HKAFL Flag 5v5 Non-Contact Rules

  • Flip a coin to decide which team gets first possession.
  • The offensive team takes possession of the ball at their 5-yard line and has 5 plays/downs to score.
  • If the offense fails to score, the ball changes possession and the new offensive team take over on their 5-yard line.
  • Interceptions can be returned. Ball is spotted where returner gets “tackled”.
  • (2) 17-minute halves, running clock (non-stop), for both regular season and Playoff games. The clock ONLY stops at the 1-minute warning of both halves. Each time the ball is spotted a team has 25 seconds to snap the ball. Each team has one 30 second timeout per half.
  • If the final whistle blows, and the team with possession is within 1 TD (6 or 9 points) of winning or tying, then they are allowed 1 final play, provided they have downs available (not 5th down).


  • All teams are required to provide one player to be a referee each week. Referees will either ref the game before or after their own team's game.
  • Two referees per game.
  • All players are encouraged to study the rules prior to the start of the season.
  • A team that does a ‘no show’/Forfeit on the day during the season will not be eligible for the playoffs.
  • A team that does 2 advanced forfeits (must give a day’s notice) in the season will not be eligible for the playoffs.
  • A team whose referee doesn’t turn up twice in the season is not eligible for the playoffs.
  • A forfeit will result in a 20-0 score for the winning team.
  • Teams must field a min of three players at all times.
  • No limit on number of players per team.
  • If team is more than 10 minutes late for their scheduled game they will be ‘no show’/forfeited.
  • Teams may start at their scheduled time, regardless of whether their opponents are ready. Referee’s discretion.
  • Players must keep their shirts tucked in, so that Flags are fully visible. Additionally, flags cannot be the same color as jerseys and/or shorts, and flags must be on hips and not in front or back (penalty, unsportsmanlike conduct, 5 yards). Games cannot end on a defensive penalty, unless the offense declines it.
  • Shorts must NOT have pockets.
  • Games are played two halves of 17 minutes. Highest score at end of regulation wins.
  • Rubberband Mercy Rule (At any time if a team is leading by 28 points, winning team must sub off a player. The 5th player can come back on if the point differential becomes sub 28 points again. Teams may decline using this rule).
  • Touchdown = 6 points, extra point = 1 from 5 yards out or 2 from 10 yards out, safety = 2 points.
  • Touchdown for female players (has to be involved in the play as a recordable stat) = 9 points.
  • All extra point attempts can be returned as a defensive score worth 2 points.
  • Touchdowns scored on or after the final whistle of the game, still require an extra point conversion to be made, even though game time has expired. A game cannot end on a touchdown with no conversion attempt.
  • Players cannot “hurdle” or dive into the end zone; penalty is loss of down.
  • There is no overtime in the regular season. ONLY in Playoffs.
  • Coin toss determines first possession in overtime.
  • Each team receives three offensive plays. 5 yards-1 point, 10 yards two points. Possessions are alternating.
  • If the teams are tied again, overtime continues with sudden death rule, 1 play at a time, alternating possessions.
  • The person who receives the snap (identified as the Quarterback) cannot run the ball.
  • Direct hand-offs, pitches and laterals behind the line of scrimmage are legal. Offense can use multiple handoffs.
  • The player who takes the hand-off/lateral can throw the ball as long as he does not pass the line of scrimmage.
  • Forward handoffs are not considered a forward pass and the player can continue to throw a forward pass.
  • Laterals in play are allowed.
  • "No run zones" are located 5-yards before then end zone.
  • Spinning is allowed but players cannot leave their feet to avoid a defense player (no hurdling nor diving).
  • The ball is spotted where the flag is pulled, not where the ball is.
  • No Blocking or “Screening” is allowed at any time; if the Defense has his/her feet set, the Offense must change directions.
  • All players are eligible to receive passes.
  • Player must have both feet in bounds when making a catch.
  • One player is allowed in motion per play.
  • QB is allowed to receive passes after a hand-off.
  • All passes must be forward and thrown from behind the line of scrimmage. Any backwards passes are considered a lateral.
  • QB has a 7-second "pass clock". If the pass is not thrown within the 7 seconds, the play is dead and its a loss of down. Ball spotted at line of scrimmage.
  • Once the ball is handed off, the 7-second clock is dead.
  • Interceptions can be returned.
  • Ball must be snapped between legs, not off to one side.
  • Play is dead when and where the ball carrier’s flag is pulled.
  • Play is dead when the ball carrier steps out of bounds.
  • Play is dead when a touchdown is scored.
  • Play is dead when the ball carrier's flag falls out, followed by a one-hand touch.
  • Play is dead when the ball carrier's knee hits the ground.
  • There are no fumbles. The ball is spotted where it hits the ground.
  • Anytime the ball touches the ground, it's dead.
  • The QB is the player receiving the snap.
  • All players that rush the QB must be 7 yards from the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped, and they must be lined up at least 1 yard out from the straight line of the Snapper.
  • Rushers must have their hand up clearly, to be eligible to rush the quarterback. This hand must remain up until the snap of the ball.
  • Players can raise their hand but not rush.
  • Players not rushing the QB may defend at the line of scrimmage pre-snap, and cross the line of scrimmage after the snap only if going for a player that isn't the QB. They can not affect the QBs vision or movements, doing so will be "illegal rushing"
  • Once the ball has been handed off the 7 yard rule is no longer in effect and all defenders are eligible to rush.
  • The referee will designate 7 yards from the line of scrimmage.
  • Defenders must go for the flags and cannot obstruct or contact the throwing arm/upper body. Roughing the Passer.
  • Rusher Interference - the offense is NOT ALLOWED deliberately impede/block/obstruct the rushing path of the rusher. Once the ball is snapped, if the offensive player come off the line of scrimmage and their running route does "impede" or "block" or "obstruct" the path between the rusher and the QB, then it is a "illegal contact" penalty against the offense. 


Illegal flag pullBefore receiver has the ballSpot of foul, first down

Pass interference


Spot of foul, first down



5 yards

Illegal rushing

Start rush from inside 7-yd marker, or lined up directly in front of snapper

5 yards, offense cannot rush, repeat down



10 yards (from end of run), first down

Illegal contact

Bump and run, blocking, wrapping, grabbing, pushing players etc.

10 yards, first down

Roughing the passer

Includes hitting the passer on the follow-through; Defense cannot rip down QB’s arm or touch his hand at any point of play

10 yards, first down

Intentional tackling


Player ejection, first down

  • Note: face guarding is allowed as long as there is NO CONTACT.
Illegal motionMore than 1 person moving, false start, motion, etc.)5 yards, repeat down

Illegal forward pass

ball is thrown past the line of scrimmage - whole body must be past the LOS to be a foul

5 yards, loss of down


Offense running into a Defender who has his/her feet set

5 yards (from point of infraction), loss of down

Illegal Contact

Offense deliberately impede/block/obstruct the rushing path of the rusher

10 yards, loss of down

Offensive pass interference

illegal pick play, pushing off/away from defender

10 yards, loss of down

Flag guarding


10 yards (from point of infraction), loss of down

Delay of game


1st time: receive warning
2nd time: 10 yards, loss of down

  • Referees determine incidental contact, which may result from normal run of play!
  • Defender must hand flag back to ball carrier (5 yard penalty).
  • If the field monitor or referee witnesses any acts of tackling, elbowing, cheap shots, blocking, or an unsportsmanlike act, the game will be stopped and the player will be ejected from the game. Any players repeatedly ejected throughout the season will receive a league ban or game suspensions, at the discretion of the league.
  • Trash talking is illegal. Official has the right to determine language which is offensive; any derogatory language or verbal assault directed at the referee will result in 10 yard penalty and a player ejection
  • Only the team captain may ask the referee questions about rule clarification and interpretation. Player cannot question judgment call and cannot speak to the referee directly.
  • “Tackle” by going for flags, not for shirts or shorts.
  • FOUL PLAY WILL NOT BE TOLERATED! This is a recreational league, and we are all here to play safely and have fun.

Fields will be half of the rugby/soccer field. Endzones will be in line with the side of the 16 yard box (Soccer). If there is no 16 yard box, an appropriate 7-10 yard endzone will be marked out. Teams are responsible for marking out the field before the game. Sidelines will be the top of the 16yard box and the half way line. Flat cones will be used to mark out endzone.

*We reserve the right to reduce the number of games due to unforeseen circumstances.
*We reserve the right to amend the rules throughout the season, should an alternative ruling be fairer to all participants.

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