FLAG FOOTBALL RULES IFAF 2021
Flag Football has a lot of additional definitions (no-running zones, middle, blitzer, shielding, contact, aiming, flag pulling, flag guarding, jumping, dipping, spinning, diving, right of place, right of way) and respective rules. On the other hand, there are no helmets, protective padding, kicks (kickoff, punt, field goal), blocking or tackling. All of this makes flag football a similar, but distinct, sport with more speed and fewer injuries. Overall, there is a general understanding that Flag Football is a speedy pass-orientated sport.
The total playing time shall be 40 minutes, divided into 2 halves of 20 minutes each, with a 2-minute intermission between halves.
If the score difference is 30 points or more at the Referee’s notification, the clock will not stop for situations it normally would do so for in the last 2 minutes.
The Referee will inform both teams at the Referee’s notification that the clock will no longer be stopped (running clock) for the remainder of the half.
After the referee’s notification, the status of the clock (standard or running) will not change even if the score difference goes below 30 or reaches 30 or more points.
All defensive players behind the line of scrimmage.
The offence must be set for at least a second.
One offensive player can start moving before the snap as long as it is not towards the line of scrimmage.
Up to 2 blitzes lined up 7 yards from the line of scrimmage may raise their hands to request right of way to the spot where the quarterback receives the snap. They must hold this signal for at least the last second before the snap.
False start & offside restrictions apply.
Contact must have an impact on the play or the contacted player to be called.
Incidental contact is not a foul.
If a player briefly grabs the opponent’s clothing and then immediately releases it, there is no foul, but if they prevent the runner from advancing or uses their grip for leverage to get to the flag, there is a foul.
It is crucial to identify which players are playing the ball and which are not
Inadvertent tangling of feet when both (or neither) players are playing the ball is not a foul.
RIGHT OF PLACE AND RIGHT OF WAY
If a player is standing still in a “normal” posture, they have right of place, all other players must avoid them.
Blitzers who have raised their arms for at least the last second before the snap have right of way and receivers must adjust their routes to avoid them.
Other than eligible blitzes, receivers running routes have right of way and must be allowed to run those routes.
Once the ball has been caught, defenders have right of way.
The ball carrier must avoid defenders.
If a player with RoW has to avoid a player without RoW, there is a foul for shielding, if there is contact then there will be a contact foul.
Flag Guarding, Jumping & Diving
Flag guarding is an attempt by the runner to avoid a flag pull by covering the flag with any part of the body (hand, elbow or leg) or with the ball. Flag guarding is also leaning the upper body forward (diving) or stretching out a hand, with or without the ball, towards the opponent to make it more difficult for the defender to reach the flag.
Jumping is an attempt by the runner to avoid a flag pull by gaining extra height compared to regular running.
Diving is an attempt by the runner to avoid a flag pull by the forward-leaning upper body, with or without jumping.
The field shall be a rectangular area with dimensions and lines as indicated in the diagram.
Measurements shall be from the inside edges of the lines. The goal line is part of the end zone. Field of play: length 50 yd (45,75 m), additional end zones 10 yd (9,15 m), width 25 yd (22,90 m). Total required space for one field including safety area: 76 yds (69,55 m) x 31 yds (28,40 m).
Width of lines: 4 inches (10 cm).
The 1 and 2-point try marks shall be 1 yd (0,90 m) long and the mid-points shall be 5 yds (4,57 m) and accordingly 10 yds (9,15 m) respectively from the middle of the goal lines. The no-running zones shall be marked with disc markers at the sideline and/or with a dashed line.
Pylons or disk markers shall be placed at the 8 intersections of the sidelines with the goal lines and end lines. Disk markers may be placed at the intersections of the sidelines with the middle line.
The safety area is 3 yd (2,75 m) outside the sidelines and end lines and needs to be on the same level as the field of play and in condition. If temporary lines are being used, they must be flat, solid and securely fixed to the ground with flat-headed spikes.
The no-running zones shall be marked with disc markers at the sideline and/or with a dashed line. Pylons or disk markers shall be placed at the 8 intersections of the sidelines with the goal lines and end lines. Disk markers may be placed at the intersections of the sidelines with the middle line. A visible scoreboard shall be operated near the field.
Flags may now not be required to be of a single colour but MUST contrast to all colours on the pants. Specific flag specifications introduced for the next edition onwards.
From the next edition, pants must be of a single colour except for branding and/or numbers on each leg with a maximum size of 10x10cm.
Shielding & Aiming Blocking has been renamed to Shielding.
Targeting has been renamed to Aiming.
Renamed to differentiate them from commonly-used football terminology.
If the score differential is 30 or more points when the clock is stopped for the referee’s notification at two minutes in either half, it will then continue to run even when it would normally stop inside two minutes (e.g. incomplete passes, out-of-bounds etc.).
The clock will only stop for administrative reasons (e.g. an injury) and will resume on the referee’s signal.
The clock status remains the same even if the score difference drops below or reaches 30 or higher during the final two minutes of the half.
No player shall intentionally contact an opponent or an official.
No player shall step, jump or stand on another player.
No player shall hold another player.
All stationary players have the right of place and opponents shall avoid contact.
The runner has no right of way and is fully charged with avoiding contact with opponents.
fAll offensive players have the right of way as long as a legal forward pass is still possible and defenders shall avoid contact. When the forward pass is in the air all players have the right to play the ball, but not by aiming (playing through) an opponent.
All blitzes rushing according to the rule have the right of way and offensive players shall avoid contact.
Pass interference is physical contact on a legal forward pass play up to the point where the pass is touched by a player or falls incomplete.
Pass interference is a contact that interferes with an opponent whilst the ball is in the air. It is the responsibility of the defender to avoid the opponents.
It is not passed interference when 2 or more eligible players are making a simultaneous and fair
attempt to touch, bat or catch the pass.
Eligible players of either team have equal rights to the ball, but it is the responsibility of the player in the disadvantageous position to avoid the opponent.
SUMMARY OF PENALTIES
LEGEND: “O” refers to officials signal number; “R-S-A” is the rule with section and article number,
“E” refers to the enforcement spot.
AUTOMATIC FIRST DOWN (AFD)
Defensive pass interference [also 10 yards]
illegal contact by defense [also 10 yards]
Game interference by defense [also 10 yards]
LOSS OF A DOWN (LOD)
Delay of pass
Illegal backward pass [also 5 yards]
Illegal forward pass [also 5 yards]
Offensive pass interference [also 10 yards]
Jumping or diving [also 5 yards] Flag guarding [also 5 yards]
LOSS OF 5 YARDS
Illegal kick by runner
Delay of game
Encroachment, false start
Illegal shift, illegal motion, illegal run, illegal run play Offside, disconcerting signals, illegal Blitzer signal
Illegal hand-off [also LOD]
Illegal backward pass [also LOD]
Illegal forward pass [also LOD]
Jumping or diving [also LOD]
Flag guarding [also LOD] Illegal flag pull
Illegal kicking a pass
Charged timeout without a timeout left
LOSS OF 10 YARDS
Offensive pass interference [also LOD]
Defensive pass interference [also AFD]
Illegal contact [also AFD]
Game interference [also AFD]
OFFICIAL FLAG FOOTBALL RULES SIGNALS
You can find them here. https://www.ifaf.org/downloads/FlagRules2021.pdf