2023 American Indoor Football Alliance
AIFA RULES & INTERPRETATIONS
EDITOR’S NOTE: THROUGHOUT THIS DOCUMENT, TEAM A/K REFERS TO THE OFFENSIVE/KICKING TEAM. TEAM B/R REFERS TO THE DEFENSIVE TEAM/RECEIVING TEAM. RELEASE: November 1st, 2022
1. The Field
1.1. An indoor artificial surface, 85 feet wide and 50 yards long with end zones eight to ten yards in length; if possible. If possible, end zones should not be rounded off. If these requirements cannot be met, the home team must apply to the league to have these requirements waived.
1.2. The field is lined every 5 yards, extending from dasher board to dasher board and running parallel to the goal line. If end lines are present in the end zone, as well as dasher boards, the end lines are to be ignored and shall have no effect. Likewise, any side lines along the dasher boards are to be ignored and shall have no effect
1.3. The field is lined with two sets of hash marks, the first set, referred to as the inside or “pro” hash marks, are 12 inches in length and approximately five feet from the center of the field. These hash marks are placed on both sides of the field, every yard, running perpendicular to each yard line, and are parallel to the uprights of the goal posts. The second set of hash marks, referred to as the outside hash marks or “college” hash marks are 3 yards (9 feet) outside of the pro hash marks. They should also be 12 inches in length, and on both sides of the field. The outside hash marks may run every yard, or be indicated by a 12” perpendicular line on each 5 yard line which runs the full width of the field (i.e. a hash on the 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.). Note: if the field is lined with two sets of hash marks that are not exactly the specifications listed above, the existing marks should be used as is.
1.4. If the regulation field requirements are not achievable due to arena limitations, the field can be marked as closely as possible, pending league approval
1.5. All fields must have the American Indoor Football Alliance logo at opposite ends situated on the 5 yard and 10 yard line area either on the field or dasher pads.
1.6. Teams can paint logos on the field with advance approval by the league.
2. The Sidelines
2.1. The dasher boards will mark the out of bounds on all sides of the field. Sideline barriers are 42 -48 inches high and made of high-density foam rubber.
2.2. A four to six inch white out of bounds line should be painted around the entire end zone. Exception: If end zone dasher boards are present no end zone line is required.
2.3. No logos or advertising shall be placed directly above either goal line on the dasher boards. A 4” line shall be visible on the dasher boards, extending up from the field of play, marking the goal line.
2.4. The top of the dasher boards are in bounds and live. The field of play is determined by making it “within the dasher boards”. The top (flat edge) of the dasher boards should be considered as sideline markers and should be in bounds and live when considering loose ball plays, unless as noted under Rule 13-5. Note: Any loose ball which hits off the dasher boards (including the top) is in play and a live ball. This includes a loose ball touched by a player who is in contact with a dasher board.
3. The Goal Posts
3.1.Goal posts are placed and centered above each end line dasher board. The posts are 10 feet off the ground and 10 feet wide. The uprights should extend 20 feet from the crossbar. All goal posts shall be painted in fluorescent “Yellow.”
3.2. Kicking blockades (nets, etc.) must be behind the goalposts and within a minimum of five feet of the goal post. They may extend ten feet out on both sides of the uprights to prevent balls from going into the stands.
3.3. Teams can place logos/names on the uprights with advance approval by the league
3.4. It is acknowledged that goal posts may be suspended from the ceiling differently in each arena. Therefore, each arena will have pre-determined ground rules regarding kick plays (as stated in Rule 11-11).
4. The AIFA Football
4.1. The official AIFA football designated from the AIFA football vendor must be used for all AIFA games. This ball will have the league logo on one panel ($2500.00 fine per game for teams not using Official AIFA Football).
4.2. The home team supplies a minimum of 20 game balls for each contest. Game balls shall be inflated (11-13lbs) and in a bag or container, and shall be in the officials’ dressing room two hours prior to kickoff. The officials shall check the balls for legality and shall have them available for the home team 40 minutes prior to kickoff. Any game balls that do not meet the required specifications prior to the contest must be replaced by the home team
4.3. The visiting team will provide “warm-up” balls for their own use. This is not a requirement of the home team.
4.4. The Home Team must have two pumps available two hours prior to kickoff for officials, and the pumps shall be located near the sidelines during the game.
4.5. Balls will not be tossed into the stands by a player, or handed to a fan, in any manner at any time. The ball may not be taken to the bench area by any player at any time. If, at the end of a play, the action of the player which is not part of a normal football play causes the ball to leave the field of play, an unsportsmanlike conduct foul shall be called against the offending player. Any violation of this rule is a dead ball ten yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and shall be administered from the succeeding spot. The player will be fined in accord with the fine schedule in the AIFA Operations Manual
4.6. Any live ball which touches an overhead structure becomes dead immediately. Note: This does not negate the down, and any live ball action that occurs prior to the dead ball declaration
4.5.1 Team A, 4th and 10 from the Team A 1 yard line. Rather than attempt a field goal, Team A QB lines up in shotgun formation, with his back up against the dasher boards in the end zone. At the snap, the Team A QB reaches over the dasher board and drops the ball into the stands. Ruling: Safety. No penalty for causing the ball to leave the field of play, as it is clear the QB is taking a safety. This is one example where a penalty will not be assessed for a player intentionally causing the ball to leave the field of play. This action would be part of a normal football play.
4.5.2 In the middle of the 3rd quarter, Team A has 3rd and 15 from Team A 15. Receiver 88 catches a pass while running parallel to the 25 yard line, approaching the sideline dasher board at full speed. Two Team B players are about to tackle the receiver as the receiver nears the dasher board. In an effort to “give himself up” and before defensive contact is made, the receiver reaches over the dasher board and drops the ball. Ruling: No unsportsmanlike penalty, if in the opinion of the covering official, the receiver was simply “giving up.”
4.5.3 A 88 scores a touchdown. He then spikes the ball. The ball bounces up and over the dasher board. Ruling: Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is assessed against number 88. Although a spike is not in and of itself an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the fact that the spike caused the ball to go over the dasher board requires that a penalty be assessed against the offending player. Thus, a player spikes the ball at his own risk. Officials must use common sense in enforcing rule D-5. The key concept to guide the official in this situation is that if the act of causing the ball to leave the field of play is “not part of a normal football play” the action is considered illegal.
4.6.1 2nd down and 10 for A at the 25. A’s pass in flight strikes a speaker overhead. While the pass was in the air, B80 committed defensive pass interference. Ruling: No foul. Since the ball became dead when it contacted the overhead speaker, the pass could not have been catchable. If a pass is determined to be uncatchable, no pass interference can be called. 3rd down and 10 for A at the 25 yard line.
4.6.2 3rd and 15 for A on the A15 yard line. A’s pass in flight strikes a speaker overhead. Before the pass struck the speaker, B80 held eligible receiver A81. Ruling: Ball is declared dead when it strikes the speaker (incomplete pass). B80 is guilty of holding an eligible receiver. The 10 yard penalty results in first and ten for A at the 25 yard line
5. Game Officials
5.1. Five Officials shall make up a game day crew. They are the Referee, Umpire, Head Linesman, Line Judge, and Back Judge.
5.2. Officials must be registered with the AIFA Officiating Office
5.3. All Officials shall have the proper AIFA uniform on (2019),
5.4. Officials’ uniforms will consist of: NCAA style black and white striped short sleeved shirt (2” stripes), black
pants, black or white hat, black socks, and black shoes (blue bean bag, flag, down indicator, whistle, and watch are also part of the uniform).
5.5. The officials’ jurisdiction begins when the officials enter the venue and ends when all officials leave the venue.
5.6. There shall be no entry into the officials’ dressing room without permission
5.7. The home team shall provide a secure dressing room with shower for the officials
5.8. The home team is responsible for the safety of the officiating crew.
5.9. After the game, the home team shall provide an escort for the officials from the arena to their vehicles
5.10. Officials should arrive in the home team's venue two hours prior to kickoff. At this time the Head Linesman, Line Judge and Back Judge are to check all footballs, and inspect the playing surface and team benches. The Referee and Umpire will meet with the Head Coach and obtain the official’s paychecks and the game day 22 player roster. The players listed on the game day roster must have also been listed on the preliminary 30 player roster, which is to be posted on the league website by Tuesday 10:00 pm (EST) prior to the game. If a team has not posted a current 30 player roster, the 30 player roster for the week will default to the most recent 30 player roster published by the team. It is the Umpire’s responsibility to download and print the 30 player roster and bring a copy to the arena on game day. If a player on the 22 player game day roster does not appear on the preliminary 30 player roster, he is not permitted to play. A game will not start without the roster check having been completed and game checks received. If the Referee has not contacted Home Team management prior to game day, Home Team management will check the AIFA to determine the names of the officials working the game. This meeting is in addition to the meeting required under Rule 5-11.
5.11. The Referee and Umpire of each crew shall meet with the Head Coach of each team one hour before kickoff, for general rule interpretations/questions/concerns and player inspection of playing equipment
5.12. Forty minutes prior to kickoff, the Head Linesman will check the chains and meet the chain crew (instruct chain crew to retreat into the end zone behind the offense before each play). The Back Judge will check with the ball boys and clock operator.
5.13. The home team is responsible for supplying the following: three chain crew workers; two statisticians; two ball persons; a game clock and play clock operator; PA Announcer. Note: Adults are required to fill these positions.
5.14. The Referee for each AIFA contest shall administer penalties using official football hand signals (Rule S), and when equipped with a microphone, shall report with a verbal call all team penalties including infractions andoffending player(s) number(s).
5.15 In the absence of a visible, functioning play clock, the Back Judge is responsible for timing the 25 second interval.
5.16. The Back Judge is responsible for the official game clock.
6. Team Bench
6.1. All players/coaches/medical staff will be permitted on the team's bench, to include inactive and/or practice players, to a maximum of 30 players. All non-roster players and attendants in the bench area must be in official team apparel including team doctors, trainers, etc. No jeans, sweats, cutoffs, shorts are allowed
6.2.Coach-to-coach communication devices are permitted
6.3. The home team shall designate which side of the field will be utilized by the home coach. This decision will be made during the Referee/Umpire pre-game meeting with the head coach of the home team. Once made, this decision may not be changed
6.4. Only one coach per team may be on the field at any time, and must remain 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage at the snap, against the dasher boards, and on their designated side. The coach will not enter the field past the top of the numbers at any time, other than during a team timeout. The first offense of coming inside the top of numbers; failing to remain ten yards behind the line of scrimmage at the snap; or having a second coach on the field, is a 5 yard delay of game penalty. The second offense is also a 5 yard delay of game penalty, but results in the loss of sideline privileges for the offending staff member for the remainder of that contest. There will be no warning. Note: It is acknowledged that different arenas have numbers placed at varying distances from the sideline dasher boards. This rule is specific to each arena. The width of the coaching belt depends solely upon the setup of the arena. Ejected players and/or coaches and/or team personnel must leave the team bench area and return to the locker room for the remainder of the contest.
Rule 6- 3
1. The offensive coach for Team A comes inside the top of the numbers in order to talk to the QB. Ruling: Immediate flag; 5 yard delay of game from the dead ball spot. Later in the game, the same coach comes inside the top of the numbers in order to discuss a call with the Referee.
1.1 Ruling: Immediate flag; 5 yard delay of game from the dead ball spot, and this coach has lost his sideline privileges for the remainder of the contest. The coach commences screaming at the Referee, arguing a call.
2.1Ruling: The 5 yard delay of game penalty is enforced, and a subsequent 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is assessed against the coach. The key points to consider are the coach does not come inside the top of the numbers at any time during the game except to enter or leave the field of play at the start or end of series: end of series.
2.2.1 if the coach wants to argue a call or otherwise act in an unsportsmanlike manner after crossing inside the top of the numbers, not only will the coach be assessed a 5 yard delay of game penalty, but a 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be tacked onto the delay of game penalty Interpretations: Rule 6-3 1. The offensive coach for Team A comes inside the top of the numbers in order to talk to the QB. Ruling: Immediate flag; 5 yard delay of game from the dead ball spot. Later in the game, the same coach comes inside the top of the numbers in order to discuss a call with the Referee. 1.1.1 Ruling: Immediate flag; 5 yard delay of game from the dead ball spot, and this coach has lost his sideline privileges for the remainder of the contest. The coach commences screaming at the Referee, arguing a call. 1.2.1 Ruling: The 5 yard delay of game penalty is enforced, and a subsequent 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty is assessed against the coach. The key points to consider are 184.108.40.206 the coach does not come inside the top of the numbers at any time during the game except to enter or leave the field of play at the start or end of a series; and 220.127.116.11 if the coach wants to argue a call or otherwise act in an unsportsmanlike manner after crossing inside the top of the numbers, not only will the coach be assessed a 5 yard delay of game penalty, but a 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be tacked onto the delay of game penalty 7.
7. The Game
7.1. The coin toss will take place two minutes prior to kickoff at midfield. All pregame ceremonies and announcements must be complete no later than two minutes prior to the scheduled kickoff time. The winner of the coin toss may elect to kick, receive, defend or defer
7.2. Each contest will consist of four 15-minute quarters with a modified running clock (Rule J - Timing).
7.3. The official time will be under the supervision of the Back Judge (Rule J - Timing).
7.4. If the game is tied after four quarters, Overtime will take place (Rule ON - Overtime).
7.5. Media timeouts will be as follows: the first and third periods will have two media timeouts. These will occur with approximately 9 and 5 minutes remaining in the 1st and 3rd periods. In the 2nd and 4th periods, the media timeouts will occur with approximately 9 minutes remaining and at the 1 minute warning mark. Each media timeout may be a maximum of 2 minutes in length. NOTE: The media timeouts may be waived at the sole discretion of the home team.
7.6. A live ball in player possession is declared dead when as a result of opponent contact (emphasis added): a) any part of the runner’s body, except his hand or foot touches the ground, or b) any part of the runner’s body touches the dasher boards. Should a runner slide, slip or fall to the ground without opponent contact and remain there, or if the quarterback slides feet first, he has declared himself down and the official shall sound his whistle. The ball shall be marked at the spot of the ball’s location when the runner first contacted the ground.
7.7. Inside the final minute of each half, if a runner touches the dasher board, intentionally or not, he is declared out of bounds and the clock is stopped. Intent is not a requirement of this rule. Note: This only concerns a player who is in possession of the ball (a runner). All loose balls that hit the wall will become dead immediately and will belong to the team in last possession , ie, fumble or backward pass, or the loose ball leaves the field of play/end zones (outside the dasher boards). See Interpretations for further explanation.
7.8 . During the final minute of the fourth quarter, the "positive yardage/clock" rule is in effect. Positive yardage is defined as follows: when the ball is snapped within the final minute of the fourth quarter, and the team on offense is ahead in the score, they must advance the live ball beyond the previous spot, or the game clock shall stop at the end of the down and start on the next legal snap. This is referred to as the positive yardage/clock rule.
1. B45 falls on/covers up a scrimmage kick that has landed short of the end zone. B45 makes no motion to get up and run with the ball.
1.1.1 Ruling: The act of covering up the ball means B45 has given himself up and the ball should be declared dead at that spot. B45 must rise immediately after gaining possession of the ball in order to keep the play alive.
2. With 55 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, A88 attempted to catch a pass while backed up against the dasher board at the 10 yard line. He tips the ball into the air but only gains possession after releasing from the dasher board and lunging back into the field of play.
1.2.1 Ruling: A88 is still alive and may advance the ball. At the time he gained possession of the ball, A88 was not touching the dasher board; therefore, he may advance after the catch.
1. If there is a loss of yardage on the play, but a defensive foul results in a gain, the clock shall re-start on the ready-for-play following enforcement of the penalty. As a result, the defense will not gain a time advantage by committing a foul.
8. The Players, Alignment, Action and Equipment
8.1. Eight players on the field for each team; 22-man active roster; 8 players may be on an inactive roster. Note: It is at the discretion of the individual team if the inactive players will be paid. The Head Coach will provide to the Umpire, prior to commencement of the game, an original, signed, 22 player game day roster which includes an “Equipment and Roster Certification” which certifies that the players on the game day roster are properly equipped according to these Rules, and that said players have been instructed as to the proper use of such equipment.
8.2. Offense - During scrimmage downs, the offensive team shall consist of 8 players, delineated and aligned as follows:
8.1.1 One center who must snap the ball, with one guard on each side of the center. Either guard may be considered an eligible receiver, but only one guard may be eligible per play and must clearly and inconspicuously identify himself as the eligible guard prior to the play. Any violation of this interior line formation is an illegal formation foul. The eligible lineman will be deemed ineligible if covered up by a WR on the line of scrimmage.
8.1.2 The other five offensive players shall be three receivers, a quarterback, and a running back. Each of these players is an eligible receiver. If a player is positioned as a receiver on the line of scrimmage, said player becomes ineligible if he is or becomes “covered up” by another wide receiver 8.1.3 Alignment:
18.104.22.168 A minimum of four (4) offensive players must be stationary and on the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. This is the center, two guards, and at least one receiver. The splits between the center and guards may not exceed one yard in width. The offensive lineman may line up in a two (forearms resting on thighs), three or four point stance. Offensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle and must face the opponent’s goal line with shoulders aligned approximately parallel thereto. The head of each offensive lineman must break the plane of a line drawn through the waistline of the snapper. No receiver, or receivers, if more than one, may line up or cross the line of scrimmage while in motion less than three yards from the outside shoulder of the nearest guard. Any violation of this rule is a live ball, 5 yard, illegal formation foul.
22.214.171.124 Two players, the quarterback and one (1) running back, must be positioned in the offensive box prior to and at the snap and both must be stationary. There must be “daylight” between the running back and the deepest interior lineman. The offensive box is defined as the area between the outside shoulders of each guard, not to exceed five (5) yards wide; and the box continues from the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line. The entire offense must be set for at least one second before any player goes in motion. Any player may receive a handoff in the offensive box if that said player is in motion and is NOT in the tackle box during the snap of the ball. High Motion can never take a handoff even if he was outside of the box before snap. This is a safety issue.
8.1.4 The minimum requirement for the offense to be in a legal formation is to have four (4) players stationary and on the line of scrimmage at the snap. If the offense lines up with less than the required number of backs or receivers (i.e. there is no running back in the box and the offense only has 7 players including the 4 required to be stationary and on the LOS at the snap), this is not an illegal formation as no advantage is gained by the offense. AIFA rules permit legal play so long as the offense has 4 players on the LOS at the snap.
8.1.5 Motion: Only one (1) eligible receiver may be in motion forward, backwards, or laterally, prior to and at the snap. Restrictions for motion receivers are
126.96.36.199 Cannot begin motion until entire team is set for one second (illegal shift)
188.8.131.52 Cannot be in motion through or stationary within the offensive box at the snap (illegal motion)
184.108.40.206 Cannot perform a “stop-motion” move (illegal motion)
220.127.116.11 Cannot block one of the three interior defensive linemen until the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage (personal foul, illegal block – ten yards)
18.104.22.168 Cannot, when in forward motion, or when lined up on the line of scrimmage, be within three yards of the outside shoulder of the nearest guard
9 Defense - During scrimmage downs, the defensive team shall consist of 8 players, delineated and aligned as follows:
9.1. Three (3) defensive players must be down linemen, in a three or four-point stance at the snap. It is an illegal defense if the down linemen are not in a 3 or 4 point stance at the snap.
9.2. The nose guard must line head up on the center. Head up is defined as having more than 50% of the nose guard’s helmet directly across from the offensive center’s helmet. The other defensive lineman may align head up or in a shade technique on the offensive guards. The shade cannot be wider than shoulder to shoulder. Defensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. The three defensive linemen must be aligned on one of the interior offensive linemen. The defensive linemen must rush the passer until such time as the ball leaves the offensive box. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
9.2.1 Note: This rule clarification 22.214.171.124 codifies that which is stated on page ten of the AIFA Officiating Mechanics Manual, i.e. the nose guard must line “head-up” on the offensive center
126.96.36.199 mandates that the defensive linemen must rush the passer
9.2.2 Defensive linemen cannot drop or go laterally into pass coverage. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense
9.2.3 Defensive linemen are permitted to stunt, loop, twist, or scrape
9.2.4 Two (2) defensive linebackers must initially be positioned in the defensive box, must remain motionless in the box immediately prior to the snap, and cannot leave the defensive box until the ball is snapped. The linebacker’s restriction to the defensive box is controlled by each offensive play. “Defensive Box” is the area defined by imaginary lines perpendicular to the outside shoulders of the outside defensive linemen. The depth of the defensive box is 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
9.2.5 Only one linebacker may blitz on any given play. Either may blitz regardless which Tight End declares. If one elects to blitz, the linebacker must pass between two defensive linemen in the "A" gap only. Linebacker alignment begins within the defensive box, and there must be “daylight” between the defensive linemen and both linebackers. No Linebacker may be in a stacked position and both linebackers must remain motionless in the box immediately prior to the snap. One linebacker may cover sideline to sideline while dropping to a maximum of 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. However, he must be in the defensive box at the snap. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
9.2.6 When the ball is snapped from the 6 yard line and in, the 6 yard depth restriction on the linebackers disappears. However, only one linebacker may move laterally out of the box, the other one can rush if not must stay in the box until offensive requirements are met . All other restrictions on the linebackers remain in force in that both must remain motionless in the box prior to the snap, they must have daylight, and only one may blitz
9.2.7 If the running back leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end, and defensive backs and linebackers are allowed to force the run (blitz).
188.8.131.52 To summarize this rule: note the following:
184.108.40.206.1 both linebackers must remain motionless and in the box immediately prior to the snap;
220.127.116.11.2 they may not line up in a stacked position; c) a maximum of one may blitz;
18.104.22.168.3 A maximum of one may move laterally out of the box after the snap but not exceed a 6 yard depth; and e) daylight must exist between the defensive linemen and the linebackers.
The penalty for any illegal defense is 5 yards from the previous spot. There can be no illegal defense.
if the running back leaves the offensive box, as all linebacker restrictions end when the running back leaves the offensive box.
22.214.171.124 It is legal for a team to not blitz either linebacker.
126.96.36.199 If play action occurs by the offense, or if the ball leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end; and defensive backs and linebackers are allowed to force the run (blitz).
188.8.131.52 Defensive backs have free alignment (excluding the box) and can align on the receiver at any depth (press, loose, off, etc.) If a Defensive back is in the box at the snap, the penalty is for an Illegal Defense (exception: when the ball is snapped from the 3-yard line and in, a defensive back may be in the box at the snap as long as he is moving and not stationary
9.3. All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the runner down. This rule applies anywhere on the field. This is an illegal horse collar tackle. Personal foul, 10 yards and automatic first down.
9.4 No player shall twist, turn or pull the face mask or any helmet opening of an opponent. It is not a foul if the face mask or helmet opening is not twisted, turned or pulled. When in question, it is a foul. Personal foul, 10 yards and automatic first down.
9.5 Players shall adhere to the following numbering requirements: 50-79 or 90- 99 for offensive lineman and eligible receiver's numbers 1-49 and 80-89. There are no numbering requirements for the defense. Note: PAT and field goal attempts are an exception to the numbering requirement.
9.6 All teams shall be properly equipped, and the Head Coach will certify all player equipment as stated in Rule H-1. 9.6.1 No casts (unless padded with approved foam etc.), hard substances, metal, or steel may be on any part of the uniform/shoes at any point of an AIFA contest. All teams must wear AIFA approved game socks. All players must be dressed the same. Face shields may be tinted in any color. No mirror shields, without league approval All players will wear required pad(s).
9.6.2 Proper shoes for the surface are mandatory. Exception: A Kicker may kick barefoot
9.6.3 approved helmet, shoulder pads, socks, and team issued uniform are mandatory, along with hip pads, thigh pads, knee pads, gloves (approved by a football sanctioning body) and belts. All equipment must be worn at all times and pants must cover the knees. Failure to wear proper equipment will result in the player being sent out of game and may not return until he or she is wearing the required proper equipment.
9.7 Numbers must be placed on the front and back of all jerseys (12” on front, 14” on back).
9.8 Teams Must have player names on the back of their jerseys.
9.9 Spatting must be done in the same color as the team color with no visible markings, messages, etc. being made to the spat unless it is replacing a shoe sponsor logo
9.10 Any official may remove any player that is not properly equipped. If this occurs, the offending team will be charged a time out, and the player must become properly equipped before being allowed to re-enter the game. If a team has used all of their timeouts, a 5 yard delay of game penalty will be enforced.
9.11 All players must be 18 years of age or older. Note: Any player immediately out of High School that plays professionally would automatically lose his NCAA eligibility.
9.12 Each team must declare 30 days before the season their designation as a white or black shoe team. This means that all members of the team shall wear the same color shoe for all contests for the season. If a League-wide shoe sponsorship is in place, all teams must use that shoe brand.
8-8.1.1 states the formation requirement for the three interior linemen. It follows that there may not be an unbalanced line, i.e. a snapper with the two guards on one side of the snapper. Any unbalanced line (to include scrimmage kick formations) is a live ball, illegal formation foul.
8-8.1.2 states that no receiver, or receivers if more than one, may line up closer than three yards from the outside shoulder of the nearest guard. This is interpreted to require that not only does the stationary receiver on the line of scrimmage have to be lined up at least three yards outside of the nearest guard, but also, any motion man in motion towards the line of scrimmage at the snap may only cross the line of scrimmage outside this 3 yard requirement. If the stationary receiver lines up inside three yards, or if this forward motion receiver crosses the line of scrimmage inside three yards, it is a live ball, illegal formation foul. If the motion receiver is moving parallel to the line of scrimmage at the snap, there is no three yard requirement. However, the blocking restrictions remain on this parallel motion receiver.
8-8.1.2 states that the offensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. This is interpreted as requiring the offensive lineman to have his shoulders “approximately” parallel to the goal line and his head breaking the plane of the line drawn through the waistline of the snapper. The intent of the rule is to ensure the offensive lineman does not gain an advantage by lining up at an extreme angle. So long as the lineman’s head breaks the plane of the line drawn through the waistline of the snapper and his shoulders are close to parallel with the goal line, he is legal. If the offensive lineman is not aligned as required herein, it is a live ball, illegal formation foul.
8-8.1.4 mandates “daylight.” Daylight is determined by the wing officials, by observing the plane which runs parallel to the line of scrimmage and through the rear most portion of the rear most interior lineman’s body part, usually the foot. If any part of this plane is breached by either the running back or his equipment, there is no daylight. The quarterback is exempt from the daylight rule when he is in position to take a direct hand to hand snap from the snapper.
8-8.1.6 the parameters for the wing officials in calling the motion men for a false start are as follows. The wing officials will permit the motion receiver up to a 2 feet maximum “grace space” before the play is killed. That is, if the motion receiver is two feet or less beyond the line of scrimmage at the snap, the wing official will let the play continue and not call a foul for a false start. Anything in excess of two feet the wing official will kill the play and throw a flag for a false start. In addition, the false start by motion man is what kills the play so if the defense encroached prior to the snap but after the receiver has crossed the line of scrimmage, the encroachment is ignored because by rule, as soon as motion man crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap, the play is dead. A receiver may not perform a “stop-motion” move. This means a receiver may not start his motion, and then abruptly stop his motion. This is illegal motion. Stop motion only applies when a receiver is in forward motion. If a receiver is retreating from the line of scrimmage, then stops and reverses his motion back towards the line of scrimmage, this is not illegal stop motion as no advantage is gained.
1. 9-9.1.1 requires down defensive linemen to be in a 3 or 4 point stance at the snap. If a defensive lineman is retreating after jumping into the neutral zone in anticipation of the snap, and has made it back to his side of the line of scrimmage, he has not gained an advantage and this is an exception to the requirement that the down lineman must be in a 3 or 4 point stance. This play is not a foul for illegal defense, but rather, if the lineman has not made it back to his side of the line of scrimmage, it is a live ball encroachment foul.
2. 9-9.1.2 states that defensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. This is interpreted as requiring the defensive lineman to have their shoulders “approximately” parallel to the goal line, and to prevent the defensive lineman from lining up at an extreme angle. If the defensive lineman is not aligned as required herein, it is a live ball, illegal defense foul. If the official is in doubt as to whether or not the nose guard is lined head-up, the official shall rule the action legal. After the play, the official should advise the player to take a more obvious head-up position or a foul could be called. Officials should use their best judgment and practice preventive officiating in this type of situation.
3. 9-9.1.5 states the depth of the defensive box is 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. If a linebacker goes beyond the six yard depth of the defensive box, the Umpire WILL throw the flag because the umpire does not know where the linebacker is nor what he is doing, and this linebacker can’t be watched. This is why the umpire must align at a 6 yard depth on every play, and remain “planted” at six yards as best he can until linebacker restrictions end.
4. 9-9.1.4 states that no linebacker may be in a stacked position and both linebackers must "remain motionless in the box immediately prior to the snap." This is interpreted such that the linebackers are permitted to shift or move in the box; however, just before the snap, they must be motionless. The rule permits movement, but all movement must cease just prior to the snap, so no advantage is realized by the linebackers. If the linebackers are not motionless just prior to the snap, it is a live ball illegal defense foul. Stacked position is defined as lined up directly behind a down lineman. This is a live ball, illegal defense foul.
5. 9-9.1.5 states that if a linebacker elects to blitz, he must pass between two defensive linemen in the "A" gap only. The A-gap is defined as either side of the center. The linebacker may blitz through either A-gap. Some teams have set plays where it will look like an outside rush however it is legal if the blitz is through the A-gap. Keep in mind, in order for this foul to be called, (as in many foul situations) an advantage must be gained. That is, if a linebacker blitzes wide, the Umpire will focus in on this linebacker. When the A-gap closes, umpires must be careful with this foul. If the linebacker goes into the A-gap and is picked up by the guard or center and taken wide, where he beats that guard or center, there is no foul. The linebacker’s initial move was into the A-gap and thus, is legal. In order to call this foul, the linebacker must clearly take a path outside the guard’s shoulder and blitz wide. When this occurs, the Umpire must go into the "advantage gained" mode, and decide if the foul should be called. If a linebacker enters into the offensive box at any time for any reason, this will be interpreted as a blitz. The linebacker does not have to “charge hard” for it to be a blitz. If the linebacker enters the offensive box, this is a blitz. It is this second linebacker’s responsibility to avoid entering the offensive box at any time, if the other linebacker has blitzed.
9-9.1.7 states that when the ball is snapped from the 6 yard line and in, the 6 yard depth restriction on the linebackers disappears. In addition, both linebackers may move laterally out of the box. Only one linebacker may move laterally anytime during the game. All other restrictions on the linebackers remain in force in that both linebackers must remain motionless and in the box prior to the snap; they must have daylight; and only one may blitz. This is interpreted that either or both linebackers may retreat more than 6 yards into the end zone, or move laterally out of the box. This eases the umpire’s burden, especially when the umpire may be responsible for the goal line. In this situation, all the umpire should be concerned with are that he has two linebackers motionless and in the box prior to the snap; that the linebackers have daylight (wings assist with this call); and only one linebacker blitzes. The umpire may forget the 6 yard line of demarcation and the lateral movement, and concentrate on the goal line.
9-9.1.8 states that if the running back leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end. This means that one or both linebackers may blitz, retreat greater than 6 yards, or move laterally into the flats, and there is no illegal defense. It is critical to know when the running back left the offensive box, because if the illegal linebacker movement occurred before the running back left the offensive box, it would be an illegal defense. Note: This rule only refers to linebacker restrictions ending. Even though the running back has left the offensive box, the defensive linemen must continue to rush the passer, they may not go into the flats to cover the back.
9-9.1.11 states that if play action occurs by the offense or if the ball leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end. Play action is interpreted as a hand-off, a fake hand-off, or a pump action fake throw by the quarterback. When one of these actions occur or the ball leaves the offensive box – think rollout), all linebacker restrictions end. This means that one or both linebackers may blitz, retreat greater than 6 yards, or move laterally into the flats, and there is no illegal defense. It is critical to know when the action which lifted the linebacker restrictions occurred (i.e. play-action, ball left box, etc.), because if the illegal linebacker movement occurred before such action, it would be an illegal defense if after, no foul has been committed.
9. 9-9.1.12 states that “Defensive backs have free alignment (excluding the box) and can align on the receiver at any depth (press, loose, off, etc.) If a Defensive back is in the box at the snap, the penalty is for an Illegal Defense.” (exception: when the ball is snapped from the 3-yard line and in, a defensive back may be in the box at the snap as long as he is moving and not stationary). It does not matter if the arena has a narrow end zone. If the defensive back is in the defensive box at the snap, it is an illegal defense. If the defensive back is trying to get across the defensive formation via the defensive box, he must be out of the box at the time of the snap or he will be penalized for an illegal defense – defensive back in the defensive box at the snap. The responsibility is on the defensive back to ensure he is out of the defensive box at the snap (NOTE: On a scrimmage kick, there is no restriction on the number of defensive players who may be in the defensive box at the snap).
ADD*** The defensive back may be moving through the box, deeper than the linebacker depth, trailing the motioning WR across the formation.
Rule 9-4 details a horse collar tackle. This type of tackle is prohibited anywhere on the field.
9-9.1 mandates that all teams are properly equipped - no casts (unless padded with approved foam etc.), hard substances, metal, or steel may not be on any part of the uniform/shoes at any point during an AIFA contest. This rule regarding player equipment will require pre-game certification by the Head Coach, as stated in Rule H-1. The Umpire will check all padded casts prior to the start of the contest to ensure adequate padding is in place to cover any casts.
9-9.1.3 requires that any glove be approved by a sanctioning body. The sanctioning body may be the NFL, the NCAA, or the National Federation and must contain an approval tag on the glove.
Just prior to the snap, the Referee notices that A58 is missing thigh pads. Ruling: Timeout charged to Team A. A58 must put on the required equipment before being allowed to play. If Team A is out of timeouts, a 5 yard delay of game penalty will be assessed
Editor’s note: This section was added because there are some differences in this area between the NCAA and Federation rules, especially in regard to chop blocks.
10.1 Blocking is obstructing an opponent by contacting him with any part of the blocker’s body. Pushing is blocking an opponent with open hands.
10.2 Blocking below the waist is the initial contact below the waist with any part of the blocker’s body against an opponent, other than the ball carrier. When in question, the contact is below the waist. Blocking below the waist applies to the initial contact by a blocker against an opponent who has one or both feet on the ground. A blocker who makes contact above the waist and then slides below the waist has not blocked below the waist. If the blocker first contacts the opposing player’s hands at the waist or above, it is a legal “above the waist’’ block. Blocking below the waist is permitted except as follows: i. Eligible receivers are prohibited from blocking below the waist toward the original position of the ball in or behind the neutral zone and within 10 yards beyond the neutral zone.
10.2.1 During a down in which there is a scrimmage kick from a scrimmage kick formation or a free kick, all players are prohibited from blocking below the waist, except against the ball carrier
10.2.2 After any change of team possession, all players are prohibited from blocking below the waist, except against the ball carrier.
10.2.3 Team A player behind the neutral zone and in position to receive a backward pass shall not be blocked below the waist or contacted by way of a personal foul
10.3 A chop block is a high-low or low-high combination block by any two players against an opponent (not the ball carrier) anywhere on the field, with or without a delay between blocks; the “low” component is at the opponent’s thigh or below.
10.4 Clipping is an illegal block against an opponent occurring when the force of the initial contact is from behind and at or below the waist (Exception: Against the ball carrier). Exceptions: Offensive players who are on the line of scrimmage at the snap within the blocking zone, legally may clip in the blocking zone, subject to the following restrictions: i. A player in the blocking zone may not block an opponent with the force of the initial contact from behind and at or below the knee (Exception: Against the runner).
10.4.1 A player on the line of scrimmage within the blocking zone may not leave the zone and return and legally clip.
10.4.2 The blocking zone exists until the ball is touched outside the zone or the ball is outside the zone after a fumble, backward pass or muff from inside the zone.
10.5 A block in the back is contact against an opponent occurring when the force of the initial contact is
from behind and above the waist (Exception: Against the ball carrier). When in question, the
contact is below the waist.
10.6 The blocking zone is a rectangle centered on the snapper and extending three yards laterally and
three yards longitudinally in each direction. The blocking zone disintegrates when the ball leaves
the zone. A block in the back is illegal. Exceptions: Offensive players who are on the line of
scrimmage at the snap within the blocking zone may legally block in the back in the blocking zone,
subject to the following restrictions:
10.6.1 A player on the line of scrimmage within this blocking zone may not leave the zone and return and legally block in the back.
10.6.2 The blocking zone exists until the ball is touched outside the zone or the ball is outside the zone after a fumble or muff from inside the zone.
10.6.3 When a player turns his back to a potential blocker who has committed himself in intent and direction or movement.
10.6.4 When a player attempts to reach a runner or legally attempts to recover or catch a fumble, a muff, a backward pass, a kick or a touched forward pass, he may push an opponent in the back above the waist.
10.6.5 When an eligible player behind the neutral zone pushes an opponent in the back above the waist to get to a forward pass
11 Timing - An AIFA game shall consist of four 15-minute quarters. Halftime shall be a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 25 minutes (this is at the discretion of the Home Team)
11.1 A running game clock will be used except during the final minute of each half. The running clock will start:
11.1.1 When a free kick is legally touched in the field of play (runner/ball must be out of the end zone).
11.1.2 On the ready for play after a change of team possession or official’s time-out or a media time-out.
11.1.3 On the snap after a charged team time-out and after the one (1) minute warning in the 2nd and
11.2 A running clock will stop:
11.2.1 Following a down in which the final result is a change in team possession
11.2.2 Following a penalty
11.2.3 Following an extra point attempt
11.2.4 Following a field goal attempt
11.2.5 Following a safety
11.2.6 For a media time-out
11.2.7 For a team or official’s time-out
11.2.8 In the final one minute of each half (NCAA timing rules are applicable), the clock stops for first downs, out-of-bounds plays and incomplete passes. In the event of an official’s time-out, the clock will restart based on the status of the previous play
11.3 When inside the final minute of either half (one minute timing rules), if the runner touches out of bounds (contacts the dasher board) in the field of play, intentionally or not, the clock shall stop. It will restart on the subsequent snap. Intent is not a requisite of this rule
11.4 During the final minute of the fourth quarter, the "positive yardage/clock" rule is in effect. Positive yardage is defined as follows: when the ball is snapped within the final minute of the fourth quarter, and the team on offense is ahead in the score, they must advance the live ball beyond the previous spot, or the game clock shall stop at the end of the down and start on the next legal snap. This is referred to as the positive yardage/clock rule (also found in G-7).
11.5 Each team is granted three (3) timeouts per half; each 1 minute in length, except during the last minute of the 2nd and 4th periods, when the time-outs will be 30 seconds. All time-outs will be timed by the Back Judge
11.6 The AIFA will utilize a 25/35-second play clock that will be under the supervision of the Back Judge. If there is no 25/35-second clock in clear view on each end of the field, the Back Judge will indicate the final 5 seconds of the play clock by raising his hand. The play clock would start as soon as the previous play is blown dead i.e player tackled or incomplete pass.
11.7 Media timeouts will take place as follows: 1st & 3rd period – 9 minute and 5 minute marks; 2nd & 4th period – 9 minute mark and at the 1-minute warning. Media timeouts will also occur in between the 1st and 2nd period, as well as the 3rd & 4th period
11.8 The clock will stop for any injured player and that player must leave for one play. Inside of one minute in the 2nd and 4th periods, the injured player’s team will be charged with a timeout. If the team is tied or trailing in the score, and has no timeouts left, 10 seconds will be removed from the game clock. If the injury occurs within the final 10 seconds, regulation time is ended
11.9 The offensive team's QB may spike the football to stop the clock inside of one minute of the second and fourth periods. The pass must be thrown immediately after the snap is controlled and before the ball touches the ground. Note: the passer may legally spike the ball to conserve time either from a hand-to-hand snap or a shotgun formation
11.10 Acceptable crowd noise is not a reason for clock stoppage. Acceptable crowd noise includes but is not limited to any non-electronically or non-air/gas powered noise. Cowbells, seat banging, feet stomping, screaming, clapping are all examples of acceptable crowd noise. Whistles, electronically powered or air/gas powered horns or noise devices are considered unacceptable noise, and if identified, the clock may stop and the fan will be ordered to cease use of this device, or be removed from the arena. All music pumped through the arena speakers must cease when the offense breaks the huddle. Any derogatory comments by the arena announcer will be penalized. Persons subject to the rules, including bands, shall not create any noise that prohibits a team from hearing its signals. These violations will be enforced as a delay of game penalty against the home team
Rule 11 - General
1. In reference to a penalty during a try: how do we start and stop the clock? First, we start with the premise that this game is played with a running clock, unless inside one minute. Therefore, if we have a penalty on a try, proceed as follows: Stop the clock, enforce the penalty, then restart the clock on the ready. When the try is over, stop the clock per AIFA rules. If the running clock happens to “run down” to one minute in the interim after the score but before the try, we stop the clock at the one minute mark and the try continues under “outdoor” timing rules, i.e. we have an untimed down for the try. Remember, the key here is we simply interrupted a running clock because we had to enforce a penalty. Then, we restart the clock unless we are operating under the one minute timing rules.
1. In the field of play” is defined as the playing area between the goal lines (emphasis added). The end zone dasher boards are not considered to be in the field of play. In essence, any voluntary contact with the dasher board behind a goal line is always ignored, even when operating within the one minute timing rules, and the ball remains live.
2. QB A18 is scrambling in the back of the end zone. Under his own power, he brushes up against the dasher board. Play continues and A18 throws a pass downfield which is complete. Ruling: The pass is complete; the QB is not ruled down when he contacted the dasher board as he did so under his own power, and the dasher board was located in the end zone
3. A18 is scrambling in the back of the end zone. B45, while pursuing A18, pushes A18 into the dasher board. Ruling: Safety. A18 is down, as per Rule G-6, a live ball in player possession is declared dead when as a result of opponent contact (emphasis added), any part of the runner’s body touches the dasher boards 40 seconds remaining in the half. K kicks off. R44 is pressed back against the end zone dasher board, awaiting the kick. As R44 catches the kick, he is touching the end zone dasher board. RULING: R44 is not down and he may return the kick. (Note: This change permits kicks and interceptions to be returned from the end zone even if the player is touching the dasher board in the end zone, when operating within the one minute timing rules.)
The Referee will use his discretion in enforcing the timing of the rule requiring the music pumped through the arena speakers to cease upon the breaking of the huddle. So long as the music ceases before the quarterback calls his signals, the timing of making this call is up to the Referee’s discretion. In addition, whether a comment by the arena announcer is derogatory is at the discretion of the Referee.
12 Movement of Football and Scoring
12.1 Four (4) downs are allowed to advance the ball ten (10) yards for a first down, or to score
12.2 Six (6) points for a touchdown
12.3 One (1) point for a conversion by place kick after a touchdown, two (2) points for a conversion by drop kick and two (2) points for a successful run or pass after a touchdown. Note: A team may legally fake a PAT or a field goal
12.4 Three (3) points for a field goal by place kick or four (4) points for a field goal by drop kick
12.5 Two (2) points for safety. Note: Any foul for which the enforcement spot is behind the offensive/receiving team’s goal line, results in a safety for the defensive/kicking team
12.6 One (1) point will be awarded to the kicking team if the kicker, on any free kick, kicks the football through the uprights and over the crossbar. In addition, if the receiving team, after securing possession in the end zone, fails to return the ball out of the end zone, one (1) point will be awarded to the kicking team. Placement will be the receiver’s 5 yard line, opposite the QB’s throwing arm, after a successful one (1) point Uno. An Uno may not be scored for failing to return the ball out of the end zone after a scrimmage kick
12.7 Play will be whistled dead, at any point during the game when the football hits off any part of the goal posts and fails to pass over the crossbar and between the uprights
12.8 The kicking team may not score a Uno after a safety. If the kickoff after a safety goes through the uprights for what normally would be an Uno, the ball is placed on the 5 yard line; however no point will be scored
12.9 When the last play in regulation results in a touchdown, the PAT must be attempted, even if the outcome has been decided by this touchdown on the last play of regulation
12.10 Any PAT returned for a score by Team B scores two points
12.11 The manner in which goal posts are suspended from the arena ceiling may vary from arena to arena. Therefore, the Referee will determine pre-game (after discussion with the head coach of the home team) the arena ground rules as they relate to scoring attempts by kick.
12.8 By rule, for a scrimmage kick (or free kick for a Uno) to be good, the entire ball must pass inside the inner plane of the upright. The question arises when a kicked ball strikes the support wire coming out of the top of the goal post and bounces in (or out). Technically, by rule, if the ball hits a support wire coming out of an eye bolt on top of the upright, the ball could not have possibly passed the inside of the inner plane of the upright as a wire coming out of an eyebolt is not "inside" the inner plane of the upright. Therefore, by the technical rule, the kick would be no good. However, each arena has goal posts set up with different mechanical arrangements. Some arenas have wires parallel with the cross bar, high above the posts, as part of the support mechanism. Some arenas may have wires coming out of the posts at angles. Each arena may have a different set-up. For example, what if a kicked ball splits the uprights, high above the uprights, but smacks into a parallel support wire and bounces back into the field of play - thereby not completing its pass "through the uprights?" Do we call this "no good?" (We would not) Depending upon the arena set up, different things can be in play when it comes to ruling whether a kick is good or not. The following is how these calls are to be handled. Prior to the pre-game discussion with the head coaches, the Referee must inspect the goal post set up in the arena, and determine how it will be ruled whether a kick is good or not. If the support wires extend straight up out of the top of the uprights, we will use this wire as an extension of the upright, even though by doing this, we have "widened" the width of the uprights by a few inches. If support wires are parallel to the cross bar, and a ball bounces back into the field on a kick that would have split the uprights if the parallel wire was not present, we will call this good. The Referee will discuss this goal post set up with the home team coach, and together, will determine the arena "ground rules" for the game as to how this call will be made. For example, if the support wires go directly up from an eye bolt in the center of the top of the upright, these wires will be an extension of the uprights and if a ball hits this wire and bounces in, the kick is good. If the support wires go out at an angle rather than straight up, then the wires will not be an extension of the uprights. Again, the Referee, in conjunction with the home team coach, will come to an agreement as to what the ground rules are for the arena, and advise the visiting coach. Then, while the game is in progress, everyone is on the same page when an issue arises, and will be aware of how the call will be made. Common sense should always prevail.
13.1 A kickoff is a place kick or drop kick from anywhere (emphasis added) along the kicking team’s goal
line. There is no requirement to have a minimum number of K players lined up to one side of the
kicker or the other. Under no circumstances shall any kickoff be made from anywhere other than
from the kicking team’s goal line. Kickers may use a one-inch tee
13.2 On kickoffs, either team can recover and retain possession after the ball has touched the ground and traveled ten yards, or after the ball becomes live by the receiving team touching the ball prior to it traveling ten yards. Balls kicked into the dasher board remain live, but are not considered to have been grounded.
13.3 Any untouched ball that is kicked out of bounds on the fly or through the end zone on the fly will be placed at the receiving team’s 20 yard line or the spot where the ball went out of bounds if beyond the receiver’s 20 yard line. A kickoff out of bounds is not a penalty. 5 yards is not added on to any out of bounds spot, unless there is a penalty requiring such.
13.4 Any kickoff that hits an overhead structure, or the goal post or uprights is dead, and the ball will be placed at the receiving team’s 20 yard line.
13.5 Any kickoff that is either touched by the receivers in the field of play, or hits the ground in the field of play, and subsequently goes out of bounds in the field of play, will be placed at the spot where the ball went out of bounds. However; if the receiver touches the ball in the field of play or in the end zone and the ball subsequently goes out of bounds in the end zone, the ball is placed at the 5 yard line. A Uno is not scored in this situation as the receiver did not possess the ball.
13.6 There must be an attempt to return each kickoff by the receiving team. Any free kick which touches the ground in the end zone remains live, and either team may recover the ball (emphasis added). If the kicking team recovers the ball in the end zone, it is a touchdown. If the receiving team, after securing possession of the ball, does not return the football out of the end zone into the field of play, a Uno (1 point) will be awarded to the kicking team, and the ball is placed at the 5 yard line. If a runner of the receiving team steps past his goal line into the field of play, and then returns to his end zone where the ball is declared dead, the kicking team will be awarded a safety. If the receiving team (Team B) commits a foul in which the enforcement spot is behind their own goal line, the result of the play is a safety – 2 points awarded to Team A.
13.7 If a fan interferes with any kickoff, either by touching the ball or touching the receiver, the ball becomes dead and will be placed at the receiving team’s 20 yard line, if the interference occurs inside the receiving team’s 20 yard line. If the interference occurs outside the 20 yard line, the ball is spotted at the location of the interference. A yardage penalty will not be assessed for fan interference on a free kick. The covering official must sound his whistle immediately if this occurs.
13.8. Dual possession of a kickoff belongs to the receiving team.
13.9. Onside kicks: If K commits a penalty on an initial onside kick attempt after the particular score, if the penalty is accepted, it is vaulted. If, on the next attempted onside kick K commits another penalty, this penalty is automatically declined and the ball is awarded to R at the spot of recovery or the out of bounds spot. The vaulted penalty may then be enforced.
13.10 No K player may block an opponent until K is eligible to touch a free-kicked ball. Note: if the receiving team player initiates the block, it is not a foul.
13.11 No K player may touch a free-kicked ball until after: It touches a receiving team player (Exception: a player blocked by an opponent into a free kick is not deemed to have touched the kick)
13.11.1 A grounded kick breaks the plane of the receiving team’s restraining line or touches any player, an official, a dasher board, or anything beyond the receiving team’s restraining line. Thereafter, all players of K become eligible to touch, recover or catch the kick. Note: It is kick-catch interference if A touches a free kick in flight before it touches the ground, a dasher board, a receiving team player, an official, or anything else beyond the receiving team’s restraining line.
13.12 Any other touching by K is illegal touching, a violation that, when the ball becomes dead, gives the receiving team the privilege of taking the ball at the spot of the violation.
13.13 If a penalty incurred by either team before the ball becomes dead is enforced, or if there are offsetting fouls, the illegal touching privilege is canceled.
13.14 No kick may be fair caught; however, the receiver must be provided the opportunity to catch the ball
Rule 13 - General
1. Kickoff goes OOB on a fly at team B’s 10 yard line. Ruling: Snap from 20.
2. Kickoff goes OOB on a fly in the end zone. Ruling: Snap from 20.
3. Kickoff goes OOB on a fly at B’s 23 yard line. Ruling: Snap from B 23
4. Kickoff hits the ground or receiving team player and goes OOB at the 1 yard line. Ruling: Snap at 1 yard line
5. Kickoff hits the ground at the 23 yard line and goes OOB at the 17 yard line. Ruling: Snap from 17 yard line
6. Kickoff hits ground untouched in the end zone or field of play, and bounces out of end zone. Ruling: No Uno scored, snap from 5, as receiver, even though he did not touch the ball, is considered to have had the opportunity to return the ball. No Uno is scored because the receiver did not possess the ball
7. Kickoff goes towards the dasher boards near the 10 yard line. A fan reaches over the boards and interferes with the player attempting to secure possession of the ball. Ruling: Dead ball, snap from 20 yard line
8. Kickoff scores a Uno, but K was offsides. Nullify the Uno, and vault the penalty. K scores a Uno on the subsequent free kick. Ruling: Score the Uno, spot the ball at the 5, and enforce the 5 yard offside vaulted penalty. R first and ten at the ten yard line K6’s kickoff is short and bounces high multiple times and ends up loose in R’s end zone, untouched by anyone. R4 picks the ball up and is under heavy duress. In a panic, he underhand tosses the ball forward to R5 who is at the goal line. R5 catches the ball and pushes forward to the 4 yard line where he is tackled. RULING: Foul on R4 for an illegal forward pass. Because the enforcement spot is behind the receiving team’s goal line, the result of the penalty is a safety. The kicking team is awarded 2 points, and will receive the subsequent kickoff.
14. Interference with the Opportunity to Make a Catch
14.1 Instances of Kick Catching Interference: I. Kicking team player catches a kick, thus preventing an
opponent from making the catch.
14.1.1 Receiver is about to catch a scrimmage kick, and is tackled before the ball arrives but catches the
kick as he is falling.
14.1.2 A kicking team player is beyond the neutral zone, and is standing or running between a kick in flight and the receiver; then the kicking team player is struck by the ball while the receiver is in a position to catch the ball.
14.1.3 The receiver, in attempting to catch the ball, bumps into the kicking team player.
14.1.4 On a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone, a kicking team player stands in or runs through an area close to a receiving team player who is in position to catch the ball.
14.2 Interference with the opportunity to catch a kick is a ten yard penalty from the spot of the foul. If the foul occurs in the receiving team’s end zone, a touchback is awarded to the ten yard line and then the penalty is assessed. If the actions by the kicking team player are flagrant, this player shall be disqualified.
14.3 If the receiving team player muffs the ball that is then touched by a kicking team player who was not interfering with the opportunity of the receiver when he was in position to make the catch, this is NOT interference, as protection against interference with the opportunity to catch a kick ends when any receiving team player muffs the ball.
14.4 If a kicking team player beyond the neutral zone first touches or catches any kick in flight which no receiver team player could have caught while it was in flight, this is illegal touching but not interference. R is awarded the ball at the spot of the illegal touching.
15. Forward and Backward Passes
15.1 Passing rules in the AIFA are the same as NCAA rules except that the boards are not out of bounds and balls are alive off the boards in the air including the top of the dasher board. A player must be in firm possession of a ball in flight in order to make a legal catch. Players may be leaning on the boards when making a catch but cannot be standing or positioned on the boards in "anticipation" of the catch. Inside the last minute of each half, if a player makes a reception while in contact with the boards, it will be ruled a catch and the receiver will then be ruled out of bounds.
15.2 Only one forward pass, from behind the line of scrimmage, can be attempted by the offense on any given players. Only the WR/RB/QB with proper numbering is eligible to catch a legal forward pass. Note: During a scrimmage kick play, an offensive player legally positioned as an end or back does not have to be wearing an eligible number to catch a legal forward pass. In this situation, the player does NOT have to report to the referee as an exception to the standard numbering. A scrimmage kick formation is a formation with at least one player seven yards or more behind the neutral zone and in the offensive box, no player in position to receive a hand-to-hand snap from between the snapper’s legs, and it is obvious that a kick may be attempted. The maximum number of eligible Team A receivers at the snap can never be more than five (5) players.
**ADD** The QB may not go out for a pass if the QB takes the snap from under center. If the QB
takes the snap from “shotgun formation”, the QB is now eligible to receive a pass.
15.4 Dual possession on a reception by the offensive and defensive players will be awarded to the offense.
15.5 If a player attempts to secure a loose ball near the dasher boards, and his momentum or an opponent's contact forces him over the boards, he may be awarded possession, if in the opinion of the covering official, and the ball was secured prior to landing on the other side of the boards. Possession can never take place after a loose ball touches anything (to include a fan) beyond the dasher boards other than a player. It is either a catch or not, based upon the covering official’s judgment. If a fan touched a ball in this situation, it is an incomplete pass rather than fan interference, as the action occurred outside the dasher boards.
15.6 No ineligible lineman may be downfield before a legal forward pass which crosses the neutral zone
15.7 The passer may throw the football away if he cannot find an eligible receiver, but he must be out of
the offensive box and the pass must cross the line of scrimmage, otherwise intentional grounding
will be called. While in the box, if the passer decides to throw the ball away, an eligible Team A
receiver must be in the area of the pass, unless the pass is thrown immediately to the ground after
receiving the snap.
15.8 If a fan in any location, or any team personnel or team player in the player’s box interferes with a play during the game, the play becomes dead and the penalty, if accepted, will be a 5 yard delay of game penalty, charged against the home team (in the case of fan interference) or a 10 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against the team whose personnel or player interfered, enforced from the succeeding spot. If the penalty is declined, the ball is put in play at the spot of the foul. Interference is defined as obstructing a play when a fan, non-player, or team personnel in the team box, reaches beyond the plane of the dasher board anywhere over the field and interferes with the play. (See Penalty Section) Note: The key in determining whether fan interference has occurred, or not, is whether the person “reached beyond the plane of the dasher board onto the field.”
15.9 If fan interference by a specific fan continues, and in the opinion of the Referee, this action makes a
farce of the game, the offending fan will be ejected by arena security, upon request of the Referee.
15.10 An eligible receiver may not be blocked below the waist beyond the neutral zone.
15.11 If the defense intercepts the ball in the end zone or recovers a fumble in the end zone and the
play is declared dead and is a touchback, the subsequent snap will be from the ten-yard line on the
hash opposite the passer's throwing arm.
15.12 Eligible receivers touching the dasher board remain eligible
1.0 Scrimmage kick formation is a formation with at least one player seven yards or more behind the neutral zone and in the offensive box, no player in position to receive a hand-to-hand snap from between the snapper’s legs, and it is obvious that a kick may be attempted. “Obvious that a kick may be attempted” is interpreted as meaning only that a holder and place kicker must be in position to attempt a kick. Although the rules permit drop kicks, a player who is going to attempt a drop kick would not demonstrate to the defense that “a kick may be attempted.”
1.0 This type of play is a judgment call. An official must note the distinction between “having possession of the ball” and “attempting to secure possession of a loose ball.” If the player has possession of the ball, the player is down by contact if forced into the dasher board by an opposing player. If the player is attempting to secure possession of a loose ball, and is forced into or over the dasher board by an opposing player, this player is not “down by contact” as he is not yet in possession of the ball. In this rare situation, if the player ends up possessing the ball on the other side of the dasher board, it will be ruled a catch, even if the player touches a structure or person outside of the dasher board. If a loose ball touches anything or person other than a player outside the boards, the play is over as we have a dead ball. Note that by definition of fan interference as stated in Rule M-8, there can be no fan interference in this specific situation simply because fan interference can only occur when the non-player reaches beyond the dasher board over the field of play. Fan interference cannot occur outside the boards.
16. Scrimmage Kicks – Field Goals & Point After Touchdowns (PAT)
16.1 Team A must line up with five (5) down linemen on the line of scrimmage, a personal protector, a holder, and a place kicker. The splits between each lineman may not exceed one yard in width. The offensive box in this formation is as wide as the outside shoulders of the two outside linemen. There may be no unbalanced line. Note: There is no foul for illegal formation if Team A is missing a personal protector, and plays with only seven (7) players.
16.2 The kicker, holder, and the personal protector shall be inside the offensive box.
16.3 No Team B players other than the four (4) down linemen may rush the kick.
16.4 For a PAT, the ball will be placed at the 2.5 yard line. The lateral position of the ball must be selected by Team A before the ready-for-play signal is given by the Referee. The snap may be from anywhere on or between the outer hash marks. If no location is requested by Team A, the Umpire shall place the ball in the center of the field. The ball may only be relocated after a charged timeout by either team; or after an accepted penalty by the defense.
16.5 The kick may be faked.
16.6 Team B must line up with four (4) down linemen; head up on the offensive linemen and are the only defenders who may rush the kick. The center must not be covered. Any linebacker must have daylight between him and the rear most portion of the rear most defensive lineman. The linebackers may approach the line of scrimmage after the snap but cannot pass the line of scrimmage (blitz) or it is a foul for illegal defense. If the kick is blocked in or behind the neutral zone, all Team B players are free to pursue the ball or runner and are not subject to any illegal defense restrictions.
16.7 No kick may be fair caught. If a scrimmage kick is caught or touched in the air first by Team A (kicking team), the ruling will be illegal touching (or kick catch interference if B was in position to catch the kick in flight). A new series shall be awarded to Team B (receiving team) whenever, after a scrimmage kick, Team B elects to take the ball at a spot of illegal touching. However, if there are offsetting fouls or if a foul is enforced that was committed by either team before the ball became dead, this privilege is canceled.
16.8 After any scrimmage kick has touched the ground in the field of play or in the end zone, or touched a dasher board in the field of play or end zone, or touched a member of Team B (receiving team) beyond the neutral zone, the kicking team (Team A) may recover, but not advance the kick. If the recovery is beyond the line to gain, Team A (kicking team) will be awarded a first down. If the recovery is in the receiving team’s end zone (Team B), the kicking team (Team A) is awarded a touchdown. If Team A recovers behind the line to gain, Team B (receivers) must have touched the ball first beyond the line of scrimmage in order for Team A to be awarded a first down. Otherwise, the ball belongs to Team B at the spot of recovery.
16.9 Missed field goals may be returned if caught or recovered by Team B, from anywhere within or on top the dasher-boards, including Team B’s end zone. If Team B touches the ball in the end zone and the ball subsequently goes out of bounds, it is a touchback and the ball is placed on the 10-yard line.
16.10 No Uno may be scored on a scrimmage kick. Note: A missed field goal attempt that touches the ground in Team B’s end zone remains alive.
16.11 During scrimmage kicks, a ball declared dead in player possession in Team B’s end zone is either a touchdown for Team A or a touchback for Team B (ball placed at 10 yard line). However; if Team B commits a foul where the enforcement spot is behind Team B’s goal line, the result is a safety – two (2) points for Team A.
16.12 Dual possession of a scrimmage kick belongs to the receiving team (Team B).
16.13 Any unsuccessful field goal attempt that is kicked out of bounds, untouched by Team B, shall be placed either at: a) The "out of bounds spot" if beyond Team B’s ten yard line; or b) Team B’s 10 yard line if the out of bounds spot is inside Team B’s ten yard line. Support nets, overhead structures, etc., are considered out of bounds for scrimmage kicks/field goals. If a scrimmage kick strikes the upright or crossbar and pass through the uprights, the kick is good. If a scrimmage kick strikes the upright or cross bar and not pass through the uprights, the ball is dead and a touchback is ruled and the ball placed at the 10 yard line, first and ten for Team B
16.14 On all 4th downs, the Umpire will automatically place the ball on the inside hash-mark closest to the previous dead-ball spot. Note: The offensive team may elect to have the ball placed at the outside hash-mark if they are to attempt a field goal and there is the potential for the kick to hit an overhead structure, however, this election may only occur on a 4th down field goal attempt. If a field goal attempt is attempted on either 1st, 2nd, or 3rd down, the ball may not be moved to the outside hash mark, unless the result of the previous play required spotting the ball on the outside hash.
16.4.1 PATs are spotted at the 2.5 yard line. Team A may request to move the ball from the center of the field, so long as the request is made to the Umpire prior to the Referee’s ready for play signal. If the request is not made prior to the ready for play, Team A must call a timeout in order for the ball to be repositioned.
16.8.1 A 4th and 10 from its own 7 yard line sets up in scrimmage kick formation. The ball is kicked high into the air, and touches the ground at Team A’s 23 yard line. A50 runs downfield and recovers the ball at the 23. Ruling: A is awarded a first down, as the ball was recovered by A beyond the line to gain. A 4th and 7 from its own 15 yard line sets up in scrimmage kick formation. A3’s kick is partially blocked at the line of scrimmage and thus is high and short. No Team B player attempts to secure the ball when A37 catches the ball in the air at A’s own 20 yard line. Ruling: Illegal touching by A37 since the ball had not first touched the ground or been touched by a Team B player beyond the neutral zone. Team B is awarded the ball first and ten at the spot of the illegal touch. Note: touching/blocking of a kick in or behind the neutral zone is ignored.
16.8.2 Team A attempts a scrimmage kick/field goal from Team B’s 15 yard line. The kick is missed badly and fades off to the side, hitting an end zone dasher board. B83 attempts to recover the loose ball, but is blocked out of the way by A23 who recovers the ball in Team B’s end zone. Ruling: Touchdown. The ball is alive and may be recovered by any team when in the end zone. If B83 had secured possession, it would have been ruled a touchback, with the succeeding spot Team B’s 10 yard line
16.8.3 A 4th and 10 from its own 20 yard line sets up in scrimmage kick formation. The ball is kicked in a line drive trajectory, and touches the ground in Team B’s end zone. B 50 picks up the ball and attempts to return the ball out of the end zone. While still in the end zone, B 50 is hit by A 22 and fumbles. The ball is loose and is recovered by A28 Ruling: Touchdown Team A, as the ball remained live
The ball is loose in the end zone, when it touches the ground in the end zone.
Note that if B 50 was tackled in the end zone, it would be a touchback, with the succeeding spot on Team B’s 10 yard line and Goal for A at the B9 yard line. Field goal attempt is blocked and bounds forward into the end zone. B56 picks up the ball and attempts to run it out of the end zone. In a panic to avoid being tackled, B56 pitches the ball forward to teammate B47 who is at the 2 yard line. B47 runs to the 25 yard line and is tackled there. Ruling: Safety, 2 points for Team A. Team B must kickoff at their goal line. Because the enforcement spot for the illegal forward pass is in B’s end zone, the result of the penalty is a safety.
17.1 Overtime will follow the NCAA format. Ball will be placed at the 25 yard line.
17.2 Here will be only one coin toss. The winner of the toss will choose between offense, defense or end of the field where they will play the first OT series. The loser of the toss shall have their option in the subsequent OT series, and the first choice will alternate for each additional overtime series that is played.
17.3 Each team has one timeout for each overtime period (unused timeouts from regulation play do not carry over into the overtime period).
17.4 If the score is still tied after two series in overtime, a team scoring a touchdown must go for a two (2) point PAT. This 2-point attempt may be from scrimmage or by drop-kick.
17.5 One minute timing rules will not be in effect in overtime.
17.6 All other overtime rules shall be administered per NCAA rules.
17.1 Officials must be aware that in overtime, the game clock is of no significance. Therefore, if a player in possession of the ball touches the dasher board without having been forced into the dasher board by opponent contact, the ball remains live, as it would under normal timing rules (outside of one-minute in each half). The Referee will instruct the Head Coaches prior to the overtime that the one minute timing rules will not be followed during the overtime period
18 Referee/Coaches Conference
18.1 Each Head Coach is permitted one conference with the referee in each half. This conference must be to discuss what the coach believes is the misapplication of a rule. The Referee shall not grant the conference to discuss a judgment call by any official.
18.2 The Referee will announce the conference prior to the discussion. If the ruling was misapplied, the challenging team will not be charged a time-out. If the ruling was correct, a time-out will be charged to the team who requested the time-out. If all three time-outs have been used, the coach may not request a coach-referee conference
18.3 Only the Head Coach may request the conference. The Head Coach may not enter the field to make the request if another coach is on the field. The Head Coach must request the conference from the bench area, and the conference must take place outside the numbers. The Head Coach is the only coach permitted in the conference.
19.1 Penalty enforcement procedures are based on NCAA rules. Any penalty or game situation that is not covered in this document will be handled in accordance with NCAA rules. The Referee has the authority to rule on any situation not specifically defined in this document. This is referred to as a “command decision” and will be based on what he believes is in the best interest of the AIFA. This may necessitate the Referee conferencing with his crew.
19.2 Five Yard Penalties: More than eight players breaking the offensive huddle at any time; Offensive encroachment; Defensive offside; Illegal Defense; False start; Illegal snap; Delay of Game; Illegal formation by offense; Illegal Shift; Ineligible man downfield; Running into the kicker; Illegal Substitution; Fan Interference (Non-Kick; charged against the home team).
19.3 Five Yard Penalties and Loss of Down: Illegal Forward Pass; Intentional grounding.
19.4 Ten Yard Penalties: Offensive holding; Block in the back; Entry of a player during a play; Illegal Block by Man-in-Motion; Penalty for setting a pick against any official on the field; Unsportsmanlike Conduct can be referred by aggressive acts by a player and can include shoving and pushing, the second situation is a personal foul Unsportsmanlike Conduct (Note: if a player commits a second unsportsmanlike conduct foul, he is ejected from the contest); Interference with opportunity to make a catch; Helmet removal in field of play or end zones; Team Personnel or player interference from the team box.
19.5 Ten Yard Penalties and Loss of Down: Illegally kicking the ball.
19.6 Ten Yard Penalties (and an Automatic First Down if committed by Defense): All Personal Fouls; Illegal Block Below the Waist; Clipping; Holding; Facemask; Tripping; Roughing the Kicker; Roughing the Passer; Piling on; Unnecessary Roughness; Roughing the Holder; Pass Interference (may be a spot foul); Horse Collar Tackle; Flagrant Foul.
19.7 Ten Yard Penalty with Disqualification and Fine.
19.7.1 Any flagrant foul. Hitting, Striking, Punching an opponent; fine first offense $200.00 and one game suspension; second offense $500.00 and five game suspension from AIFA games/practices. A flagrant personal foul is a rule infraction so extreme or deliberate that it places an opponent in danger of catastrophic injury.
19.7.2 Striking an Official; $300.00-$500.00 fine at the discretion of the AAL Executive Director, and at minimum, a one calendar year suspension from the AIFA.
19.7.3 Hitting, Striking, Punching a fan or other non-player; $300.00-$500.00 fine at the discretion of the AIFA Executive Director, and at minimum, a one calendar year suspension from the AIFA.
19.7.4 If subsequent review of a game by AIFA officials reveals plays involving flagrant personal fouls that
game officials did not call, the league may impose sanctions prior to the next scheduled game.
19.8 Defensive Pass Interference Clarification (NCAA Rules are applicable).
19.8.1 DPI inside 10 yards of spot of snap = Spot Foul, Automatic First Down.
19.8.2 DPI outside 10 yards of spot of snap = 10 yard penalty, Automatic First Down.
19.8.3 From B's 12 yard line to 2 yard line = Spot Foul, Automatic First Down.
19.8.4 From B's 2 yard line including end zone = Spot at 2 yard line (half the distance if snapped from
19.9 Vaulted Penalties - Any penalty that would otherwise relocate a kick-off from K's goal line shall be placed in the vault and administered at the succeeding spot. All vaulted penalties shall be administered in the order of occurrence. If R returns a kickoff for a touchdown, the score counts and any vaulted penalty against R shall be enforced on the try. If R returns a kickoff for a touchdown, any vaulted penalty against K shall be enforced after the succeeding kickoff. The referee will announce vaulted penalties when the down is over, and prior to the kickoff, as well as prior to the actual enforcement.
20 Player Uniforms
20.1 All players are required to wear team-issued uniforms for all AIFA games. Uniforms include jerseys, pants, helmets, socks, and any other equipment issued by the team. Jerseys must meet the AIFA standards and have league insignia embroidered or patched on the center neck of the jersey and on the left upper thigh of the pants
20.2 Numbers must accompany the front and back of all jerseys (10 or 12 inch on front, 12 or 14 inch on back).
20.3 Last names must be on both home and away jerseys.
20.4 Teams shall carry jersey numbers within these parameters: 50-79 or 90-99 for offensive lineman and eligible receiver's numbers 1-49 and 80-89.
20.5 Game socks must be pulled up to the bottom of the kneepad on pants. Stockings must be one color and all active participants shall wear the team issued socks with a white mid-calf athletic sock over them. Socks must be the same for the entire team.
20.6 New for 2022. Coaches must be wearing the same color slacks and Polo Shirt. (No jeans, shorts or sweat pants)
20.7 Proper shoes for the surface are mandatory.
20.8 No jewelry of any nature shall be worn during an AIFA contest.
20.9 Headwear under the helmet is optional, but if worn, must be approved by the league.
20.10 No personal messages of any kind may be displayed on any part of the AIFA player or uniform. All jerseys must be tucked in at all times.
20.11 The home team shall wear the dark colored jersey and the visitors shall wear the white road jersey for all AIFA contests. If the home team wants to wear the white road jersey for a home contest, the AIFA Executive Director must approve this request by 12:00 noon on the Wednesday before the weekend contest. The visiting team will be notified immediately of the request and must approve of the uniform change.
20.12 All teams shall be properly equipped - no casts, hard substances, metal or steel may be on any part of the uniform/shoes at any point of an AIFA contest.
20.13 approved helmet, shoulder pads, socks, and team issued uniform is mandatory, hip pads, thigh pads, kneepads and belts are optional
20.14 Gloves may be any team colors or black or white but must be approved by the AIFA.
21 Officials’ Signals
21.1 The AIFA Officials’ Signals are the same signals used by the NCAA. The illegal defense signal will be the right arm extended out to the side with the forearm extended up in a 90 degree manner, with the open palm facing forward (NCAA/Federation Signal 32). The Uno signal will be the same as the signal for a touchdown, followed by one arm raised, with the index finger pointing in the air to indicate one point is to be awarded.
22 The Playing Surface 200’ X 85’
22.1 All AIFA franchises must use League-approved indoor turf for all home games.
22.2 The home team must notify the AIFA CEO or President, the AIFA Officiating Office, and visiting teams regarding special surfaces, ex. Indoor field turf vs. Indoor Astroturf (etc.), to ensure both teams have the proper footwear for that particular contest.
22.3 Fields or Dashers must bear the AIFA logo in designated areas ($1000.00 fine per game for no logo).
22.4 Fields must be painted only after receiving AIFA League approval