SURREY FLAG FOOTBALL LEAGUE– RULES & REGULATIONS / PLAYER CODE OF CONDUCT
UPDATED – January 18, 2022
PLAYER EQUIPMENT & DRESS CODE – CLICK HERE
ALL CALLS / PENALTIES ARE SUBJECT TO REFEREE DISCRETION
Surrey Flag Football League is a Non-Contact League. Types of contact considered to be unacceptable include, but are not limited to:
- Contact to the arm, hand, or any part of the upper body of a QB. (roughing the passer).
- Running directly into an opposing player without ANY attempt to avoid a collision. (both offence and defence) *Reminder* If a defender has their feet planted and the offensive player runs directly into their path, the offensive player will be penalized.
- ‘Head shots’ or any contact above the chest will no longer be tolerated and will result in play suspension or immediate ejection and may be followed by possible disciplinary action. (Intentional or not)
- Purposely tripping, shoving or otherwise forcing a player to the ground through body contact will be considered deliberate and will be penalized by rule of Roughing or Unnecessary Roughness (15 yards). The penalized player may be asked to sit off for a minimum of 3 plays. (Referee discretion).
- Defensive players that run directly into the path of an offensive player without any attempt of avoidance, without an attempt to flag the offensive player or cause a collision, may be penalized by rule of Roughness or Unnecessary Roughness (15 yards). The penalized player may be asked to sit off for a minimum of 3 plays. (Referee discretion).
- ALL players are responsible for keeping their bodies under full control while engaging in a football play. Failure to do so may cause serious injury to you or another player and will result in disciplinary action.
Please remember, this sport is competitive but is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. Each and every member of this league has a life away from the field and we want all players to be safe and play safe at all times. Incidental contact may sometimes be unavoidable and may not always constitute a penalty. Please be aware of this and play as safe as possible.
- Format: Seven vs Seven
- Standard Co-ed format is four male and three female players
* Please refer to substitution section regarding special roster situations
- Field Size: Length – Eighty yards (240 feet – measured from goal line to goal line) with an end-zone 10 yards (30 feet) deep. Total Length = 100 yards (300 feet).
Width–Fifty yards (165 feet – measured from sideline to sideline).
- Game Length: Four quarters – fifteen minutes each. Referees will give both teams a two-minute warning at the end of the second and fourth quarters. Referees shall announce a minimum of one final play prior to the end of each half. (Note: kick-offs and converts do not count as plays).
- Time Outs: Two 30 second time outs per half for a total of four timeouts in a game. A team may not exceed two timeouts in one half.
- Line of Scrimmage (Where played stopped or as indicated by referee)
- Rushers bag (Five yards from the line of scrimmage.
- First down (Ten yards from the line of scrimmage at start of each possession).
- To minimize interference and confusion, there should not be anyone on the sidelines within 15 yards of the end zone on the side of the field on which play is taking place.
- Ball: The ball must be either a CFL, NFL or Junior size ball (no nerf/toy footballs allowed). The ball may not be altered in any way.
Table of Scores
Convert – Five yards
Convert – Ten yards
Starting the Game
Note: Offense will be referred to as Team A,
Defense will be referred to as Team B
- Games will start at the scheduled time. Referee may allow delay of up to ten minutes at their discretion.
- If a team does not have a minimum of five players on the field for the start of the game, and 6 players by half-time, they shall forfeit the game by a score of six to zero (6-0).
– A team that forfeits without providing the league ample time to make schedule adjustments (48 hours) agrees to pay a NON-NEGOTIABLE fine of $100.00
- Before the start of the game, the referee will toss a coin in the presence of both team captains (or designated representative). The away captain will call heads or tails prior to the flip:
- Coin toss choices are as follows:
- receive the kick-off
- defend one end of the field
- defer their choice until the second half
- The remaining choices will be made available to the opposing captain in the second half of the game.
- At the start of the game, officials will verify with team captains whether or not their teams are properly equipped to play. Please note that if a player is found with illegal equipment during the game a five-yard delay-of-game penalty will be levied against the team and the player will be sent off the field until properly equipped. The following are some examples of improper equipment:
- Shorts/pants with pockets, any upper body clothing with pockets, metal studded cleats etc…
SECTION 1 – RULES
1.1 General Rules:
- The team with possession of the ball has three opportunities (downs) to make it to the first down marker or score a touchdown by catching or running the ball passed the goal line. They may also choose to kick/punt the ball at any time.
- Team A has thirty seconds to snap the ball once time has been whistled in by the referee.
- A player may be in motion prior to the start of the play, provided they do not cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
- Direct snap plays are permitted; however, the ball carrier must be at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage when the snapped is received.
- Quarterback (QB) run plays are also permitted, however, the QB must be at least five yards behind the line of scrimmage when the ball is received.
- The ball carrier can make a spinning move, provided he/she is not guarding the flags with hands or arms (Guarding).
- The ball carrier cannot use their hands or arms to deflect a defensive player attempting to flag the ball carrier (Guarding). This is a non-penalty foul to be treated as a dead ball from the point of infraction.
- The ball carrier cannot leave their feet to avoid being flagged or dive in a forward motion to gain extra yardage (Diving). This is a non-penalty foul to be treated as a dead ball from the point of infraction.
- The spot of the ball will be the determining factor when determining where the play ended. This means that players are allowed to reach with the ball to gain yardage, provided they do not dive.
- All players on the field are eligible receivers.
- No “Sleeper” plays at any time during the game. During the huddle, offensive players must be five yards or more away from the sideline. Once the huddle has broken, offensive players may line up as close to the sideline as they want. Any activity (time out, penalty, substitution etc.) intended to deceive the opposing team and force them out of position is considered unsportsmanlike and will not be tolerated. This will be called at the referee’s discretion and given a penalty of fifteen yards.
- A player may not advance the ball without proper equipment, therefore, if a player loses a flag while carrying the ball, the play will be called dead by the referee at the spot where the flag fell off. This DOES NOT include hats or gloves falling off of a player while running. However, if the ball carrier has a towel, glove or any other item attached to their flag belt or hanging from their shorts, it will be considered a flag and called as such if it is pulled out by the defending team. A player may still catch a ball with only one flag, however, once they catch the ball, the play will be called dead at the point of reception.
1.2 Mercy Rule
– To keep Surrey Flag Football a competitive and fair place to play for all involved, a mercy rule will be enforced when the score of any game becomes unreachable for one opponent. Unreachable is defined by the league as ‘any score with a differential of 40 or more points at the beginning of the 4th quarter.’ The referee will ask the captain of the losing team if they wish to continue. If they do not, the game will conclude at that point. If they choose to continue, the game will resume as normal.
- The ball will be kicked from the fifteen-yard line.
- The opposing team must be lined up no closer than the half way point of the field (45-yard line).
- On-side kicks are not permitted.
- Off-side kicks (the ball is kicked out of bounds) will result in a re-kick with a 5-yard penalty or the receiving team may choose to take the ball where it went out of bounds.
- A receiver of a punt or kick-off must be given a buffer space of five yards by the opposing team in order to cleanly receive the kick. If a team fails to give the receiver space to receive the ball, a TEN-YARD, NO YARDS penalty will be given.
Note: The receiving team may opt instead to have the kicking team re-kick the ball from five yards further away. (Kickoff only)
- A receiver cannot project a ball forward when attempting to receive a kick.
- A touch-back will be called when a ball that has been kicked from the tee goes straight through the opposing team’s end-zone and out of bounds without hitting the ground. Play will resume at the ten-yard line. No points are awarded.
- A receiver of a punt must be given a buffer space of five yards by the opposing team in order to cleanly receive the kick. If a team fails to give the receiver space to receive the ball, a ten-yard NO YARDS penalty will be given.
- A receiver cannot project a ball forward when attempting to receive a punt.
- A punt can be performed on any down by Team A.
- A point is awarded to the punting team if: 1) A ball is punted through the opposing end-zone into the out of bounds surrounding area. 2) If the ball lays in the end-zone as a delay by the receiving team for more than 3 seconds. 3) If the ball is played and the receiver fails to exit the end-zone with the ball and is flagged. Also known as a Rouge.
- * THE BALL MAY BE KICKED FROM ANY POINT ON THE PLAYING FILED ON ANY DOWN. *
Conversions are considered live plays, therefore, should the defense intercept the ball and return it to the offensive team’s end-zone, they will be awarded the applicable points dependent upon the play being performed (1 or 2 points).
*A team is not required to go for a conversion if they choose not too.
- For a catch to be valid, a receiver must have control of the ball, at least one foot on the ground, and at least one foot inside the sidelines. Jumping is allowed when adjusting to catch a high throw.
- If at any point during a catch the ball touches the ground before the receiver has full control of it, the catch will be considered incomplete.
1.7 Rushing the Quarterback:
- A team may send up to three players to rush the quarterback. Rushers must line up behind the five-yard marker. The rusher must be given the right of way when advancing on the quarterback and must not be impeded.
- The rusher must line up a minimum of one yard to the side of the feet of the center to minimize any potential obstruction. Additionally, the center must utilize all reasonable means to avoid the rusher – failure to do so will result in an obstruction penalty.
- Note: In circumstances where the center has lined up correctly, but found themselves unable to reasonably avoid the rusher (i.e. the center snapped the ball and ran straight forward but the rusher ran a diagonal to intercept the quarterback and collided with the center anyway) the referee may exercise their discretion and decide not to give a penalty based on the situation.
- If the rusher changes sides after the center has established the rushers position prior to the snap of the ball, the rusher will no longer have right-of-way if impeded by the center.
- When a hand-off takes place behind the line of scrimmage in a forward motion, the ball may not be thrown downfield by the ball carrier.
- When a hand-off takes place behind the line of scrimmage in a backward motion, the ball carrier may throw downfield.
- If a fake hand-off takes place in front of the QB and in any way impedes the defensive rusher, an obstruction penalty will be called.
SECTION 2 – PENALTIES
2.1 Offensive Penalties:
- Intentional Grounding: Loss of down, from where the pass was thrown.
- Delay of Game – Five yards (repeat down)
- False Start – Five yards (Dead ball foul, no options, repeat down)
- Rusher Interference: -Ten yards (repeat down)
- Offensive Pass Interference: – 10 yard loss from the line of scrimmage and a loss of down.
- Illegal Offense (Picking): – Five yards
- Diving (Dead ball from spot of non-yardage foul)
- Roughing – Fifteen yards (from spot of infraction)
- Charging – Ten yards (from point of infraction)
- Illegal forward pass (Dead Ball from where the ball was thrown illegally; the equivalence of a forward lateral pass)
2.2 Defensive Penalties:
- Offside: – Five yards live-ball foul
- Offside Rush – Five yards (repeat down)
- Roughing the Passer: – Fifteen yards (Automatic 1st down)
- Rough Flag: – Ten yards
- Illegal contact: – Ten yards from line of scrimmage
- Defensive Pass Interference: – The penalty for defensive pass interference is an automatic first down at the spot of the foul. If the foul occurs in the end zone, the ball will be placed at the one-yard line (or half the distance to the goal if the line of scrimmage was already inside the 1-yard line).
2.3 Pass interference
- Pass interference can only be called if the ball is in the air.
- Not playing the ball – Contact by a defender (who is not playing the ball) that impedes or restricts the receiver’s opportunity to make the catch.
- If he/she does not impede or restrict the receiver, or if the pass is uncatchable, it is not pass interference, but it may be illegal contact (ten yards from line of scrimmage).
- Playing through an opponent – Playing through an opponent (i.e. contacting he/she in the back or on the side of he/she furthest from the ball), even if attempting to play the ball. If the contact is deliberate, this is pass interference (spot foul / Automatic First Down).
- Grabbing the receiver’s arm, taking away the opportunity to catch the ball (defensive holding five-yard penalty).
- Making contact while extending an arm across the receiver’s body to impede their ability to catch a pass (pass interference).
- Cutting off the path of a receiver. It does not matter if contact is made, or if the receiver is (shadowed) blocked, it is still a foul (illegal contact).
- Hooking the receiver around the waist that causes he/she body to turn prior to the ball arriving, even if the defender is trying to get to the ball (pass interference).
- Pushing off – Initiating contact with an opponent by shoving or pushing off, thus creating a separation in an attempt to catch a pass (offensive pass interference).
- Driving through an opponent who has established a position on the field. If the contact is deliberate (possible offense or defense pass interference).
2.4 Actions that do not constitute pass interference include:
- Incidental contact – moving to the ball that does not affect the route of the receiver in any way. If in doubt as to whether the route was affected, there is no interference.
- Inadvertent tangling of feet when both (or neither) players are playing the ball.
- Contact occurs during a pass that is clearly uncatchable, however, there may be illegal contact, even if the pass is uncatchable
- It is not pass interference if the defensive player touches the ball before contacting the opponent, remember that the defense has as much right to the ball as the offense
- While the pass is in flight, is the only time pass interference foul can be called.
- Contact away from the play can be called, eg. unnecessary roughness.
2.5 Blocking/shadow blocking
- A block has occurred when a player, without making contact, impedes the progress of an opponent. If an offensive player (shadow) blocks for the runner, the foul is called at the point of attack.
- If a defensive player (shadow) blocks an opponent who is running a pass pattern, illegal contact, if the ball is in the air, this is pass interference.
- If the receiver is forced out of bounds by the block and returns immediately, he is still eligible to be the first to touch a forward pass.
- If the receiver goes out of bounds on his own, and comes back in the field of play, he cannot be the first to touch the ball.
- Surrey Flag Football is non-contact However, this does not mean that any contact between opponents during play is automatically illegal (official’s discretion).
SECTION 3 – GAME CONDITIONS
3.1 Play Clock:
The clock will only be stopped under the following circumstances:
- Following a conversion. The clock will stop until the ball has been received following the kick-off.
- A player is injured and unable to continue playing. In this case the play will be whistled dead by the referee and the clock will resume once the player has been taken off of the field. The player must sit for a minimum of 2 plays.
- During a timeout called by either team.
- During a referee’s timeout.
*If the game reaches the fourth quarter and is out of reach for any one particular team, without instating the mercy rule, the referee may, at their discretion, choose to run the clock without enforcing the stop clock after a conversion.
3.2 Player Uniforms:
- Shorts/Pants CAN NOT have pockets. Improperly attired players will incur a “delay of game penalty” for their team – they will lose 5 yards and the offending player must leave the field until they obtain the proper equipment. Taped pockets and shorts/pants worn inside-out are NOT acceptable.
- Surrey Flag Football League recommends wearing cleats, gloves, some sort of head protection, and that you remove any jewelry before a game. (Note: cleats with metal studs are not permitted).
SECTION 4 – PLAYER CODE OF CONDUCT / DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS
4.1 PLAYER CONDUCT:
- Any player on or off the field who touches or threatens anyone, including a game official or sideline judge will be automatically ejected and could face further disciplinary action at the discretion of the league and its officials.
4.2 EJECTIONS / SUSPENSIONS:
To keep Surrey Flag Football League competitive, fun and safe, players may be disciplined for ANY behavior that is contrary to our rules and code of conduct.
ALL final disciplinary decisions will be at the discretion of league administrators and are not open for discussion.
*Please note that Surrey Flag Football League reserves the right to determine what level of discipline is suitable for ANY misconducts or infractions that take place on and around the field of play– including suspension, ejection or fine.
Surrey Flag Football League takes multiple suspensions very seriously, receiving more than 1 suspension a season WILL result in a suspension for the season or ejection from the league. Flag Football can get competitive but we expect all players to respect their fellow players, the referees, league officials, and the sport.
- Any player ejected from a game is automatically suspended from future play until an administration meeting (with or without captains) occurs, and only when the administration grants reinstatement.
- Ejected players are no longer eligible to continue playing and must vacate the field.
- Offences that may result in an ejection include:
- Violent flagrant fouls.
- Any continued agitation or provocation toward anyone on the field.
- Any player who touches or threatens an Official or League representative.
- Players may be asked to sit out for a specific number of plays. Usually 2 or 3 but could be asked to sit out for a maximum of 5 plays. (Kick-off plays do not count as a play sat).
A player may be ejected from a league game at the discretion of the referee however, this does not always constitute a suspension.
4.3 PUNISHABLE MISCONDUCT:
Objectionable Conduct – (Minor/Major at referee’s discretion)
Intent to Injure
Examples of disciplinary measures:
Fines (applicable to any player or team at league’s discretion)
Disciplinary measures apply to ALL individuals on and off of the field – this includes both players and referees. Sidelines and seating areas surrounding the field of play ARE included.
4.4 UNFAIR AND UNSPORTSMANLIKE ACTS
- Any obvious unfair or unsportsmanlike act not specifically covered by the rule book may be grounds for ejection or disqualification – made at the discretion of the Head Referee.
- Additionally, a Referee may enforce any penalty he considers suitable if a team or player is repeatedly committing fouls.
4.5 Personal fouls and prohibited acts will include (yet not limited to):
- Deliberate contact with an opponent.
- Unnecessary roughness of any nature.
- Defenders cannot contact the arm/head of the passer. (Ten yards and automatic first down)
- A ball carrier deliberately running into a defensive player.
- A defensive player deliberately running into the ball carrier.
- Abusive, racial remarks, derogatory terms or insulting language.
- Any acts of unfair play.
- Coaches, or others on the field of play, during a play.
- Unduly interfering with a player while the ball is live.
- Intentionally pulling or removing the flags from a player without the ball.
- Any other flagrant, deliberate, or violent act outside the bounds of good sportsmanship.
*Penalties: Unsportsmanlike, Roughing, Unnecessary Roughness 15 yards
*Objectionable Conduct – 10 yards (2 per player a game w/possible ejection or fine after 2nd) at referee discretion.
4.6 Field Etiquette: GARBAGE
- Our Policy is garbage in, garbage out. Once you’re at the field, your team is responsible for cleaning up any mess that may have occurred in your area.
- Any mess left by your team that the League has to clean up will be billed to your team. Our trash pick-up rates are $40.00 PER OFFENCE regardless of the size of the mess left.
- Remember that our fields are city parks. Please dispose of anything that could be harmful to children after your game. Also, no urinating/defecating on school or park property as this can constitute a fine. The League will do its best to provide washroom access at the fields.
Surrey Flag Football League promotes fairness, equality and respect in a safe and friendly atmosphere. If the league, at the administrations discretion, deems there to be enough reason, fines may be applied to any member(s) or team(s) of Surrey Flag Football League for a number of infractions that go against its rules and guidelines.
Fines are NON-NEGOTIABLE and are required to be paid in full prior to the next game played by the penalized player(s) or team(s). If fines are not paid, the player(s) or team(s) in question will not be eligible to play the next game. If it is a team fine, the team in question will forfeit their next game.
The following are examples and guidelines of potential penalty fines:
Type of infraction
Missed Sideline Duty-Late without notice (Team)
$25.00 per sideline official
Garbage Clean up (Team) (Minimum fine)
Objectionable Conduct (Ejection) – Minor (Player or Team)
(3 strike rule may apply at referee and admin discretion.)
Objectionable Conduct (Ejection) – Major (Player or Team) Fine may be applied at referee and admin discretion.
Team Absence without notice
– A team that forfeits without providing the league ample time to make schedule adjustments (48 hours) shall pay a NON-NEGOTIABLE fine of $100.00
SECTION 5 – TEAM/ROSTER
During regular season play, if any team is short of 7 players, the team in question may utilize substitute players as long as they are not currently registered to play for any other SFFL team. (Substitute players MUST complete a SFFL waiver form prior to playing).
Co-Ed Division- In the event that external substitutes are not available, a team may utilize female players from other teams to fill out their roster positions to a maximum of 7. A team may not borrow male players from other teams at any time unless agreed upon by the opposing team. (Playoffs excluded)
There will be a MAXIMUM of 20 players allowed per team roster. If players are added to the team roster as replacement and in doing so the roster exceeds 20, the replaced players must be identified by the captains to the league which will permanently scratch them from game play contention for the remainder of the current season.
ALL rosters will be frozen 2 games prior to playoffs. (NO exceptions)
5.2 Playoff Eligibility:
To qualify to play in the Surrey Flag Football League playoffs, a player MUST have played a minimum of 2 regular season games for their respective team. Players with valid reasons as to why they were not able to play the requisite amount of games during the season must contact the league for a decision regarding their eligibility to play. Please note that all situations will be dealt with on a case by case basis with the final decision being made by League Representatives.
*If a rostered player is injured or unavailable at times throughout the season but could potentially be available for playoffs, that player MUST be present at the league minimum of 3 regular season games to be eligible. The player in question MUST also remain on your active roster through the season.
*Please note that you may NOT borrow any players from other SFFL teams, women included, during playoffs. If you are short on players for playoffs you can play short or, request a substitute female player from outside the league. You may NOT pick up more than enough players to fulfill a 7-person fielded team (No spares). Please plan your playoff roster well in advance.
*Exceptions may be made in the case of player injury only.