FIYA Flag Football Rules


FIYA's Girls 5v5 Flag Football Rules and Boys 7v7 Flag Football Rules are both listed below. These rules are effective as of September 2019 for our 2019 leagues.

  • If you've played in previous FIYA seasons, please continue to read through our updated documents prior to the 2019 season.
  • PDF Downloadable copies are also available to save to your files and/or print with the links to the right under "Flag Football Rules"









  • The game is played between two teams of FIVE players; females only.
  • A team must begin a game with five players but may finish a game with no less than four players.



  • The field shall be 80 yards by 40 yards, with two end zones of 10 yards each.
  • Note - Field sizes may need to be adjusted based on facility being used.



  • The junior size 6 football (two sizes below official high school ball) shall be used.  Teams bring their own ball.



  • No pads, gloves, casts, jewelry, or any hard surface material are permitted.
  • Grip enhancing substances are prohibited.
  • Metal and/or screw on cleats are prohibited.
  • Uniform shorts or pants MAY NOT contain pockets, belt loops or rivets.
  • FIYA will provide all flags.  Flags not issued by FIYA cannot be used in FIYA games.  Flag belts are attached by Velcro and there are 3 flags that should be oriented on the sides and in the back.  
  • Shirts must be tucked in so that flag belt is visible.
  • A mouthpiece is highly recommended but not mandatory.


 Game Procedures 

  • The ball shall be placed at the middle of the field for all downs.
  • To start the game, the ball is placed on offensive team’s own 25-yard line.  After a team score, there are no kickoffs but the ball is again placed on offensive team’s own 25-yard line.
  • The offensive team has four downs to advance the ball to the next zone.
  • Any ball that hits the ground is dead.
    • Exception – Punts:  A punted ball may bounce or roll until touched by a player.



  • The game shall be two 20 minute halves with running time.
  • Except as noted below, the clock stops ONLY for timeouts. 
    • Exception: If the score margin is 16 points or less AND there is 2 minutes or less remaining in the 2ndhalf only, the clock stops for the following:
      • incomplete passes;
      • running out of bounds;
      • penalties;
      • change of possession; and
      • scores (touchdowns and PATs)
    • The clocks resumes following a timeout or for the above listed exceptions when the center snaps the ball.
  • Except as noted above, the game clock runs after a touchdown.  There is a normal 30 second play clock to snap the ball for the PAT.
  • Except as noted above, the game clock runs after the point after touchdown play and there is a normal 30 second play clock once the referee places the ball on a 25 yard line for the offense. 
  • Intermission is at the discretion of game officials but may not exceed four (4) minutes between halves.



  • A touchdown is worth six points
  • Point(s) after touchdown may be attempted as follows:
    • One point from the two yard line.
    • Two points from the five yard line.
  • Safeties are worth two points.
  • The Defense CANNOT score on PATs.



  • Except for playoffs, there are no overtime periods.  For playoffs, see overtime rules in 7 on 7 FIYA Flag Football.



  • Each team gets three (3) thirty second timeouts per half which may not be carried over to the second half.
  • No additional timeouts will be granted for overtime but any timeouts remaining from the second half may be used.


 Mercy Rule 

  • If a team leads by 25 points at the ten minute mark of the second half or any point thereafter the game shall be ended with the leading team declared the winner.
  • The game may continue at the mutual agreement of the coaches providing:
    • Substitutes must be used.
    • Score may not be kept.
  • Officials and/or site supervisors may shorten or end a game in which the mercy rule had been invoked at their discretion if:
    • games are behind schedule.
    • poor sportsmanship is being displayed by players, coaches, or spectators.
  • Playoff games will end immediately when the mercy rule is invoked.  That is, there is no opportunity to continue ‘friendly’ play.



  • Kickoffs
    • For safety concerns and for game efficiency, there will be NO KICKOFFS.
    • The offense will start with the ball on its own 25 yard line.
  • Punts
    • There are NO PUNTS allowed.
    • On 4thdown, the offense must play a 4thdown if the line of scrimmage is past midfield. 
    • If the line of scrimmage is NOT PAST MIDFIELD, the offensive team may either (A) play the down to try and obtain either a first down or a touchdown or (B) declare a ball forfeit to the defense.
    • If a ball forfeit is declared by the offense, the referee will move the ball ten (10) yards towardthe defensive team’s end zone.  In other words, a ball forfeit is essence a 10 yard ‘punt’ by the offense.  The defensive team then takes over on offense.


 Snapping the Ball 

  • A legal snap occurs when the:
    • snapper has his shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage.
    • ball travels between the snapper’s legs.
    • ball is released by the snapper in a continuous backward motion.
    • ball is not lifted for adjustment.
  • One player may be in motion during the snap provided he is moving parallel to the line of scrimmage.
  • No defensive player may cross the line of scrimmage until 5 seconds after a snap.  The referee will hold arm up and count to 5.  Once 5 seconds is called, defense may cross the line of scrimmage.  Exception to the 5 second rule:  If QB makes a direct handoff to another player, then defensive players may cross the line of scrimmage.
  • QB cannot give immediate handoff to the center after the snap.



  • NO BLOCKING ALLOWED.  OFFENSIVE BLOCKING is a 10 YARD penalty from the spot and loss of down.  Offensive players purposefully screening or impeding a defender’s path is considered BLOCKING and shall be penalized in accordance with the rule. “Purposefully” is a judgment call by the officials.



  • All passes must be forward and must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.  Only one forward pass per play.
  • Absolutely NO laterals, pitches or screen passes of any kind are allowed behind or beyond the line of scrimmage. Only direct handoffs (unlimited as long as behind the line of scrimmage) allowed.
  • Shovel passes are allowed but must be received beyond the line of scrimmage.
  • A complete pass occurs when a player has possession of the ball and one foot in bounds.



  • All players are eligible to receive a pass (including the QB if the ball has bee handed off behind the line of scrimmage)
  • Once the ball is advanced beyond the line of scrimmage, the current ball carrier is the only player allowed to have possession of the ball until the play is dead.
  • Once the ball is advanced beyond the line of scrimmage, the remaining offensive players cannot impede the defense from attempting to pull the offensive player’s flag.



  • QB cannot run the ball beyond the line of scrimmage.  Only exception:  QB receives a direct handoff from another offensive player behind the line of scrimmage.
  • The ball carrier must attempt to avoid the defense using her agility.
  • The ball carrier may not guard his flag.
  • The ball carrier may leave the ground to avoid a flag pull but in doing so may not charge into a defensive player.
  • The ball carrier may not dive to advance the ball.
  • If the flag falls off the ball carrier the play will be dead where the flag fell off.
  • If the ball returns to a player whose flag has been pulled the player must be touched on shoulders or below to end the play.
  • If a ball carrier losses possession of the ball unintentionally and it is caught before it hits the ground by either team the ball is live.
  • In order for a ball carrier to enter a zone he must have his foot and/or flag and ball on or over the line he is attempting to cross.


 Assestment of Penalties 

  • Spot Fouls on DEFENSE
    • Pass Interference - Automatic First Down
    • Holding – 5 yards from spot and automatic first down

  • Spot Fouls on OFFENSE
    • Flag Guarding – 5 yards from spot and loss of down
    • Charging – 5 yards from spot and loss of down
    • Blocking, Screening – 5 yards from spot and loss of down

  • Ten yard PENALTIES from original line of scrimmage against defense, repeat down:
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct
    • Roughing

  • Ten yard PENALTIES from original line of scrimmage against offense, loss of down:
    • Unsportsmanlike conduct
    • Roughing

  • Official’s Discretion
    • Flag Altering
      • Minimum Penalty – Ten yards, loss of down
      • Maximum Penalty – Player Ejection and/or forfeiture of game
        Note: The game may be forfeited if the offending team has gained an advantage or has been previously warned.
  • No distance penalty shall exceed half the distance from the enforcement spot to the offending team’s goal line.
  • When a live ball foul is followed by a dead ball foul the penalties are administered separately and in order of occurrence.
  • An inadvertent whistle during a pass, snap or kick will result in automatic replay of the down.
  • An inadvertent whistle when a player has possession will result in either replay of the down or possession at the spot it was blown dead, by choice of the team in possession.