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CFL Rules



Revised Mar 8, 2023




The Christian Fellowship League (CFL) was formed in 1980 to create fellowship among Christians in all areas of sports.  Since 1980 the CFL has continually progressed in growth, spiritual fellowship, church closeness, and in its effort to create sports programs that build fellowship among brothers in the body of Christ.


A.    The by-laws, rules and regulations, and formats of the CFL

must be followed at all times to provide consistent and accurate programs.


B.     The teams that participate in the CFL must at all times keep the fellowship

                             of the body of Christ in focus for the understanding and development of the CFL.



·       Contact is made by playing out of control.  Injuries can be prevented by playing under control.



·       Any player heard using foul language by the referees or CFL Board.  See penalty rule.  If a team Coach/Captain voluntarily pulls himself or a teammate that is using foul language before the referee imposing the penalty, this player can be replaced for the 6 plays.



·       Any player that is consistently using language or gestures who sole purpose is to taunt or belittle the opposing team, or who’s loud and/or obnoxious behavior is deemed inappropriate will be charged with excessive taunting. The first offense will be considered a warning. If the behavior continues unabated, the referee will impose a penalty per the penalty rule below.


FIGHTING (Physical Contact)

·       1st offense – result in suspension from the league for a minimum of 7 games.

·       2nd offense – result in suspension from the league entirely

* Note:  Playoff games count towards 7 game suspension. Party of the second offense must come before the CFL Board for reinstatement.



·       Anyone clearly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance at the field will be suspended from the league for 10 games.  Playoff games count toward the 7-game suspension.  The party of a 2nd offense must come before the CFL Board for possible reinstatement.








·        As a courtesy to other players and fans, smoking is prohibited.



·        A player must play a minimum of five (5) games of a regular season or that player will not be eligible for playoffs.  If an injured player attends any games and signs in, it will be counted as a played game. Players are required to sign-in as proof of their attendance. This and only this can be used as proof of attendance.



·        A player who gets out of hand (at the discretion of the referees or CFL Board) with taunting, arguing, or any other actions that are unsportsmanlike will sit out for the next 6 plays of the game.  If the same player’s actions continue on the sidelines, or when that player re-enters the game, the player will be ejected from the game and must leave the fields.  Any player ejected from two (2) games will be suspended from the league for ten (10) games.  Playoff games count toward the ten (10) game suspension.  The player must come before the CFL Board for reinstatement.  If a player has been taken out 3-6 play ejections throughout the season it will result in an automatic one (1) game suspension.  The CFL Board reviews all individual players conduct throughout the year for eligibility requirements for the next season.



·        If a player is sent out for six (6) plays by the referee or CFL Board, that player CANNOT be replaced until the 6 plays have expired.  However, if a player is ejected from the game, that player CAN be replaced.



·        As a safety precaution, anyone who has suffered a bleeding injury during a game WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO CONTINUE playing until the injury has been taken care of.  First-aid kit will be available.


·        All players not in the field of play must stay behind the 10 yard line (10 yards from the end zone).  This is to ensure referees have clear view of the end zone and sideline players do not interfere with the game.














1-A The offense consists of 6 players:  center and 5 other players.  A minimum of 2 players (center and a receiver) must be on the line of scrimmage. All players can be on the line, and all are eligible to receive and/or throw passes. For coed teams, there can never be more than three men on the field.


1-B INTERCEPTIONS can be returned. When the defense intercepts the ball and the flag is pulled, the defense’s offense takes over at the spot the flag was pulled.  If the defense intercepts the ball and runs the ball to the endzone they score. If a player intercepts the ball in the end zone and attempts to run it out, but is downed before leaving the end zone, it is a touchback.  If player runs out of the end zone with the interception, he must stay out.  If the player returns to the end zone after initially leaving the end zone and is downed, it will be a safety. For Coed, extra point tries can be returned for 2 pts.


1-C FUMBLES – If the ball makes contact with the ground in any circumstances, the ball is considered dead at that spot and the play ends. 


1-D POSSESSIONS – 70 plays per game (60 plays for tournaments), 35 plays in each half (25 plays for tournaments). Penalties will be counted as plays if the play is in progress. For coed play of any version of play were extra points plays are allowed, the extra point try is not counted as a play.


*Example: If the ball has NOT been snapped, and a penalty occurs it does NOT count as a play.


1-E TIME OUTS – Each team gets 2, thirty (30) second time outs per half.


1-F START OF GAME – The team that wins the coin toss has choice of:

(1) Whether to receive the ball or not OR (2) which goal to defend

(2)  If choice 1 is selected, the other team then has option 2 or vice versa.

*Note: depending on the choices made at the coin toss, the second half begins with the opposite situation in effect.


1-G HALF TIME – 5 minutes.


1-H END OF GAME – The game is over when the allotted number of plays is exhausted.  The team with the most points is declared the winner.  If the teams are tied at the end of the game then overtime will be declared. The game cannot end on a defensive penalty.  The referee also has the discretion to call the game if there is a risk of an injury, or any unsportsmanlike conduct.


1-I OVERTIME – There are no blitzes or timeouts during overtime.  Overtime will begin without a coin toss.  The team that won the toss at the beginning of regulation will start with the ball.  The ball is placed on the defense 10-yard line.  The offensive gets one play to score.  The opposing team then gets the ball, and they have one play to score.  The team that successfully scores then stops the other team from scoring wins.  If the game remains tied after three overtime possessions for each team the game is declared a tie. In the case of a playoff game, there is no overtime possession limit. Overtime will continue until a winner is declared.  If an interception occurs and is returned for a touchdown, the game ends and the intercepting team wins.


1-J FORFEITS – A team must have at least 4 players to play a game.  If not, a 5-minute delay will be granted.  The official clock will start; the games must stay on schedule.  If after 5-minutes, there are still not enough players the game will be declared a forfeit. 


1-K INTERRUPTIONS – Officials for the game may agree to interrupt the game because of inclement weather.  When/if the game is resumed, if either team has left (even if leading) the game shall be declared a forfeit by the team at fault.  Half a game completed is an official game.


1-L TEAM FEES – Team Fees will be stated at the time of registration. A $100.00 minimum deposit is due by the registration deadline.  Additionally, teams must pay in full by the third game.  NO REFUNDS. The CFL will post a full season schedule and try to meet those number of games.  However, the CFL cannot control the weather and games can and will be cancelled in order finish the regular season. One day tournaments will be rescheduled or cancelled. (full refunds will be given for any cancellations)


1-M FLAG PULLING – One flag must be pulled to stop a play, and the ball is spotted where the ball is located at the time the flag was pulled.  If a player loses a flag during the play, the player is downed when the defensive player touches the runner.  Runners are not allowed to block the defensive player’s hands from pulling the flags (flag guarding) or the offensive player is downed at that point.  At the beginning of each play, flags must be on each side of the hips. If the flag belt is not tightened and the flags are not on each side, when the player catches the ball the player is downed when the defensive player touches the runner.

           * Note:  Offensive runners should carry the ball above the waist unless running in the open field.

            *Note:  As a courtesy, please hand flags back to the other player.


1-N PLAY STOPS - In general, a play is considered over when a team scores, at least one flag is pulled, at least one knee touches the ground, or any part of the ball makes contact with the ground.


1-O TOUCHDOWN – Ball must cross the goal line.  No diving into the end zone.  A touchdown counts as 1 point.  There are no extra point tries. For coed scoring 6 pts if a man score. 7 pts if a woman score. There are extra points for coed, one point for men and two points for women.


1-P SAFETY – In the event that the defense pulls the opposing player’s flag in their own end zone then a Safety is declared.  At that point, the ball is placed on the opposing team’s 5 yard line and the team that scored the Safety gets one play to score a point.  If they score a TD, they will be awarded one point.  After the safety play is complete, the team that scored the Safety will get the ball on their 5-yard line.  An interception during a safety attempt is considered a dead ball and cannot be returned. For coed, the team is awarded 2 pts and the scoring team gets possession of the ball on their own five yard line.


1-Q HUDDLES – Teams must break the huddle with six players.  It is the offense responsibility to retrieve the ball and return it to the line of scrimmage. Once the referee has established the line of scrimmage, the offense has 25 seconds to get the ball snapped or it is a loss of that down. The offense can set the ball on the ground or take the ball to the huddle.  THE QUARTERBACK WILL BE WARNED WHEN THERE IS 10 SECONDS REMAINING TO GET THE SNAP OFF. 


1-R PUNTING – Can be done on any down.  Once a punt is declared, the defense will take possession of the ball on their own 5 yard line.


1-S ONSIDE PLAY RULE - After you score a touchdown, instead of giving the ball back to the opposing team, you can declare an onside play.  To declare an onside play:

     1. It must be second half

     2. You must be behind by 1 or more points

* Note: Once you declare an onside play, the ball will be placed on your own 5-yard line.  You have one play to make it to midfield (first down marker).  If you make it, then you keep the ball and the game resumes as normal.  If you don’t make it, then the ball is placed at your further point of completion and the ball is turned over to the opposing team.  So, if you throw an incomplete pass, then the opposing teams get the ball on the 5-yard line.  You can declare an onside play as many times as you wish as long as you are trailing by 1 or more points.  An onside play cannot end on a defensive penalty.  In the event of a defensive penalty during an onside play, the penalty is assessed, (either a spot foul or repeat the play) and the offensive is allowed another attempt to complete the onside play.


1-T FLAGS – General flags will be supplied by the CFL league. Teams may use their own flags if they are popper style flags. Flags must be 12” in length. No other flag types will be allowed. (Velcro, triple threats, etc.)


1-U UNIFORMS – TOPS All jerseys must be the same color.  Jerseys must be tucked in at all times.  NO HALF JERSEYS.  Offensive jerseys can be disallowed at any time by any CFL Board member.  SHORTS AND PANTSShorts or pants cannot have pockets. If you have pockets, they must be sewn shut or bound in such a way as to keep players from accidently dislocating their fingers while attempting to pull flags.


1-V TEAM NAMES –teams names are allowed as long as the name is appropriate and not controversial. The CFL board reserves the right disallow any team name. It is the responsibility of the team coach to obtain approval prior to the start of the league play.


1-W BALL SIZE – Only NFL and Collegiate ball sizes that are leather or synthetic leather are allowed. No junior or pee wee ball sizes are allowed. (Sizes 11 to 13 lbs.)


1-X SUBSTITUTIONS – Unlimited substitutions are allowed.


1-Y FINAL ROSTER 1 – Team rosters are limited to 12 players.  Each player MUST sign-in at the beginning of their regular season game and sign in a minimum of 5 times to qualify for the playoffs.  If injury causes a lack of players (5 or less) that team can add a player(s) not already on another team roster, not to exceed 6 players.  If an injured player returns, the new player can continue playing in the regular season, but must play in at least 3 games to be eligible for the playoffs.  Once a player has signed the roster for a team, that player cannot change teams for the rest of the season. If an illegal player is discovery before the game starts, that player will be required to sit. If an illegal player is discovered during or after the game is over, that game is considered a forfeit against the offending team.

FINAL ROSTER 2 – No player is allowed to play on any other team in any game at any time.  If a player plays on another team that player must serves a 2 game suspension (including playoffs) before they are allowed to return to their original team.  (Team recruiting that player will forfeit that game).


1-Z POST SEASON PLAY - There will always be some form of playoffs in every league or tournament. Playoffs will be determined by the number of teams registered to play at the start of the season and can be adjusted at the board discretion; however, the playoffs structure will be posted by the 3rd week. For the tournaments, the playoffs will always be the top four finishers based on the tournaments playoff eligibility criteria which will be determined before the tournament begins.


1-AA The CFL organization reserves the right to photograph and record players/teams for player recognition and marketing.



2-A The QB is designated as the first player to receive the ball from the center cannot cross the line of scrimmage unless the defense blitzes.


2-B The QB has 2.5 seconds before the rusher(s) can come across the line of scrimmage.


2-C QB cannot run the ball across the line of scrimmage unless he is blitzed.  If done so, the ball is downed at that point (a loss of that down). No two forward passes over the line of scrimmage. Note:  Forward passes can be thrown more than once behind the line of scrimmage, but once the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage, you cannot throw the ball forward again.


2-D The QB has 7 seconds from the snap of the ball to get the ball into play (pass, hand-off, or pitch) or he is down at that point.  The ball to be placed at the original line of scrimmage.


2-E If the QB gives the ball to another player behind the line of scrimmage, that player can run or pass the ball, but has unlimited time to complete the play. The QB must make a full exchange to another player in order for the option to be legitimate. No tip backs.


2-F INTENTIONAL GROUNDING – QB must have receiver in the general vicinity, and the ball must pass the line of scrimmage.  If not, the penalty is loss of down, the ball is placed at the spot of infraction and the defense will be awarded a sack.  If it happens in the end zone, it will be declared a safety.



3-A The center is an eligible receiver.


3-B The center must snap the ball from the side, not from between the legs.  His legs must be split at least 1 yard apart to create the line of scrimmage for the other players.  Penalty- illegal formation (loss of that down).



4-A The receivers can line up on the line of scrimmage in any fashion as long as at least one receiver has one foot between the center’s self-made line of scrimmage.


4-B One receiver can go in motion but cannot head up field until the ball has been snapped (Penalty:  loss of the down).


4-C A receiver can run a pass pattern, but if the defensive back is stationary, the receiver must go around or change the pass pattern without making contact.  If the defensive back is moving, then he must allow the receiver to run the pass pattern without making contact.


4-D A receiver can set up a non-moving pick 3 yards in the area of the defenders.


4-E A receiver cannot create a moving pick that hinders the defensive back the right to get position on the ball, nor can he create a check pick, which is when the receiver uses his arms and/or hands to slow or prevent the defender from getting the ball.


4-F A receiver must come down with at least one foot inbounds to be considered a completed reception.    A reception is not considered complete if the receiver is unintentionally forced out of bounds.


4-G Receiver must line up at least 3 yards from the out of bounds line.          


4-H A receiver cannot go out of bounds without being forced out and then return to the field of play to complete a catch.


4-I Running and pitching, such as an option play and/or in an option pass pitch, the player must stop.

*Note:  The option must be done with the receiver of the option beside or behind the player creating the option.  A forward lateral will stop play at the spot of the infraction.  Ball is placed at that spot.  The option runner must stop running at the moment or it is considered a block and the player is downed at the point.


4-J RUNNING THE BALL – When running the ball, the runner must avoid making contact with the other players, He cannot hurdle or dive with the ball.  He can leave his feet only in a manner not harmful to others.  Jumping side to side and backwards is okay, but only jumping forward is not allowed to avoid injury.



5-A The defense consists of 6 players that can line up in any formation, such as man-to-man, zone, or man-zone, and rush as many players as they desire.


5-B The defensive player must give the right-of-way to the offensive player to run the pass pattern, unless the defensive player(s) are stationary.


5-C Defensive players being picked must play under control to keep from injury and to be able to go around the pick and complete the defensive play; unless the offensive player is running a moving pick, the official will stop the play at that point.  All picks must be stationary before the runner crosses the line of scrimmage.


5-D Defensive players must not make contact by coming across the arm, hitting the body, or coming across the back.  These defensive positions can be made as long as the contact is not included.  If the defensive player has gotten the position, then this rule applies to the offensive player.



6-A The rusher must have an unobstructed route to the QB. Any offense player that (whether intentionally or unintentionally) interferes with the path of the rusher will be penalized with impeding the rusher.


6-B The defense can rush as many players as needed.  But no defensive player can cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is put into play.  Otherwise, it is considered to be defensive offside.


6-C The rusher(s) must pull the QB’s flag to down him.  If the QB is in the process of releasing the ball (arm is moving forward) before the flag is pulled, then the QB is not considered down. The rusher(s) cannot cross the line of scrimmage until the 2.5 second whistle has been blown, unless the QB hands off, pitches, or shuttle passes the ball.  If the rusher crosses before the 2.5 second whistle, then the defense will be charged one blitz.  The 2.5 second whistle will blow on every play.

*Note:  the 2.5 seconds start when the ball is snapped.


6-D The rusher(s) cannot line up right in front of the center.  He must give a 1 yard radius around the center before the snap of the ball.

*Note:  No contact is allowed.


6-E Roughing the passer is defined as:  Making contact in such a way that may result in injury (arm, head, face, leg whip, etc.)  If flagrant, this will result in ejection from the game and/or suspension from the league.


6-F Blitzing:  Defense can blitz as many players as needed.  There are 5 blitzes per game.  A blitz is defined as leaving before the 2.5 seconds. If the rusher(s) comes across the line of scrimmage before 2.5 seconds it will be counted as one of the team blitzes.  Be aware that if the defense blitzes, the QB is eligible to run or pass.

*Note:  If the defensive has used up their allotted number of blitzes and you blitz, the QB is still eligible to run or pass.  The play will be allowed to continue, and the offensive will have the choice to take the result of the play or repeat the down. If there are 10 plays left in the half or the game, then the offense will have one play added back on the play counter unless the offense declines the penalty. Continuing to blitz when the defense is out of blitzes will result in an unsportsmanlike penalty.



7-A The defensive backs cannot bump off the line or go through the receiver to make a play.


7-B The defensive back must let the offensive players run the pass patterns, unless the defensive back is stationary, then the offensive players must run the pass patterns around the defensive players.

*Note:  No contact is allowed.


7-C The defensive backs cannot strip the ball from the offensive players.

*Note:  The hands and arms are not considered part of the ball.
























1)     NON-FLAGRANT CONTACT-Incidental contact is made and cannot be avoided; no penalty is assessed.


2)     FLAGRANT CONTACT WITHOUT INTENT – Offensive penalty:  Is a loss of down plus and extra down.  *Example:  1st becomes 3rd, 2nd becomes 4th, 3rd becomes 1st for the other team, unless a 1st down is gained.  Then, defense has choice of either accepting the play as it stands, but the down becomes 3rd instead of 1st, or replaying the down from the original line of scrimmage.  Defensive penalty:  Automatic 1st down or result of play.


3)     FLAGRANT CONTACT WITH INTENT – Contact is purposely done.  That player is ejected from the game and will be brought before the CFL Board for ejection from the league.  Penalty assessment is the same as Article D2


ARTICLE B-1           

DEAD BALL PENALTIES (play stops, loss of that down)

1)     Flag Guarding

2)     Jumping or diving

3)     Illegal forward pass by the QB

4)     Moving Picks/Blocking

5)     Shoulder/Head dips (Non-Flagrant)

6)     Forward Lateral

7)     QB Delay (7 Seconds)




OFFENSIVE (Loss of down)

1)     Offensive offsides

2)     Illegal formation (two men not on the line of scrimmage)

3)     Illegal motion/False Start

4)     Delay of game

5)     Illegal reception (player stepped out and stepped back in and was the first person to touch the ball 

6)     Illegal huddle



DEFENSIVE (Offensive gains a down)

1)     Defensive offside *Note: Offense can gain 1st and five if infraction happens on the offenses' 1st down.

2)     Delay of game



DEFENSIVE (Repeat the down)

1)     Illegal rush (defense out of blitzes)

2)     Illegal Flag pull (Intentionally pulling the flag of a player who is not the ball carrier)



OFFENSIVE (Loss of that down plus one extra down, 1st goes to 3rd, 2nd goes to 4th, 3rd or 4th is an automatic turnover)

1)     Offensive holding

2)     Offensive Pass Interference

3)     Illegal Contact

4)     Illegal forward pass by Non-QB

5)     Intentional grounding

6)     Illegal Pick play/impeding the rusher

7)     Shoulder/Head dips (Flagrant)


ARTICLE D-2          

DEFENSIVE (Automatic first down, ball placed at the line of scrimmage)

1)     Defensive holding/Illegal contact before ball is released

2)     Roughing the Passer (If the QB is hit (face, head, arm etc.) non-flagrantly or flagrantly, it is considered roughing the passer.)


ARTICLE D-3         

DEFENSIVE (Automatic first down, ball placed at the spot of infraction)

1)     Defensive Pass interference

2)     Tackling (non-flagrant or flagrant)

3)     Defensive holding on ball carrier

*Note: Offense can gain 1st and five if infraction happens if the ball carrier picks up a first down on the same play.

4)     Stripping




1)     No spiking is allowed.  Penalty:  Add or lose a down for the penalized team.  EXCEPTION:  If spiking after a touchdown the offensive team starts their possession at mid-field.  Also, on the last play of the game, the offensive team gets one play from mid-field; the game cannot end on a spiking penalty.




1)     Any Player using foul language on the field of play will have to sit for six plays. That player cannot be replaced. The team will have to play short for the duration of the penalty. If the foul language was heard but its undetermined who said it, the team captain or Coach must sit one player of his choosing for six plays. A team Coach/Captain voluntarily pulls himself or a teammate that is using foul language before the referee imposing the penalty, this player can be replaced for the 6 plays.







LENGTH:        60 YARDS


TOTAL:           80 YARDS

WIDTH:          40 YARDS

First down markers, one on each side, are placed at the middle of the field.  Goal line markers, one on each side, are placed at the front of each end zone.


1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)

Do you know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training.  They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.