Number of Replay Challenges Allowed per Game

Each team will have the ability to execute one challenge per game.

Rule 1.7.6 (page 17) – Instant Replay Review

Rule (page 70) – Initiating a Review

Adjust use of Replay

No longer allow a coach to challenge for an illegal Contact Penalty.

Rule 10.2.3 (page 69) – Coach Challengeable Penalties

Allow the Replay Official to automatically review plays, out in space, where a touchdown may have been scored.

Rule (page 71) – Automatic Reviews

The Replay Official will correct the game clock to what the clock should reach based on the outcome of the challenge.

Rule 10.2.5 (page 72) – Outcome of Reviews

Blindside Blocking

It shall be illegal for any player to deliver a forcible block on an opponent while moving back towards their own dead ball line anywhere on the field.

Rule 7.2.3(r) (page 56) – Unnecessary Roughness

Rule 7.2.12 (page 58) – Blindside Blocking


Widen the interpretation of spearing to include any situation where a player, other than the ball carrier, delivers a blow with their helmet as the initial or primary point of contact. Remove the need for a player to launch himself to be part of the standard for spearing.

Rule 7.2.3(f) (page 55) – Unnecessary Roughness

Low Blocking

It shall be illegal to block an opponent below the waist outside an area bounded by the tight end positions, running from 2 yards in advance of the line of scrimmage back to the initial position of the quarterback or kicker.

Rule 4.3.4 (page 35) – Illegal Block


Change pyramiding to a 10 yard penalty and allow it to be applied on the following kick off if it occurs on a convert attempt.

Rule 7.1.3 (page 53) – Pyramiding

Rule 8.5.1(b) (page 63) – Foul on Convert

Force Outs

Require all players to land with one foot in bounds after gaining possession of the ball on passes, fumbles and kick offs.

Rule 1.9.1 (page 19) – Out of Bounds

Rule 6.4.5 (page 49) – Complete Forward Pass

Passer behind Line of Scrimmage

The passer needs at least one foot on or behind the line of scrimmage when the ball is released to be considered behind the line of scrimmage.

Rule 6.4.3 (page 48) – Eligibility of Passer

Sleeper Play

Add receiving a lateral pass and a kicked ball to the definition of a Sleeper Play.

Rule 1.11.5 (page 25) – Sleeper Play


Adjust the circumference of the official game football.

Rule 1.1 (page 13) – The Ball

NOTE: All 2018 rule changes have been printed in bold throughout the Rule Book.


In searchable permalink form

Tips on Linking to the Rulebook
Table of Contents

CFLdb is in need of a copy of the CFL 2012 and 2014 Rulebook. If you can loan/provide an electronic copy/sell/help, please contact me.

You are reading the 2018 version of the rulebook. Other available versions of this page are:


Converted to the web by CFLdb. An Adobe Acrobat PDF of the current version is available.

The original source of the version presently being viewed is © Copyright 2018 Canadian Football League

Publication Credits

Content compiled and entered by Jeff Harbin 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 Darren Hackwood, Director of Officiating at dhackwood@cfl.ca. Any inquiries regarding CFL Statistical Scoring Rules may be directed to Steve Daniel, Director of Game Information and Head Statistician at sdaniel@cfl.ca.