during this time and do not wish to add any more pressure than what they are already facing. Ultimately, we need to put our members physical and mental welfare first before football.

We will continue to monitor the situation and, if circumstances allow, we are open to the possibility of hosting a 2-3 week tournament at the end of the summer for clubs that wish to participate and have some form of kitted football in 2020.

With immediate effect all current Adult Kitted, Coaching, Officiating and Non-Playing memberships will be extended until 30th September 2021 and there will be no need to purchase or renew your membership for the 2021 season.

No decision has been made yet in relation to Youth and Flag football. We will continue to monitor the situation and liaise with our directors in the coming weeks and update you when we have a clearer picture on the possibility of the Youth and Flag seasons going ahead.

It is important to note that we have put our insurance on hold at this time and under no circumstances is any physical footballing activity to take place until further notice.

Please look after yourselves and your loved ones and we will continue to provide updates as the situation unfolds. If you have any queries please contact me at”

20×20: Kelly Dwyer

2019 saw female membership in IAFA rise to 57, with many females starting their football journey through kitted football, flag football, coaching, officiating and volunteering. We spoke with Kelly Dwyer on her experiences of being a member of IAFA and what her roles consist of.

What sparked your initial interest in American football?

“Stockholm syndrome, essentially! I had no interest at all until I did my undergrad in Limerick. During those years, the Vikings lads became some of my best friends, and some of them still are. They’re an absolute gas bunch! It was so much fun. It’s a great club, and without them being so welcoming, encouraging and sound, I never would have gotten involved.”

How did you get involved with your club/IAFA?

“I began ad hoc roles with the Vikings back in 2012. I began team officiating with them in either 2013 or 2014. In 2015, I was their director of officiating. There were new rules where officials had to have 2 years’ experience within IAFA and the level 1 course passed to officiate that year. It made it difficult to get my role done and I drove those boys mad that year. But we hit all our assignments, and that was my job! When I moved to Monaghan, I started full-time league officiating and sure, been at that since.”

What role(s) do you currently hold within your club/IAFA?

“I am a full-time official and the Officiating Appeals Manager. The officiating gets me traveling to different venues, meeting different people every weekend, which I love. Last year was the first year I officiated as White Cap. First game was Jets @ Razorbacks and it was rough (sorry lads!) but the others were ok!

The Appeals Manager is a new role that was created for the 2019 season. I developed a process so that appeals are now unbiased, effective and fair.”

What is the American football environment like in Ireland?

“It’s a small community so we all know each other. There’s rivalry between teams, absolute roasting’s, but that’s half the craic. It’s great fun and there’s respect behind it all. It’s not without its challenges, and game day can be stressful, but everyone on the field is there because we share a common interest. We’re working together to develop the sport. I love it, it challenges me and I feel like I’ve met so many great people.”

What advice would you have for a fellow female interested in getting involved in American football?

“Get it done. Gender is irrelevant. In terms of officiating, I get thanked, abused, roasted, praised, pretty much the same as any of my male counterparts.

There are obviously certain things that we (female officials) need that are different or additional to what the male officials need – privacy; female changing rooms, female bathroom etc.

But typically, teams don’t even bat an eyelid at the requirement to provide that. They’re aware, they’re sound and they get it. There are now more females involved in the sport than ever before, and they’re carrying out a variety of roles.

If you want to get involved and you’re going to affect the sport positively, just do it!”

Significant Increase In Membership 2018/19

2018/19 has been a stellar year for IAFA that’s seen a 31% increase in unique membership, with particularly strong growth at youth level, in female membership and officials. These statistics formed part of our Commissioners (interim, Brian Cleary) report at yesterday’s AGM.

Unique Members
% +/-

Overall memberships totalled 1774 – this includes members who took one more than one membership e.g. registered as an official and player.

Overall Memberships
% +/-


Youth football had huge growth this year, thanks to the addition of four new teams to the youth league. Youth football is key to the future of our sport and whilst IAFA is pleased with this increase, IAFA will continue to push this growth and encourages more clubs to join the youth league in 2020.

Officiating was another department that seen considerable growth. There have been changes made to the operations of the officiating department, including 5 new personnel appointed to help improve standards across the whole department. The success of this can be clearly seen, with an 81% rise in the amount of trained and registered officials.

Youth Kitted

IAFA is delighted with the increase in female membership, with members taking on roles across all areas including kitted and flag players, coaches, officials and volunteers (club and NGB level). IAFA has worked hard to increase the visibility of American football to females as part of Sport Irelands 20×20 strategy. IAFA will continue to strategize to increase female membership and welcomes all feedback to help with that strategy.

Slight decreases were noted in the number of senior kitted players and coaches – IAFA are working hard to address this to ensure that these increase next year.

Senior Kitted

Statistics collected using the IAFA registration system (Azolve).

Calling all (potential) referees

Have you ever sat at home watching the NFL or College Football and found yourself calling the penalties during a game? Why not put it into practice?

We are looking for new officials to join our panel of experienced referees. Officiating American Football in Ireland is open to men and women over the age of 18. Full training will be provided to you, no previous experience in the sport is required.

Officiating is a great way to get involved in the sport, stay active, meet new people and you will be paid a game fee for your services too!

Get in touch today for more information on how to become an official.

 Contact Us Here

Officiating: New Appointment

IAFA are delighted to announce that Stephen King has been appointed as Assistant Director of Officiating. Stephen is a keen supporter of American football and has experience as a soccer referee. Stephen was employed by the FAI as a referee program and development co-ordinator and we look forward to him bringing his vast knowledge and experience to help develop the Officiating Department.

Tony Rivers heads up major EFL fixture

Last Saturday saw the first fixture of the 2016 European Football League (EFL) take place. Tony Rivers, one of IAFA’s most experienced officials, was the head official in for this fixture. Tony led the five-person crew in a game that saw the Dracs beat the Panthers 46-41.

GFL tutors Christian and Heinz with Director of Officiating Derek Ward

Level 2 Officiating Clinic Review

Last weekend we held the the first phase of the Level 2 Officiating clinic in the Crowne Plaza Northwood. The course was tutored by Christian Henrich and Heinz Sauer from the German Football League (GFL). Both Christian and Heinz are extremely experienced officials, having officiated over 1,350 games between them. Christian and Heinz have also ran a number of officiating clinics throughout Europe.

GFL tutors Christian and Heinz with Director of Officiating Derek Ward
GFL tutors Christian Henrich and Heinz Sauer with Director of Officiating Derek Ward (middle)

20 IAFA officials attended the course, including both full-time officials and Team Provided Officials (TPOs) from clubs in the SBC and IAFL. This phase covered the theory of a number of officiating concepts including penalty enforcement, crew mechanics and expectations and how to improve the running of games. Director of Officiating Derek Ward commented, “I’d like to thank Christian and Heinz for travelling to Ireland to present this clinic. We constantly strive to improve the standard of officiating in Ireland, and clinics like this go a long way to ensuring Irish officials are some of the best in Europe”.

Last weekend’s clinic was the first phase of the multi-phase Level 2 course. Subsequent phases, which will cover more on-field training, will be announced in the coming weeks as well as a Level 1 officiating clinic for new officials.

Final Level 1 Officiating Clinic – Saturday 8th March

The final Clinic for this year will take place this Saturday at UL campus (details below).
Please advise your Team officials candidates of the details as this mail only goes to Team management contacts.
Thanks to all teams who attended Clinics at Dundalk and Dublin but there are several teams where no candidates have attended.


Saturday 8th March – Time 10:30 to 16:30
University of Limerick Campus
Shulman Building room S117
Google Coordinates    52.673175,-8.578348
Notes – no lunch supplied; car parking to be confirmed


All IAFA Team Management contacts were sent these details earlier this week.
Any queries – contact

Officiating Clinic this Saturday is CANCELLED

Due to the uncertain weather conditions for Friday & Saturday morning, I have decided to CANCEL the Clinic on Saturday.

This is to avoid travelling when the road conditions may not be ideal early on Saturday morning.

The Clinic will be re-arranged for the same venue – UL campus – on Sat 8th March at the same time – 10:30 start.

I will advise on the exact room when details come through from UL Vikings.

Flag Officiating Clinic & Tournament

A great turnout for an initial Flag Football Officaiting Clinic last Saturday. There were 24 registered participants but it seemed like more. If you didn’t complete a registration form, there is still time – Registration Form – Flag. Send completed form to .

Some of the documents used

Main Presentation – Flag Clinic

Rules – ifaf-flag-rules

Full Mechanics – flag_mechs_manual

Brief Mechanics – flag_mechanics_quickstart (this was copy given out on the day)

IAFOA Newsflash 25 July

News, Rules questions & Game Information

Newsflash 25 Jul

A timely Reminder of the rules relating to Lightning

Full detail in Appendix B of NCAA Rules

Key sections below

Suspend a game

a. As a minimum, lightning safety experts strongly recommend that by the time the monitor observes 30 seconds between seeing the lightning flash and hearing its associated thunder, all individuals should have left the athletics site and reached a safer structure or location.

Re-start a game

e. To resume athletics activities, lightning safety experts recommend waiting 30 minutes after both the last sound of thunder and last flash of lightning.

Please do not second guess these instructions.

Irish Referee to officiate in 2013 EuroBowl

For the second time in 3 years, an Irish Referee has been selected to officiate in Europes premier American football game, the EuroBowl.

Tony Rivers has been selected for this years game, which will be played in Innsbruck, Austria. The game will be televised on both national and international television across Europe.

IAFOA Newsflash 20 June

News, Rules questions & Game Information 

Reminder that we are into play-off in SBC and Overtime maybe required.

In Ireland, we now play NCAA overtime rules – here’s some key points

  • coin toss at beginning of overtime – options are offence/defence/end of field
  • series of two possessions from 25 yard line – highest score after series wins
  • one time out for each team in each period of overtime
    • unused timeouts do not carry over
  • possession ends with a score or offence not making 1st down
    • PAT is attempted after Touchdown
  • On 3rd and subsequent periods of overtime, teams scoring a touchdown must attempt a 2 pt PAT
  •          A 1pt PAT attempt by Team A will not score a point 

Newsflash 20 Jun  (updated at 21:20 Thursday 20th Jun)

(originally published Newsflash had parings for SBC Semi-Finals incorrectly listed – apologies from editor)