IFAF Flag Football Rules are based on Tackle rules, but kept short and simple. The structure will follow Tackle Rules, but the content and numbering will not always correspond. The Flag Football Rules Book covers everything to play Flag without knowing the Tackle rules. All important or special things have been determined and ruled. Only some specific information (e.g. specifications of ball) are not covered. If there is a need for more information you will have to look in the Tackle Rules Book (e.g. R 1-3-1).
As a coach or official you will need to understand the flag rules as a whole.
The Football Code of the IFAF Tackle Football Rules is an integral part of the Flag rules.
Flag football is non-contact. Blocking, tackling and kicking are not allowed.
The most important aspect of Flag Football is to avoid contact, it is to make the flags an easy target for the defense, but
in return to demand to pull it without contact.
If you have questions about the rules or interpretations, feel free to contact me and the Interpretations Club.
Wolfgang Geyer (AUT)
Member of IFAF Rules Committee
For national competition games it is possible to change rules as follows:
R 1-1-1 Field dimensions can be changed due to game site or age.
Length (excluding end zones) can be shortened to a minimum of 40 yd (36,60 m) or lengthened to a maximum of 60 yd (54,90 m), end zones can be shortened to a minimum of 8 yd (7,30 m) and width can be narrowed to a minimum of 20 yd (18, 30 m) or widened to a maximum of 30 yd (27,45 m).
Safety area cannot be altered.
It is possible either to reduce length and/or end zones and/or width or to extend length (end zones 10 yd) and/or width. It is not possible to reduce length and extend width or reverse.
Its recommended that if the field length is altered then the field width should be altered by half the amount by which the length is altered in order to maintain the relative field dimensions.
R 1-1-1 Minimum field markings are side lines, goal lines and end lines.
R 1-1-1 Pylons or disk markers are only recommended.
R 1-1-1 Down indicator is only recommended.
R 1-1-1 Score board is only recommended.
R 1-1-1 Team rosters can consist of more than 12 players.
R 1-1-1 Teams can have players of different sex.
R 1-1-4 Officials only recommended.
R 1-2-1 Game balls need not to be leather.
R 1-3-1 Flags need not to be pop-flags in youth games.
R 1-3-1 Mouthpiece only recommended.
R 1-3-2 Head wear could be legal, if it does not endanger or offend other players.
R 3-2-1 Playing time can be changed due to competition or age.
R 3-2-5 The lenght of the interval period where the clock will be stopped can be reduced from 2 to 1 minute.
R 3-3-2 Number of Timeouts can be changed.
Indoor Flag Football
Additional possible changes:
R 1-1-1 Field dimensions can be changed as big as the game site allows.
R 1-1-1 Marking of field will be made with pylons or disk markers.
R 1-3-1 Shoes must have flat, not colored, not rubbing off soles.
R 3-2-5 Clock stops only in the last minute of each half.
R 5-1-1 Series of downs can be reduced to 3 downs.
R 5-1-1 Middle line can be deleted (no first down possible).
All other rules are conduct rules and may not be altered.
Diagram of Field
The field shall be a rectangular area with dimensions and lines as indicated in the diagram.
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 is 76 yd (69,55 m) x 31 yd (28,40 m).
Measurements shall be from the inside edges of the lines (goal line is part of end zone), width of lines 4 inches (10 cm).
The no-running lines should be dashed. The 2-point-try mark should be 1 yard (0,90 m) long with the mid-point 12 yards (11,00 m) from the middle of the goal line.
Safety area is 3 yd (2,75 m) outside the side lines and the end lines. The safety area need not be marked.
If two fields are next to each other the minimum distance in between is 6 yd (5,50 m).
Pylons or disk markers shall be placed at the corners of the 8 intersections of the side lines with the goal lines and end lines.
Disk markers can be placed at the intersections of the side lines with the middle line and no-running lines.
A down indicator shall be operated 2 yards outside of one side line.
A visible score board shall be operated near the field.