1. A fumble is defined as either loss of possession of the ball or failure to gain possession on a kick return where the ball is touched. A player generally should not be charged with a fumble if that player recovers his own fumble immediately and the defence is deemed to have had no chance for a recovery. However, if it is a flagrant fumble and opposing players have an opportunity to recover it, a fumble should be charged.

    The act of merely touching the ball is not necessarily considered to be possession. On the greased-pig type of scrambling for a fumbled ball, charge the original player for the fumble and credit the eventual recovery to the player who winds up with the ball. Ignore all momentary touching in between.

  2. On a play where a fumble is charged, yards gained/lost to the point of recovery are credited to the player who fumbled. Offensive players advancing an own team fumble recovery will be credited with those yards.


    1. Player A carries the ball for five yards, is tackled and then fumbles. The ball goes forward for another three yards and is recovered by the opposition. Player A is credited with an 8-yard gain and charged with a fumble lost. Same play but ball goes backward three yards and is recovered by a player of A’s team. Player A is credited with a two-yard gain and charged with a fumble, his teammate is credited with an Own Team Fumble Recovery.
    2. Team A running back carries the ball for 10 yards, fumbles and it is recovered by a Team A lineman, who then advances the ball for 12 more yards before the play is stopped. This is scored as a 22-yard rushing play. The running back is credited with one carry for 10 yards and a fumble, the lineman with zero carries and 12 yards rushing and an Own Team Fumble Recovery.
    3. Team A has the ball on Team B’s 30-yard line. Team A quarterback throws a pass to the Team A receiver, who carries the ball to the Team B 5- yard line and fumbles. The ball continues on into the Team B End Zone where it is fallen on by a Team A player. Team A quarterback is credited with a completed TD pass for 30 yards. The receiver is credited with a catch for 30 yards but no TD. The Team A player who recovered the ball is credited with a TD receiving but with no catch or yards.
    4. A player who fumbles a ball out of bounds without it being touched by another player is to be charged with a fumble and an own team fumble recovery.
    5. Yards gained by a player subsequent to recovery of a teammate’s fumble will remain as part of the play giving rise to the fumble and will be regarded in the nature of a gain after a lateral pass.


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/help, please reach out.

You are reading the 2019 version of the rulebook. Other available versions of this page are:

Please report any issues with the converted rulebook.


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 2019 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, Senior Director of Officiating at Any inquiries regarding CFL Statistical Scoring Rules may be directed to Steve Daniel, Senior Director of Game Information and Statistics at