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2023 Flag Football Rules

The purpose of our flag football program is to introduce athletes aged 6-9 to the game with a minimum 
of body contact taking place. Players will learn the fundamentals in a fun environment. Our goal is to 
create a love of the game of Football. 

Overall Rules 
Where an aspect of the game has not been addressed in the proceding text the "2023 The Canadian 
Amateur Rule Book - Flag Football” for 5 aside shall apply. 

Each player will be supplied with a T-shirt that is to be worn as the team unif orm. Children are permitted to keep 
these shirts at the end of the season.
All players will wear a belt to which "flags" are attached . Players are tackled by having one of these 
flags pulled off.
It is recommended that each child wear football or soccer cleats to improve their maneuverability and 
prevent injuries. Cleats with metal tips are not permitted.

Game Length    
All games will be preceded by a practice/warm-up of about 20 minutes. 
Game will consist of two, 20 minute halves at straight time, followed by “5 last plays” at the end of each 

The half time break will be about 5 minutes. 
The official will give a two minute warning at the 18 minute mark letting the teams know that there are 2 
minutes until the last 5 plays. At the 20 minute mark the official will announce last 5 plays. These 5 plays 
will take place regardless of scoring or turnover.  

NOTE: If an accepted penalty occurs and the down is to be replayed an additional play will be added to 
the 5 last plays. For example: A penalty occurs on 2nd of the “Last 5 Plays” and is accepted resulting in 
a replay of down, the replayed down is still considered the “2nd play of the last 5 plays”

2023 Flag Football Rules

Clock Stopage 
The clock should only stop for 1 of the following reason
1)  Coach Time Out each coach will have 2, one minute time outs per half
2)  Officials Time Out
3)  Injury Time Out
If a team has a lead of more than 21 points then the clock will run straight without stoppage. 

Number of Players
Each team will have 6 players on the field at any time.  
The offense must always have two ends and a center on the line of scrimmage 
All Offensive player are eligible receivers. 

Offensive Plays
Teams will attempt both running and passing plays. A team will have 5 downs to score. The offence 
must throw a legal forward pass on at least one of the first four downs in each series of downs. 
Failure to do so will result in an "Illegal Procedure" penalty. A 5 yard penalty will be applied and the 
down repeated. The offensive team will still be obligated to pass the ball again after the penalty has 
been applied.

Officials will not stop play until the ball is dead. Attempting to pass and getting sacked will not satisfy this 
rule. The ball must be thrown as legal forward pass. Forward passes thrown behind the line of 
scrimmage and towards the sideline area must travel at least 10 yards and cross the line of scrimmage 
to satisfy this rule. A lateral pass will not satisfy this rule.

The defensive team has the option to decline the penalty, let the play stand and bring up fifth down. The 
offensive team can run the ball on fifth down.

When on offence and positioned 5 yards or less from the opponents end zone only pass plays are 
allowed. This area is the considered the No Run Zone. The same definition of what constitute a forward 
plass apply here. 

Ball Carrier 
On each of the first 4 downs a different player must carry the ball or be the target of a pass. On 
5th down any player can carry the ball or be the target of a pass.

2023 Flag Football Rules

Blocking is not permitted
Because the players are not wearing any protective equipment, coaches must be on guard to keep this 
body contact under control. Penalties should be called quickly when unnecessary roughness occurs.

Play Clock
From the time the referee blows time in, a team will have 60 seconds to put the ball in play.  

On all plays only one defensive player is permitted to rush the passer. The rusher must be at least 7 
yards off the line of scrimmage. 

Physical Contact
Defenders are not permitted to physically tackle ball carriers. They are not allowed to deliberately throw 
or push offensive players and at no time are defenders allowed to have physical contact with pass 

Because the players are not wearing any protective equipment, coaches must be on guard to keep body 
contact to a minimum. Penalties should be called quickly when unnecessary roughness occurs. Players 
who continually practice rough play may be ejected from the game.

A convert is worth 1 point
A team may attempt a convert either by running or passing. 
All converts shall start from 10 yards out of the end zone.

2023 Flag Football Rules

Ball carriers are tackled by having one flag pulled off either hip. 
Ball carriers are not permitted to shield flags with their hands or to bat away defenders hands from their 
flags. If they do they will be ruled to have been tackled at the point where the infraction occurred.
Tacklers cannot grab the ball carrier's shirt to slow him down before pulling off his flags. They are not 
permitted to grab his belt or arms. If a ball carrier is deliberately tripped or knocked down in the course 
of being tackled a 10 yard unnecessary roughness penalty will automatically be applied. 
Ball carriers are not permitted to push tacklers away or to contact them with their hands. Ball carriers are 
not allowed to swat away tacklers hands reaching for their flags. If they do the Referee will blow the play 
dead where the infraction occurred.

Tacklers are not permitted to make physical contact with ball carriers other than attempting to pull off 

Players who physically tackle ball carriers rather than making a reasonable attempt to pull the flag may 
be subject to ejection from the game.

Players are not considered tackled until a flag has been pulled. Falling down or being knocked down 
does not constitute a tackle and play should continue until a flag is removed.

When a ball is fumbled due to physical contact with the ball carrier by a defensive player the ball will be 
considered dead and possession retained by the offensive team. Defensive players are not permitted to 
strip the ball from ball carriers.

Equal Play Rule
Each player will play one half of the game on offence and one half on defence. The switch will 
take place at half time. Where a team has less than 12 players one or more players will have to 
remain on the field when possession of the ball changes. This should be done through a rotation 
that maintains equal play for all. No players are permitted to play the entire game. 


2023 Flag Football Rules

Unnecessary Roughness - Anything that results in a player being deliberately knocked to the ground. 
10 yards. Use normal paces of the coach of the benefiting team. If the penalty results from a deliberate 
physical tackle that prevented a certain touchdown from being scored the referee may award the score 
to the offensive team.

Rough Play - Where a player has more than one deliberate Unnecessary Roughness penalty in a game 
a 25 yard penalty will be applied and the offending player ejected from the game.
Illegal Procedure - Offense must have a center and two ends on the line of scrimmage. Players cannot 
move before ball is snapped. 5 yards. Repeat down. Defense may decline penalty.

Offside - Defence cannot cross line of scrimmage before ball is snapped. 5 yards. Repeat down. 
Offense may decline penalty.

Holding - Offensive Players cannot hold defenders or push them with an open hand. Ball carrier is 
deemed tackled where the infraction occurred. 10 yards back from point of infraction or line of 
scrimmage if infraction occurred behind line of scrimmage. Repeat down if infraction behind line of 
scrimmage. Defence may decline penalty.

Run Interference - Non ball carriers on the offense are not to deliberately impede a defensive players 
path to the ball carrier. If infraction occurs it will be 10 yards back from the spot of the infraction or 10 
yards back from the line of scrimmage if it happens behind the line of scrimmage. Repeat Down. 
Defense can decline the penalty 

Pass Interference - Neither pass receivers nor defenders can push one another on pass routes. Pass 
will be deemed complete where infraction occurred if defender interfered. Pass will be deemed 
incomplete if receiver interfered. 10 yards added on to completion if defensive interference. 10 yards 
back from line of scrimmage if offensive player interfered. Repeat down on offensive interference. 
Defence may decline penalty.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Taunting opposing players or using foul language. 10 yard penalty.

Click HERE for a Printable version of the above rules.