February 22, 2006

New CFL rule recommendations

Three amended/new rules to be recommended by Rules Committee for Board approval

Toronto, Ontario – The Canadian Football League (CFL) announced today a summary of the proposed rule changes which were reviewed and agreed upon by the CFL Rules Committee this afternoon during 2006 CFL Congress. The following recommendations will be presented to the CFL Board of Governors for ratification before the end of April.

1. Allowing Head Coach to call Team time outs

Rule 1 Section 7 Article 5 (a) (Page 15)

Reword (a) to read

The team time out may be requested by any player on the field, or the Head Coach, and may be directed to any official on the field

Rationale – very often team time outs are used strategically to stop the clock and have it restart on the next snap. Since the Head Coach determines such strategy, he should be allowed to request the team time out.

2. Hands to the face

Rule 4 Section 3 (NEW) Article 4 (Page 30)

Add Article 4

Neither Team A nor Team B may use hands open or closed to provide leverage against the face mask of an opponent.

Rationale – For player safety, this rule change will prevent both clubs from using leverage on face masks.

3. No yards penalties

Rule 5 Section 4 Article 1 (Page 37)

Reword entire article to read as follows

When on a kick from scrimmage (ball crosses the line of scrimmage), or on an open-field kick, a player who is offside in relation to the kicker:

(a) shall not touch or be touched by the ball

Penalty – in field of play – L 15 from PBT (point ball touched)

– in goal area – L 15, penalty applied at 10 yard line

(b) (1) shall allow five yards to an opponent attempting to gain possession of the kicked ball. The five-yard zone is determined by a circle with a five yard radius, with the centre point being the ball at the instant it is first touched.

Penalty – in field of play – L 15 from PBT

– in goal area – L 15, penalty applied at 10 yard line

(b) (2) if the ball struck the ground before being touched by the receiving team

Penalty – in field of play – L 5 from PBT

– in goal area – L 5, penalty applied at 10 yard line

(b) (3) if a kicking team player is making no attempt to withdrawal from the five yard zone, a 15 yard penalty will apply regardless whether the ball bounced

(c) shall not interfere with a receiving team player attempting to gain possession of the kicked ball, with or without contact

Penalty – L 15 from normal point of application

(d) a player of the kicking team who invades the five-yard zone, and contacts a receiving team player who is attempting to play the ball in an unnecessarily rough manner, will be subject to an additional 15 or 25 yard penalty, regardless of whether the ball had struck the ground.

Rationale – A rewrite of the entire article to simplify and clarify each of the five possible scenarios involved. The intent of the rule is to allow a receiving team player the opportunity to play the ball with the protection of a five-yard zone in which to do so.

When a ball has bounced players routinely and deliberately invade the five-yard zone, believing that the only penalty that will apply is a 5 yard No Yards foul. Players will interfere with a receiver by hovering over the ball or a player attempting to field the ball without contact, interfering with the returner's concentration and inhibiting his opportunity to play the ball, protected in the 5 yard zone.

Players will also invade the five-yard zone and contact a player prior to his touching the ball.

Interference with a kick receiver, with or without contact, should result in a 15 yard penalty.

If a returner is contacted in an unnecessarily rough manner by a player who is inside the zone prior to the touching of the ball, then a double penalty of 15 yards for No Yards; and 15 yards for Unnecessary Roughness or 25 yards for Rough Play; should be applied.

About the Canadian Football League

The Canadian Football League (CFL) operates in nine leading cities across Canada. Building on a strong past toward a stronger future, the CFL celebrates Canada's game with fans across the nation. The 94th Grey Cup will be played in Winnipeg, Manitoba on November 19, 2006.