RULE 1 The Game, Field, Players and Equipment

SECTION 1. General Provisions

The Game

ARTICLE 1. a. The game shall be played between two teams of no more than 11 players each, on a rectangular field and with an inflated ball having the shape of a prolate spheroid.

b. A team legally may play with fewer than 11 players but is penalised if the following requirements are not met:

1. At least four Team A players are on either side of the kicker when the ball is free-kicked (Rule 6-1-2).

2. At the snap, at least seven men are on the offensive scrimmage line, with not less than five numbered 50-79 (Rules 2-20-2, 2-26-4 and 7-1-3-b-1) (Exception: Rule 1-4-2-b). A.R. 1-4-2:I-V

Goal Lines

ARTICLE 2. Goal lines, one for each team, shall be established at opposite ends of the field of play, and each team shall be allowed opportunities to advance the ball across the other team's goal line by running, passing or kicking it.

Winning Team and Final Score

ARTICLE 3. a. The teams shall be awarded points for scoring according to rule and, unless the game is forfeited, the team having the larger score at the end of the game, including extra periods, shall be the winning team.

b. The game is ended and the score is final when the referee so declares (Rule 1-1-4-c).


ARTICLE 4. a. The game shall be played under the supervision of either four, five, six or seven officials: a referee, an umpire, a linesman, a line judge, a back judge, a field judge and a side judge. The use of a back judge, field judge and side judge is optional. The game may be played under the supervision of three officials under exceptional circumstances such as injury or delay in travel.

b. Officiating crews will be assigned from the same officiating organisation.

c. The officials' jurisdiction begins five minutes before the scheduled kickoff and ends when, after the final period, the referee leaves the field.

Team Captains


a. Each team shall designate to the referee no more than four players as its field captain(s), and one player at a time shall speak for his team in all dealings with the officials. There shall be no more than four captains from each team at the coin toss.

b. A field captain's first announced choice of any options offered his team shall be irrevocable.

c. Any player may request a team charged timeout.

Persons Subject to the Rules

ARTICLE 6. All players, substitutes, replaced players, coaches, trainers, cheerleaders in uniform, band members in uniform, mascots in uniform, commercial mascots, public-address announcers, audio and video system operators, and other persons affiliated with the teams are subject to the rules and shall be governed by the decisions of the officials. Affiliated persons are those authorised within the team area. The names of all persons subject to rules shall appear on a roster form which shall be given to the referee before kickoff (Exception: cheerleaders, band members and mascots).

Teams Subject to the Rules

ARTICLE 7. a. Teams that are members of BAFA or affiliated leagues shall conduct all contests in Great Britain under the official football-playing rules of the Association (Exception: games played under the auspices of an international organisation).

b. Teams not complying with football-playing rules that do not have a designated penalty are subject to league and/or BAFA sanctions.

SECTION 2. The Field


ARTICLE 1. The field shall be a rectangular area with dimensions, lines, zones, goals and pylons as indicated and titled in the field diagram.

a. Where it is not possible to fully mark the field as indicated:

1. The marking of the following lines is mandatory: sidelines, end lines, goal lines, yard lines at 5-yard intervals, inbounds lines.

2. Where the size of the stadium does not permit a full-sized field to be marked, the end zones must be a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 13 yards in depth and equal in size. It is strongly recommended that the end zones be marked to the depth of 10 yards specified by rule, and that if necessary to accommodate this, the distance between the goal lines should be reduced to 90 yards. The distance between the goal lines should be a whole multiple of 10 yards. If the marked end zones are found to be less than 8 yards deep, the referee shall order the 5-yard line be used as the goal line and the length of the field of play reduced accordingly.

3. The field of play shall be marked to a length of not less than 90 yards.

4. Unless relocated by a penalty, the kicking team's restraining line on a kickoff shall be 15 yards from the midfield line, regardless of the length of the field of play (supercedes Rule 6-1-1).

b. All field dimension lines shown should be marked 4 inches in width with a white, nontoxic material that is not injurious to the eyes or skin (Exception: Sidelines and end lines may exceed 4 inches in width, and Rule 1-2-1-h).

c. Twenty-four inch short yard-line extensions, four inches inside the sidelines and at the inbounds lines, are recommended and all yard lines shall be four inches from the sidelines (Rule 2-10-4). If for any reason it is not possible for all yard-line extensions to be marked, those at the inbounds lines should be marked first, followed by the sideline opposite the press box, followed by the press box sideline.

d. A solid white area between the sideline and the coaching line is recommended.

e. White field markings or contrasting decorative markings (e.g. logos, team names, emblems, event) are permissible in the end zones but shall not be closer than four feet to any line.

f. Contrasting colouring in the end zones may abut any line.

g. Contrasting decorative material is permissible within the sidelines and between the goal lines, but shall not obliterate yard lines, goal lines or sidelines.

h. Goal lines may be of one contrasting colour from the white lines.

i. Advertising is permissible on the field, providing it meets the requirements of Rules 1-2-1-e and 1-2-1-f.

j. White field yard-line numbers no larger than 6 feet in height and 4 feet in width, with the tops of the numbers nine yards from the sidelines, are recommended.

k. White directional arrows next to the field numbers (except the 50) indicating the direction toward the opponent's goal line are recommended. The arrow is a triangle with an 18-inch base and two sides that are 36 inches each.

l. The two inbounds lines (hash marks) are 60 feet from the sidelines. Inbounds lines and short yard-line extensions should measure 24 inches in length.

1. Leagues may adopt regulations specifying that the inbounds lines are 70 feet 9 inches from the sidelines (NFL width).

m. Nine-yard marks 12 inches in length, every 10 yards, shall be located nine yards from the sidelines. They are not required if the field is numbered according to Rule 1-2-1-j.

Absence of any mandatory marking specified in Rule 1-2-1-a-1. End zones smaller than 8 yards or bigger than 13 yards in depth, or where the end zones are not of equal size. A field of play less than 90 yards in length. Decorative markings contravening Rule 1-2-1-e. Absence of nine-yard marks if the field is not numbered according to Rule 1-2-1-j.

Marking Boundary Areas

ARTICLE 2. Measurements shall be from the inside edges of the boundary markings. The entire width of each goal line shall be in the end zone.

Limit Lines

ARTICLE 3. a. Limit lines should be marked with 12-inch lines and at 24-inch intervals 12 feet outside the sidelines and the end lines, except in stadiums where the total field surface does not permit. In these stadiums, the limit lines shall not be less than six feet from the sidelines and end lines. Limit lines should be 4 inches in width and may be yellow. Limit lines designating team areas shall be solid lines. No person outside the team area shall be within the limit lines.

b. Limit lines shall also be marked six feet from the team area around the side and back of the team area, if the stadium permits.

Limit lines (where marked) closer than six feet to any boundary line.

Team Area and Coaching Box


a. On each side of the field, a team area behind the limit line and between the 25-yard lines shall be marked for the exclusive use of substitutes, trainers and other persons affiliated with the team. The front of the coaching box shall be marked with a solid line six feet outside the sideline between the 25-yard lines. The area between the coaching line and the limit line between the 25-yard lines should contain white diagonal lines or be marked distinctly for use of coaches (Rule 9-1-5-a). A 4-inch-by-4-inch mark is recommended at each five-yard line extended between the goal lines as an extension of the coaching line for line-to-gain and down indicator six-foot reference points.

b. The team area shall be limited to persons named on the team roster including squad members in full uniform and a maximum of 40 other individuals directly involved in the game. The 40 individuals not in full uniform should wear special team identification.

c. Coaches are permitted in the area between the limit line and coaching line between the 25-yard lines. This area is the coaching box.

d. Marking the team areas from the 25-yard lines is a game management requirement.

1. The team areas shall be marked between the 25-yard lines irrespective of the length of the field.

e. In stadiums where the playing enclosure does not permit the team areas to be marked on both sides of the field, both teams may share a common sideline. In this case the team areas shall be marked on either side of midfield between the 5-yard line and the line 5 yards from midfield.

f. No media personnel, including journalists, radio and television personnel, or their equipment, shall be in the team area or coaching box, and no media personnel shall communicate in any way with persons in the team area or coaching box.

g. Game management shall remove all persons not authorised by rule.

h. Practice kicking nets are not permitted outside the team area (Exception: In stadiums where playing enclosures are limited in size, nets, holders and kickers are permitted outside the team area and outside the limit line) (Rule 9-2-1-b-1).

Absence of team area markings, or team area not marked to 25-yard lines. Absence of a coaching line. Persons not on roster in team area. Infractions of Rules 1-2-4-g or 1-2-4-h.


ARTICLE 5. a. Each goal shall consist of two uprights extending at least 20 feet above the ground with a connecting horizontal crossbar, the top of which is 10 feet above the ground. The uprights and crossbar should be white or yellow in colour. The inside of the uprights and crossbar should be in the same vertical plane as the inside edge of the end line.

1. The goal posts shall be out of bounds.

Goal posts inbounds.
Under no circumstances may the game commence, nor proceed if suspended.

2. Regardless of the position of the goal posts, the size of the end zone or the distance between the goal lines, the snap on a try play shall be made from any point on or behind Team B's 3-yard line (Rule 8-3-2-c).

b. Above the crossbar, the uprights should be white or yellow and 18 feet, six inches apart inside to inside.

c. The designated uprights and crossbar shall be free of decorative material (Exception: 4-inch-by-42-inch orange or red wind directional streamers at the top of the uprights are permitted).

d. The height of the crossbar shall be measured from the top of each end of the crossbar to the ground directly below.

e. Goal posts shall be padded with resilient material from the ground to a height of at least six feet. "Offset uprights" may be used. Advertising is permitted on the goals. One manufacturer's logo or trademark is permitted on each goal post pad.

f. The following procedure is recommended when one or both goals are missing or have been taken down and the original goals are not available for a try or field goal attempt:

1. If a portable goal is available, it shall be erected or held in place at the request of Team A.

2. If a portable goal is not available but one goal is in place:

(a) On all scrimmage plays, Team B shall defend the end of the field where the goal is situated.

(b) On all free kick plays, Team A shall defend the end of the field where the goal is situated.

(c) After a change of possession, the teams will change ends if necessary so that Team B is defending the end where the goal is situated.

(d) There will be no change of ends at the end of the first or third periods (one minute timeout only). Captains will not have the option to select which goal line to defend at the beginning of a half.

3. If no goals are available, the game may be played if both head coaches agree. In these circumstances no field goals shall be scored. Once stated, the coaches' decisions as to whether to start/continue shall be irrevocable. If one or both head coaches do not wish to play then the game shall be abandoned.

Uprights less than 20 feet in height, or crossbar not 10 feet above ground. Decorative material on the posts or crossbar. Padding absent or less than six feet in height. One or both goals missing or taken down.

Approved Ruling 1-2-5

  1. Upon inspection of the field it is noted that goals with offset uprights are being used. The plane of the goal is one yard within the end zone and the post is one yard outside it. RULING: Legal. The goal post is not inbounds.


ARTICLE 6. Soft flexible four-sided pylons 4 inches by 4 inches with an overall height of 18 inches, which may include a two-inch space between the bottom of the pylon and the ground, are recommended. They should be red or orange in colour and placed at the inside corners of the eight intersections of the sidelines with the goal lines and end lines. The pylons marking the intersections of the end lines and inbounds lines extended shall be placed three feet off the end lines. Pylons marking the intersections of the end lines, goal lines and sidelines which do not meet the requirements of this rule (for example traffic cones) must be placed at least 6 feet outside the sideline. Soccer corner-flag style posts are prohibited.

Illegal pylons that had to be removed.

Line-to-Gain and Down Indicators

ARTICLE 7. The official line-to-gain and down indicators shall be operated approximately six feet outside the sideline opposite the press box, except in stadiums where the total playing enclosure does not permit.

a. If a yardage chain is used, it shall join two rods not less than 5 feet high, the rods' inside edges being exactly 10 yards apart when the chain is fully extended. It is recommended that the rods be seven feet high. Any other line-to-gain indicator that accurately measures the line to gain is permitted outside the sideline opposite the press box . Before the game, the linesman shall test and approve all line-to-gain indicators for accuracy and security.

b. The down indicator shall be mounted on a rod not less then five feet high operating approximately six feet outside the sideline opposite the press box. It is recommended that the rod be six feet 6 inches high.

c. An unofficial auxiliary line-to-gain indicator and an unofficial down indicator six feet outside the other sideline are recommended. These indicators shall conform to the same size requirements as the official indicators.

d. Unofficial red or orange nonslip line-to-gain markers positioned off the sidelines on both sides of the field are recommended. Markers are rectangular, weighted material 10 inches by 32 inches. A triangle with an altitude of five inches is attached to the rectangle at the end toward the sideline.

e. All line-to-gain and down-indicator rods shall have flat ends.

f. Advertising and team or conference identification are permitted on the down and line-to-gain indicators. One manufacturer's logo or trademark is permitted on each indicator.

Rods not of minimum height or not with flat ends. Repeated breakages of the line-to-gain or down indicators. Failure to provide line-to-gain or down indicators.

Markers and Obstructions

ARTICLE 8. All markers and obstructions within the playing enclosure shall be placed or constructed in such a manner as to avoid any possible hazard to players. This includes anything dangerous to anyone at the limit lines. The referee shall order removed any hazardous obstructions or markers located inside the limit lines.

a. Any markers or obstructions within the playing enclosure but outside the limit lines constituting a hazard shall be reported to game management by the referee. Final determination of corrective action shall be the responsibility of game management.

b. Yardage line markers must be placed at least 12 feet outside the sidelines and should be collapsible and constructed in such a manner as to avoid any possible hazard to players. Markers which do not conform to this standard shall be removed.

Markers that are not constructed and/or placed to avoid hazard and had to be removed.

Field Surface


a. No material or device shall be used to improve or degrade the playing surface or other conditions and give one player or team an advantage (Exception: Rules 2-14-4-b and 2-14-4-c).

Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot [S27].

b. The referee may require any improvement in the field necessary for proper and safe game administration.

Any improvement effected by the referee.

c. The referee shall not allow the game to commence if there is any trip hazard inbounds or within six feet of the boundary lines. A trip hazard is defined to be any change of height of one inch or more in the space of one inch or less, with the exception of holes less than two inches in diameter.

Trip hazard(s).
Under no circumstances may the game commence, nor proceed if suspended.

d. In stadia where discus circles or other objects present a different playing surface, it is strongly recommended that the field of play be shortened to avoid different surfaces in the field of play or end zones.

e. The referee should make every effort to play the game at the place and time specified, and to make a report to the appropriate authority as soon as possible afterwards. However, if the markings and facilities available on a field are, in the judgement of the referee, so inadequate as to call into question the validity of the game or the safety of players, spectators or officials, then the game shall not proceed unless and until an improvement has been effected.

Markings or facilities inadequate for game to proceed.
Under no circumstances may the game commence, nor proceed if suspended.

SECTION 3. The Ball


ARTICLE 1. The ball shall meet the following specifications:

a. New or nearly new. (A nearly new ball is a ball that has not been altered and retains the properties and qualities of a new ball.)

b. Cover consisting of four panels of pebble-grained leather without corrugations other than seams.

c. One set of eight equally spaced lacings.

d. Natural tan colour.

e. Two 1-inch white stripes that are 3 to 3 inches from the end of the ball and located only on the two panels adjacent to the laces are optional.

f. Conforms to maximum and minimum dimensions and shape indicated in the accompanying diagram. 1m[<IMGsrc="balldiag.gif" undefined]22m>

g. Inflated to the pressure of 12 to 13 pounds per square inch (psi).

h. Weight of 14 to 15 ounces.

i. The ball may not be altered. This includes the use of any ball-drying substance. Mechanical ball-drying devices are not permitted near the sidelines or in the team area.

Administration and Enforcement

ARTICLE 2. a. The referee shall test and be sole judge of no fewer than three and no more than six balls offered for play before and during the game. The referee may approve additional balls if warranted by conditions.

b. Home management should provide a pressure pump and measuring device.

c. The home team is responsible for providing legal balls and should notify the opponent of the ball to be used.

d. During the entire game, both teams shall use only balls that meet the required specifications and have been measured and tested according to rule.

e. All balls to be used must be presented to the referee for testing 60 minutes before the start of the game.

1. The referee's first priority is to have three legal balls. If the home team does not provide at least three legal balls, the referee shall inform the away team and give them the opportunity to provide legal balls. If fewer than three legal balls are provided, the game will proceed with only the legal ball(s) being used. If no legal balls are provided, the referee shall select up to three balls which in his judgement are the best available.

2. When more than three legal balls are presented, the referee shall select the balls in best condition from those presented by both teams.

3. Where league regulations mandate the use of balls of a particular manufacture, and more than three legal balls are presented to the referee, the referee shall only select balls of another manufacture if there are fewer than three balls of the mandated manufacture.

f. When the ball becomes dead nearer the sideline than the inbounds line (hash mark), is unfit for play, is subject to measurement in a side zone or is inaccessible, a replacement ball shall be obtained from a ball person. (A.R. 1-3-2:I-II)

g. The referee or umpire shall determine the legality of each ball before it is put in play.

h. The following procedures shall be used when measuring a ball:

1. All measurements shall be made after the ball is legally inflated.

2. The long circumference shall be measured around the ends of the ball but not over the laces.

3. The long diameter shall be measured with calipers from end to end but not in the nose indentation.

4. The short circumference shall be measured around the ball, over the valve, over the lace, but not over the cross lace.

i. In wet conditions (or if the referee deems that conditions warrant it), teams must provide towels for the umpire and ball persons to use to keep the ball dry. All towels should be white.

If the home team provides fewer than three legal balls. If a league has mandated use of balls of a particular manufacture and the home team provides fewer than three legal ones. If no towels are provided when conditions warrant it.

Approved Ruling 1-3-2

  1. On fourth down, kicker A1 enters the field with an approved game ball and requests the referee to substitute it for the ball used during the previous down. RULING: Substitution of the ball is not permitted ( 1-3-2-f). [Cited by 1-3-2-f]
  2. The referee selected from those offered before the game two of the home team's balls and one of the away team's. After a change of possession, the away team asks for its ball to be used in place of one of the other two. RULING: The request is denied. Once the referee has selected the game balls to be used, neither team may request that a particular ball be used in a particular situation ( 1-3-2-f). [Cited by 1-3-2-f]

Marking Balls

ARTICLE 3. Marking a ball indicating a preference for any player or any situation is prohibited.

Live-ball foul. Fifteen yards from the previous spot [S27].

SECTION 4. Players and Playing Equipment

Recommended Numbering

ARTICLE 1. It is strongly recommended that offensive players be numbered according to the following diagram that shows one of many offensive formations (Rule 1-4-2-b): 1m[<IMGsrc="numb.gif" undefined]22m>

Player's Numbering

ARTICLE 2. a. All players shall be numbered 1 through 99. Any number preceded by zero ("0") is illegal [S23].

b. On a scrimmage down, at least five offensive players on the scrimmage line shall be numbered 50 through 79 (Exception: During a scrimmage kick formation, a player, who by his initial position on the line of scrimmage, is an exception to the 50-79 mandatory numbering remains an ineligible receiver during the down until a legal forward pass is touched by a Team B player or an official. He must be positioned on the line of scrimmage and between the end players on the line of scrimmage. The ineligibe receivers (interior linemen) are identified when the snapper assumes his position and touches or simulates (hand[s] at or below his knees) touching the ball. A player remains an ineligible receiver and is an exception to the 50-79 mandatory numbering until the down is over, a timeout is charged to a team or the referee, or a period ends.) [S19]. (A.R. 1-4-2:I, IV and V)

c. No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers [S23]. (A.R. 1-4-2:II)

d. Markings in the vicinity of the numbers are not permitted [S23]. (A.R. 1-4-2:III)

Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot [S19 or S23].

e. Numbers shall not be changed during the game to deceive opponents [S27]. (A.R. 1-4-2:VI and VII)

15 yards from the previous spot [S27]. Flagrant offenders shall be disqualified [S47].

Approved Ruling 1-4-2

  1. Team A, with fourth down and eight yards to gain, sends two substitutes numbered 21 and 33 into the game as exceptions to the mandatory numbering, and they are positioned legally on their line of scrimmage between the end players on the line of scrimmage. After the ball is snapped, a Team A player, 15 yards deep in a scrimmage kick formation, throws a forward pass to an eligible receiver for a 10-yard gain. RULING: Legal play. (Note: The same play from a field goal formation is legal.) ( 1-4-2-b Exception) [Cited by 1-1-1-b-2, 1-4-2-b, 2-14-10, 7-1-3-b-1-a]
  2. During a down either team is discovered to have two players with identical numbers at the snap. RULING: Penalty - five yards from previous spot ( 1-4-2-c). [Cited by 1-1-1-b-2, 1-4-2-c]
  3. A1 at the snap is wearing a number that has a dash between the 1 and 3. The number appears as 1-3. RULING: Penalty - five yards from the previous spot ( 1-4-2-d). [Cited by 1-1-1-b-2, 1-4-2-d]
  4. A33, an exception to the mandatory numbering rule, assumes a position on the line of scrimmage next to end A88. Before the snap, A88 shifts to a backfield position with the flanker on the opposite side of the line shifting to an end position on the line. RULING: Since A33 is now an end, he is in an illegal position at the snap (live-ball foul). [Cited by 1-1-1-b-2, 1-4-2-b]
  5. A33, an exception to the mandatory numbering rule, assumes a position on the line of scrimmage to the left of snapper A85, who is on the end of the line. All other Team A players on the line are to A33's left. After a one-second stop, all players on the line except A85 legally shift to the other side of the ball, with A33 now positioned as an end. RULING: If the ball is snapped with A33 in this position, it is a foul. A33 must be between the end players at the snap. [Cited by 1-1-1-b-2, 1-4-2-b]
  6. A team has a player who normally wears the number 63 but who wishes to become an eligible receiver at some point during the game. RULING: The player should be entered on the roster both under number 63 and under an available number other than 50-79 and the referee and opposing coach notified of this. During the game, the player may change jerseys between his two numbers at any time while he is off the field, but on returning to the field for the first time after any change he must notify the referee who in turn will notify the opposing field captain so that the opposition is not deceived by the change. [Cited by 1-4-2-e]
  7. A player's jersey is so badly torn that it must be changed. No other jersey is available with the same number. RULING: The player may switch to a jersey with a different number (eligibility rules still apply) but on returning to the field for the first time after any change he must notify the referee who in turn will notify the opposing field captain so that the opposition is not deceived by the change. The referee should record the change on the roster form. [Cited by 1-4-2-e]

Contrasting Colours

ARTICLE 3. a. Players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colours. In the event of a clash, the home team shall have first choice of colour (including white). Players of a team shall wear jerseys of the same colour and design.

The visiting team if both teams are playing in the same colour.

b. A white jersey is one with only contrasting playing numbers, player's name, team name, league insignia, mascot insignia, game insignia, memorial insignia or the team or game's national flag attached. An insignia must not exceed 16 square inches in area (i.e. rectangle, square, parallelogram), including any additional material (e.g. patch). Stripes may be placed on the sleeves. A border no more than 1 inch wide around the collar and cuffs is permissible, as is a maximum 4-inch stripe along the side seam (insert from the underarm to pants top).

c. If a coloured jersey contains white, it may appear only as a number, border of a number, player's name, team name, stripes on the sleeves, a border no more than 1 inch wide around the collar and cuffs, a maximum 4-inch stripe along the side seam (insert from the underarm to pants top), or as part of a legal insignia (Rule 1-4-3-b).

d. If worn, gloves or hand pads should be grey in colour. The recommended shades of grey are Pantone Cool Gray 8C, Cool Gray 9C, 423C and 430C.

Mandatory Equipment

ARTICLE 4. All players shall wear the following mandatory equipment, which shall be professionally manufactured and not altered to decrease protection:

a. Soft knee pads at least one-half-inch thick that must cover the knees and covered by pants. No pads or protective equipment may be worn outside the pants. Players of a team should wear pants of the same colour. Skateboard knee pads or any other type of pads worn outside the pants or jersey are prohibited. Bicep pads must be covered.

b. Face masks and helmets with a secured four- or six-point chin strap. If a chin strap is not secured, it is a violation. Officials should inform players when all snaps are not secured without charging a timeout unless the player ignores the warning. Players of a team should wear helmets of the same colour and design, and facemasks of the same colour.

c. Shoulder pads, hip pads with tailbone protector and thigh guards.

d. An intra-oral mouthpiece of any readily visible colour (not white or transparent) with FDA-approved base materials (FDCS) that covers all upper teeth. It is recommended that the mouthpiece be properly fitted.

e. One jersey, with sleeves that completely cover the shoulder pads, that is not altered or designed to tear and conforms with Rule 1-4-4-f. The jersey should be full-length and tucked into the pants. Vests and/or a second jersey worn concurrently during the game are prohibited. Tee-shirts or other similar garments may be worn under shoulder pads.

f. Clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals on one jersey at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, of a colour(s) in distinct contrast with the jersey. All players of a team should have the same colour and style numbers front and back. The individual bars must be approximately 1 inches wide.

g. Numbers on any part of the uniform shall correspond with the mandatory front and back jersey numbers. In the case of death or catastrophic injury or illness, a person may be memorialised by an insignia not greater than 1 inches diameter that displays the number, name or initials of the individual on the uniform or helmet.

h. All squad members must wear visible socks or leg coverings that should be identical in colour, design and length (Exception: Unaltered knee braces, tape or a bandage to protect or prevent an injury; and barefoot kickers) (A.R. 1-4-4:I)

NOTE: If a player is not wearing mandatory equipment in compliance in all respects with Rule 1-4-4, the team shall be charged a timeout and the player shall not be permitted to play until he complies.

Rules 3-3-6 and 3-4-2-b-2 [S23, S3 or S21].

NOCSAE:- [- National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. ] All players shall wear helmets that carry a warning label regarding the risk of injury and a manufacturer's or reconditioner's certification indicating satisfaction of NOCSAE test standards. All such reconditioned helmets shall show recertification to indicate satisfaction with the NOCSAE test standard.

Approved Ruling 1-4-4

  1. A player or players of a team wear(s) tights (with stirrups) that cover their legs. RULING: Legal. All other squad members of this team also must wear tights or knee-length socks of the same colour. All squad members of a team should wear socks or leg coverings that are identical in colour, design and length. All squad members of a team may wear short socks of the same colour, design and length. [Cited by 1-4-4-h]

Illegal Equipment

ARTICLE 5. No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. Any question as to the legality of a player's equipment shall be decided by the umpire. Illegal equipment includes the following: (A.R. 1-4-5:I)

a. Equipment worn by a player, including artificial limbs, that would endanger other players. An artificial limb must not give the wearer any advantage in competition. If necessary, the artificial limb should be padded to rebound as a natural limb.

b. Hard, abrasive or unyielding substances on the hand, wrist, forearm or elbow of any player, unless covered on all exterior sides and edges with closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than one-half-inch thick or an alternate material of the same minimum thickness and similar physical properties. Hard or unyielding substances are permitted, if covered, only to protect an injury. Hand and arm protectors (covered casts or splints) are permitted only to protect a fracture or dislocation.

c. Thigh guards of any hard substances unless all surfaces are covered with material such as closed-cell vinyl foam that is at least one-quarter-inch thick on the outside surface and at least three-eighths-inch thick on the inside surface and the overlaps of the edges; shin guards not covered on both sides and all edges with closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding at least -inch thick, or an alternate material of the same minimum thickness having similar physical properties; and therapeutic or preventive knee braces, unless worn under the pants and entirely covered from direct external exposure.

d. Projection of metal or other hard substance from a player's person or clothing. Rings, bracelets, earrings (except when covered by a helmet) and medallions worn outside the uniform are prohibited. Players should remove earrings and medallions and tuck long hair into the collar of their jersey. Pronged belt buckles must be taped to be legal.

e. Shoe cleats (Rule 9-2-2-d) - detachable:

1. More than one-half-inch in length (measured from tip of cleat to the shoe) (Exception: If attached to a five-thirty-seconds of an inch (5/32) or less raised platform wider than the base of the cleat and extended across the width of the shoe to within one-quarter inch or less of the outer edges of the sole. A single toe cleat does not require a raised platform that extends across the width of the sole. The raised platform of the toe cleat is limited to five-thirty-seconds of an inch (5/32) or less. The five-thirty-seconds of an inch (5/32) or less is measured from the lowest point of the platform to the sole of the shoe).

2. Made of any material that chips or fractures.

3. Without an effective locking device.

4. With concave sides.

5. Conical cleats with flat free ends not parallel to their bases or less than three-eighths-inch in diameter or with rounded free ends having arcs greater than seven-sixteenths of an inch (7/16).

6. Oblong cleats with free ends not parallel with bases or that measure less then one-quarter-inch by three-quarters-inch.

7. Circular or ring cleats without rounded edges and a wall less than three-sixteenths of an inch thick.

8. Steel tipped cleats without steel tipped with low carbon steel of 1006 material, case hardened to .005-.008 depth and drawn to Rockwell hardness of approximately C55.

f. Shoe cleats (Rule 9-2-2-d) - nondetachable:

1. More than one-half inch in length (measured from tip of cleat to sole of shoe).

2. Made of any material that burrs, chips or fractures.

3. With abrasive surfaces or cutting edges.

4. Made of any metallic material.

g. Tape of any bandage on a hand, wrist, forearm or elbow unless used to protect an injury and specifically sanctioned by the umpire. Sanction for taping need not be obtained from the umpire for (i) light taping to protect an injury; (ii) one twist of tape to secure padding; and (iii) taping of adjacent fingers. Taping shall not be used for padding. All taping must be of adhesive material. Adhesive outer surfaces of any taping are prohibited.

h. Helmets, jerseys or attachments that tend to conceal the ball by closely resembling it in colour.

i. Adhesive material, paint, grease or any other slippery substance applied to equipment or on a player's person, clothing or attachment that affects the ball or an opponent (Exception: Eye shade). Jerseys, undershirts and the exterior of arm covers/pads that enhance contact with a football or an opponent.

j. Any face mask except those constructed of non-breakable material with rounded edges covered with resilient material designed to prevent chipping, burrs or an abrasiveness that would endanger players.

k. Shoulder pads with the leading edge of the epaulet rounded with a radius more than one-half the thickness of the material used.

l. Anything on the uniform other than a player's numbers, a player's name, memorial recognition, the team's national flag, or team, league or game identification. Authorised advertising material is permitted. No other words, numbers or symbols are permitted on a player's person or tape (Exception: Game information on a player's wrist or arm).

Uniforms and all other items of apparel (e.g. warm-ups, socks, headbands, T-shirts, wristbands, visors or hats) may bear only a single manufacturer's or distributor's normal label or trademark (regardless of the visibility of the label or trademark) not to exceed 2 square inches in area (i.e. rectangle, square, parallelogram) including any additional material (e.g. patch) surrounding the normal trademark or logo. No sizing, garment-care or other non-logo labels shall be on the outside of the uniform.

m. Gloves or hand pads that resemble the opponent's jersey colour or not in conformance with Rule 1-4-5-b. A glove is a fitted covering for a hand having separate sections for each finger and thumb, without any additional material that connects any of the fingers and/or thumb, and that completely covers each finger and thumb. Soccer goalkeeper's gloves are permitted provided that any abrasive material has been removed from the back of the hand. It is strongly recommended that gloves be grey in colour.

n. Jerseys that have been taped or tied in any manner. (Exception: The sleeves of the jersey may be taped.)

o. Uniform attachments (Exception:

1. One moisture-absorbing towel may be worn on the uniform and attached at the waist, with a maximum exposure of 4 inches by 12 inches. The towels should be white and without markings.

2. Hand warmers worn during inclement weather.)

p. Rib pads, shoulder pad attachments and back protectors not totally covered.

q. Eye shields that are not clear and made from moulded or rigid material. Exceptions must be documented by an opthalmologist with the request signed by the player's head trainer, head coach and the player's parents or guardians if the player is under 18 years of age.

NOTE: No player wearing illegal equipment shall be permitted to play. If illegal equipment is discovered by an official, the team shall be charged a team timeout.

Rules 3-3-6 and 3-4-2-b-2 [S23, S3 or S21].

Exception: If equipment in Rule 1-4-5 becomes illegal through play, the player must leave the game until the illegal equipment is corrected but will not be charged a team timeout.

Mandatory and Illegal Equipment Enforcement

ARTICLE 6. Failure to wear mandatory equipment or the use of illegal equipment is enforced as follows:

a. Each of the first three infractions for failure to wear mandatory equipment or wearing illegal equipment requires a charged timeout. The fourth infraction in a half requires a five-yard penalty. The delay for the fourth timeout could be the first violation for not wearing mandatory equipment or wearing illegal equipment. The first three timeouts could have been taken by the team as charged team timeouts.

1. The timeouts are granted.

2. There is no offset for the first three violations when an opponent has fouled.

3. When timeouts are exhausted, the next violation is a dead-ball delay penalty at the succeeding spot.

4. A timeout is called, the offending team is indicated by the referee and the captain and head coaches are notified through the officials nearest the sidelines.

b. Officials should ascertain before the ready-for-play signal if players are not wearing mandatory equipment or are wearing illegal equipment. Only in an emergency shall the 25-second clock be interrupted. Examples: A player(s) not wearing a helmet or a mouthpiece. (A.R. 1-4-6:I) The team will be charged a timeout or a delay penalty if all time-outs have been used.

Rules 3-3-6 and 3-4-2-b-2 [S23, S3 or S21].

c. No jersey may be changed on the field of play, and such changes must be made in the team area of the player making the change. When it is determined that a jersey does not comply with Rule 1-4-4-e and/or 1-4-4-f, a team timeout will be charged to that team at the succeeding spot. If the team has expended its three timeouts, a delay will be charged under Rule 3-4-2-b-2. Players may change torn jerseys during team timeouts and return to play. A player may change a jersey and return during a delay penalty only if the game is not further delayed by that action.

d. Tape may not cover or partially cover a glove. Tape may be used to secure glove fasteners.

Approved Ruling 1-4-6

  1. During the 25-second count, an official identifies a player(s) who is obviously not wearing a mouthpiece. RULING: Even though the snap or free kick may be imminent, a timeout is charged to that player's team (Rule 3-3-6). If timeouts are exhausted, a five-yard penalty will be assessed (Rule 3-4-2-b). The clock will start on the snap after the five-yard penalty unless an unfair timing advantage is possible (Rule 3-4-3). The player(s) may remain in the game if he (they) produces a legal mouthpiece and the game is not further delayed by that action. [Cited by 1-4-6-b]

Coaches' Certification

ARTICLE 7. The head coach or his designated representative shall certify in writing to the umpire before the game that all players:

a. Have been informed what equipment is mandatory by rule and what constitutes illegal equipment.

b. Have been provided with the equipment mandated by rule.

c. Have been instructed to wear and how to wear mandatory equipment during the game.

d. Have been instructed to notify the coaching staff when equipment becomes illegal through play during the game.

Prohibited Signal Devices

ARTICLE 8. Players are prohibited from being equipped with any electronic, mechanical or other signal devices for the purpose of communicating with any source (Exception: A medically prescribed hearing aid of the sound-amplifier type for hearing-impaired players).

15 yards and disqualification of the player. Penalise as a dead-ball foul at the succeeding spot [S7, S27, S47].

Prohibited Field Equipment


a. Television replay or monitor equipment is prohibited at the sidelines, press box or other locations within the playing enclosure for coaching or officiating purposes during the game. Motion pictures, any type of film, facsimile machines, videotapes, photographs, writing-transmission machines and computers are prohibited for coaching purposes any time during the game or between periods.

b. Only voice communication between the press box and team area is permitted. Where press-box space is not adequate, only voice communication may originate from any area in the stands between the 25-yard lines extended to the top of the stadium. No other communication for coaching purposes is permitted anywhere else.

c. Media communication equipment, including cameras, sound devices and microphones, is prohibited on or above the field, or in or above the team area (Rule 2-30-1). (Exception:

1. Camera equipment attached to a goal support behind the uprights and crossbar.

2. A camera, with no audio component, may be attached to the cap of the umpire with prior approval of the umpire and the participating teams.

3. A camera, with no audio component, may be attached to cables that extend over the team area.

d. Microphones, provided by home management, are strongly recommended on referees. They may be used only on referees for penalty or other game announcements, if controlled by the referee, and may not be open at other times. Microphones on other officials are prohibited.

NOTE: If a radio microphone is provided, the referee shall use it providing it meets the following criteria:

1. It must have an on/off switch under the referee's control;

2. It must be of the clip-on or lightweight headset variety;

3. The transmitter must be small enough to attach to a belt or fit in a pocket.

It shall be at the referee's discretion whether or not to use a microphone which does not meet the above criteria. Microphones and/or transmitters that cannot be carried by the referee are prohibited.

e. Microphones attached to coaches during the game for media transmission are prohibited.

Media microphones attached to coaches.

Coaches' Phones

ARTICLE 10. Coaches' phones and headsets are not subject to the rules before or during the game.

SECTION 5. Medical Provision

Minimum Medical Requirements

ARTICLE 1. The minimum medical facilities during a game are:

a. A qualified medical practitioner, nurse, paramedic, physiotherapist or first aider must be available.

b. A first aid kit including a suitable (preferably inflatable) set of limb splints must be available.

c. A stretcher must be available.

d. An ambulance and crew must be available. An ambulance is defined to be a vehicle constructed and equipped for the purpose of carrying stretcher-bound patients to hospital. (A.R. 1-5-1:I-VIII)

e. A telephone capable of use to summon the emergency services should be available.

NOTE: Available means inside or immediately outside the stadium and fit for use (Exception: An ambulance and its crew are defined to be available at a game even though they may be absent from the stadium in the act of transporting someone to hospital.)

Minimum medical requirement not met.
Under no circumstances may the game commence, nor proceed if suspended.

Approved Ruling 1-5-1

  1. The sole ambulance is absent from the stadium in the act of transporting someone to hospital. A qualified medical practitioner, nurse, paramedic, physiotherapist or first aider, a first aid kit including a suitable (preferably inflatable) set of limb splints, and a stretcher are all available. RULING: The minimum medical requirement is met; the game shall proceed. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  2. will be here 10 minutes after the appointed kickoff time. RULING: Delay the kickoff until the ambulance arrives. Until it does no one can be sure that it is "available". There will be no yardage penalty if the delay is beyond game management's control. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  3. The ambulance leaves to take an injured player to hospital. RULING: The game carries on. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  4. The ambulance leaves to take a spectator to hospital. RULING: The game carries on. The rule says that the ambulance is still available if it is in the act of transporting someone to hospital. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  5. The ambulance leaves to take someone to hospital but does not leave behind at the stadium a first aid kit or stretcher. RULING: Suspend the game until a suitable first aid kit and stretcher can be obtained, or the ambulance returns. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  6. The ambulance leaves and takes all the qualified first aiders with it. RULING: Suspend the game until the ambulance returns, or another qualified first aider can be found (game management's responsibility to decide whether they are suitable). [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  7. The ambulance crew phone the stadium to say that on their way back to the game their vehicle broke down and they can't make it. RULING: Suspend the game. The ambulance is no longer "available" to the game. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]
  8. If the game is suspended because of lack of medical provision, how long do you wait before abandoning the game? RULING: Rule 13-4-8-c applies: "The referee shall wait for a reasonable time to permit the problem(s) to be rectified. However, if it becomes clear that the game cannot continue, the referee shall abandon the game and notify game management." A reasonable time would be at least 30 minutes but probably not longer than an hour unless there was a clear indication that a resumption was imminent. Of course don't wait 30 minutes if it is obvious that a restart is never going to be possible. [Cited by 1-5-1-d]

Medical Requirement Administration

ARTICLE 2. a. Game management is responsible for the provision of medical facilities that meet the requirements of Rule 1-5-1.

b. The senior game management representative shall certify to the referee prior to the game that the medical requirement has been met.

c. Game management shall inform the referee if at any stage during the game the medical requirement ceases to be met. The game will then be suspended (Rule 3-3-3-b).

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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFRA Rules and Mechanics Committee