The game shall start promptly at the time prescribed by the Commissioner. If the team is late appearing on the field at the start of the first or third periods, they will be penalized.
At the start of the game, the captains of both teams shall meet the Referee at centre field. The Referee shall toss a coin with the visiting team captain making the call. The captain of the team winning the coin toss shall declare whether to have first choice at the start of the first or second half.
The captain of team having first choice at the start of the first half shall choose between:
The captain of the other team shall have first choice at the start of the second half, when both captains shall again meet the Referee at centre field to make their choices.
The length of game shall be 60 minutes of actual playing time, divided into four periods of 15 minutes each. The scoreboard clock shall be the official time for the game and shall be operated under the direction and control of the Timekeeper. (See Rule 2, Section 2, Article 10).
Goals shall be changed at the end of the first and third periods. At the start of the second and fourth periods, the ball shall be put into play at a point corresponding exactly to the point at the other end of the field where the ball became dead at the end of the previous period. It shall be put into play in exactly the same manner as if play had not been interrupted.
The kickoff to start the second half shall take place at exactly 14 minutes after the conclusion of the first half and a team shall be subject to penalty if the players are not lined up on the field ready to start the second half at that time.
Time shall start when the ball is touched following the kickoff at the start of a half, or after a scoring play, and shall continue until the ball is ruled dead and an official signals to the timekeeper that time shall stop for any of the following reasons:
If in any period the ball becomes dead with only a short period of time remaining, the team in possession shall be entitled to one complete play even though that play may extend beyond the normal termination of that period.
If a touchdown is scored on the last play of a period, the period shall be extended to include the convert attempt.
After a time out for any reason, time shall start again on the signal of the Referee for any of the following reasons:
If, during the last three minutes of a half, an infraction is committed before the ball can be snapped the non-offending team may:
After a touchdown, time shall stop and shall resume when the Referee declares the ball in play for a convert attempt, except during the last three minutes of a half, when time shall resume when the ball is touched on the ensuing kickoff.
Each team shall be granted two time outs per game and will be permitted to use them at any point during regulation time, subject to the following:
An Instant Replay Review request, challenging the ruling on the field, may only be initiated by the Head Coach, who will throw a marker flag onto the field, prior to the legal snap of the ball.
Each team will have the ability to execute two (2) challenges per game, if a team is successful on both, they will gain the opportunity to execute a third challenge.
The first challenge will have no impact on team time outs, regardless of the outcome of the challenge.
A second challenge, if unsuccessful, will result in the loss of a team time out.
In order to execute a second challenge, a team must have a team time out remaining.
In order to execute a third challenge, a team must have been successful on both their first two (2) challenges and must have a team time out remaining.
A third challenge, if unsuccessful, will result in the loss of a team time out.
If both team time outs have been used prior to any challenges, a team will continue to have the opportunity for one challenge.
All reviews after the three-minute warning has been issued in the fourth quarter to the end of the game (including Overtime) will be initiated by the Replay Official, except that a team may challenge a called or a non-called defensive pass interference foul ONCE if the team has a challenge remaining and a team time out remaining. If a team challenges a called defensive pass interference foul during this time period, they will retain their time out regardless of the outcome of the challenge but will lose their time out if they unsuccessfully challenge a non- called defensive pass interference foul. To challenge a called or non-called defensive pass interference foul in Overtime, a team need only have a challenge remaining.
The ball shall be considered in play until an official stops the game by sounding the whistle.
The game shall not be stopped because of player injury until the ball is dead.
The Referee shall not stop the game to impose a penalty until the ball is dead.
The game shall not be delayed except by permission of the Referee. Any unauthorized delay shall be subject to penalty.
The Referee shall allow Team A 20 seconds in which to put the ball into play. If the stadium countdown clock is not in operation, the Referee shall be the sole judge as to when the time count shall commence, after allowing both teams reasonable time in which to line up after the preceding play.
NOTE: If in the opinion of the Referee, Team A is taking a deliberate third down time count penalty, the Referee may order Team A to put the ball in play legally within 20 seconds or forfeit possession to Team B.
The Team A captain may request the Referee to stop the game if excessive crowd noise prevents Team A from putting the ball into play. The Referee may permit Team A to return to its huddle. The Referee shall allow reasonable time but under no circumstances shall the play be delayed more than three times.
In the event that the home team permits in its stadium the use of either electronic equipment or high volume loudspeakers when the visiting team is attempting to put the ball in play, with the result that the game is delayed, the home team shall be subject to penalty for delay of game.
The ball is in goal if it is on or behind the Goal Line, even in the air.
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Content compiled and entered by Glen Johnson and Andre Proulx
The CFL Official Rule Book is published annually by the Canadian Football League. Any inquiries regarding the CFL Official Playing Rules may be directed to Glen Johnson, Vice-President, Officiating @ email@example.com.