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Flag football

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Title: Flag football  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: American football, Football, Touch football (American), Tag rugby, Gridiron football
Collection: Flag Football, Sports Originating in the United States, Variations of American Football
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Flag football

Flag Football
A co-ed game of flag football being played at University of Texas.
Contact No
Team members 2 teams of 4-11
Mixed gender Yes
Type Outdoor, indoor, team sport, ball game, non-contact
Equipment Ball, flag
Venue football field
Country or region Worldwide
Olympic No
Paralympic No

Flag football is a version of American football or Canadian football where the basic rules of the game are similar to those of the mainstream game (often called "tackle football" for contrast), but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier ("deflagging") to end a down.


  • Variations 1
  • Competition 2
    • International 2.1
    • North America 2.2
    • Europe 2.3
    • Asia 2.4
  • Basic rules 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Chiefly because there is no dominant sanctioning organization for the sport, the game has mutated into many variations: 9-man, 8-man, 7-man, 6-man, 5-man, and 4-man on a side; coed or single-gender; with kicking and punting and without; with point-after conversions (including some with 1, 2, and 3 point tries) or without; and field sizes that vary from full CFL size, NFL size (120 yards long by 5313 yards wide), to fields a third that size.

An important distinction is whether linemen are allowed to catch passes ("Eligible Linemen") or, as in the NFL / CFL, are not allowed to do so ("Ineligible Linemen"). Flag (and touch) football may also be divided into "contact" or "non-contact", depending on whether or not blocking is allowed; if allowed, blocking is usually restricted to the chest.

The ability or inability for the quarterback to advance the ball past the line of scrimmage(LOS) by running is another rule subject to variation by league.


Player at the point of taking other player's flag at a game at Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City.

The sport has a strong amateur following and several national and international competitions each year sponsored by various associations.


The Key West, Florida, called the Kelly McGillis Classic where over 90 women and girls teams participate in 8 on 8, semi - blocking contact flag football. There are no restrictions to for girls and women to play.

The International Flag Football Festival (IFFF) organizes the World Cup of Flag Football featuring teams from the United States, Mexico and several other nations.

The IFAF Flag Football World Championship every two years since 2002.

North America

Children playing the sport in Mexico

The United States Flag and Touch Football League (USFTL) has a number of smaller organizations spread out over the US. Located in Ohio, this league supports a number of teams from the Mid Atlantic, NorthEast, and Midwest states. On the west coast XFLAGFOOTBALL has over 15 leagues throughout Southern California and Hawaii. In the south, FlagFootballX hosts many of the largest 5on5 cash tournaments, located in Dallas, TX. Texan Flag Football hosts many large tournaments and leagues in the Houston area as well. TAAF hosts a yearly 8on8 State Championship at a rotating location throughout Texas and a couple other events throughout the year. FlagSpin lists all of Texas and the bordering states tournaments in one location to browse but does not host their own events.

In the Midwest, Timeout Flag Football league has an outdoor 4 v 4 session every Spring, Summer, and Fall and attracts 20 or more teams each session to participate in Recreational and Competitive divisions.

i9 Sports,[1] a youth sports league franchise business in the U.S., is one of the country's largest providers of flag football leagues for boys and girls ages 3–14. Flag football participation has increased in the past decade while participation in tackle football among kids under age 14 has declined[2] amid growing safety concerns from parents. The NFL conducts their own Youth World Championship for children 12–14 years of age. Held in different nations around the world. It is five man no contact football played between ten countries. Previous NFL Flag Football World Championships have been held in Beijing, Cologne, Mexico City, Tokyo, Toronto, and Vancouver. The NFL has also at times sanctioned "Air It Out" competitions aimed primarily at its fans in which tournament-winning teams were allowed to compete against retired NFL All-Pros. "Air It Out" has now been rebranded as "Let It Fly" a nationwide tour operated by North American Sports Group. Many universities around the continent have flag football divisions and leagues.


Flag football competition in the

  1. ^ "6 Game Changing Sports Businesses That Will Inspire You". Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  2. ^ "Pop Warner youth football participation drops; NFL concussion crisis seen as causal factor". Retrieved 2015-09-10. 
  3. ^ "BAFACL Flag South".  
  4. ^ "BAFACL Flag North".  
  5. ^ "BAFA Rules Committee - Flag football".  


See also

The specific rules of flag football vary widely by league, though all share in common their replication of the rules of traditional American football with tackling replaced by flag-pulling. Traditional American football rules are often omitted or simplified to reflect the more recreational nature of the game, desire to avoid physical contact and injury, and the generally smaller number of participating players per side.

Basic rules

In Indonesia, there is the Indonesian Flag Football Association, or IFFA. IFFA was established on February 14, 2009 as a continuation of its predecessor, the Indonesian Flag Football League, that had been defunct since 2001.

In Korea, the biggest tournament is the National Flag Football Tournament held by the Korean Flag Football Federation (KFFF). It attracts up to 20 teams, from middle school students to adults.


In Israel, Flag Football is organized and governed by American Football in Israel (AFI). Over fifty teams play in leagues for adult men and women, as well as youth. The men's league plays 6 vs 6, with contact. Men's teams compete for the Holyland Bowl Championship. Women and youth leagues play 5 vs 5, non-contact, and both the Men's and Women's Israel National Teams compete in international 5 vs. 5 tournaments.

In Germany, both 5 vs 5 and 9 vs 9 are played. While the former is played with no contact in a wide range of leagues and ages, the latter is played as per the above-mentioned "contact" rules, with blocking to the chest being allowed. Most teams playing 9 vs 9 Flag Football are organized into two conferences within the DFFL (Deutsche Flag Football Liga) and compete for the DFFL Bowl.

[5] Flag matches in the UK are played with five players on each side with no contact, and are officiated according to the IFAF flag football rules with a few minor variations.[4][3]

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