INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF AMERICAN FOOTBALL FOOTBALL RULES AND INTERPRETATIONS 2020 EDITION

Foreword

The rules are revised each year by IFAF to improve the sport's level of safety and quality of play, and to clarify the meaning and intent of rules where needed. The principles that govern all rule changes are that they must:

IFAF statutes require all member federations to play by IFAF rules, except in the following regards:

  1. national federations may adapt Rule 1 to meet local needs and circumstances, provided no adaption reduces the safety of the players or other participants;
  2. competitions may adjust the rules according to (a) the age group of the participants and (b) the gender of the participants;
  3. competition authorities have the right to amend certain specific rules (listed on page 12);
  4. national federations may restrict the above so that the same regulations apply to all competitions under their jurisdiction.

These rules apply to all IFAF organised competitions and take effect from 1st March 2020. National federations may adopt them earlier for their domestic competitions.

For brevity, male pronouns are used extensively in this book, but the rules are equally applicable to female and male participants.

Table of Contents

Rules changes..........................................................4 Points of emphasis.....................................................6 The Football Code......................................................9 Rules and Interpretations.............................................12 Rule 1 -- The Game, Field, Players and Equipment....................14 Rule 2 -- Definitions...............................................29 Rule 3 -- Periods, Time Factors and Substitutions...................48 Rule 4 -- Ball in Play, Dead Ball, Out of Bounds....................68 Rule 5 -- Series of Downs, Line to Gain.............................74 Rule 6 -- Kicks.....................................................78 Rule 7 -- Snapping and Passing the Ball.............................93 Rule 8 -- Scoring..................................................110 Rule 9 -- Conduct of Players and Others Subject to the Rules.......119 Rule 10 -- Penalty Enforcement.....................................141 Rule 11 -- The Officials: Jurisdiction and Duties..................150 Rule 12 -- Video judge.............................................151 Summary of penalties.................................................155 Officials' Signals...................................................164 Appendix A -- Guidelines for Game Officials for Serious On-Field Player Injuries167 Appendix B -- Guidelines for Game Officials and Game Management To Use Regarding Lightning168 Appendix C -- Concussions............................................170 Appendix D -- Field Diagrams.........................................172 Appendix E -- Equipment: Additional Details..........................178 Index of Rules and Interpretations...................................183


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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee
rules@bafra.org