American Indoor Football Rules and Regulations
A. The Field
1. An indoor artificial surface, 85 feet wide and 50 yards long with end zones eight to ten yards in length; if possible. End zones should not be rounded off; if possible. If these requirements cannot be met, the home team must apply to the league for a waiver from these requirements.
2. The field is lined every 5 yards, extending from wall to wall and running parallel to the goal line. If end lines are present in the end zone, as well as dasher boards, the end lines are to be ignored and shall have no effect. Likewise, any side lines along the dasher boards are to be ignored and shall have no effect.
3. The field is lined with hash marks 12 inches in length and 5 feet from the center of the field. The hash marks are placed on both sides of the field every yard, running perpendicular to each yard line, the first set being parallel to the uprights of the goal posts.
4. If the regulation field requirements are not achievable due to arena limitations, the field can be marked as closely as possible, pending league approval.
5. All fields must have the AIFA logo at opposite ends situated at the 10 yard line area.
6. Teams can paint logos on the field with advance approval by the league.
B. The Sideline
1. The dasher boards will mark the out of bounds on all sides of the field. Sideline barriers are 48 inches high and made of high-density foam rubber.
2. A four to six inch white out of bounds line should be painted around the entire end zone. Exception: If end zone dasher boards are present no end zone line is required.
3. No logos or advertising shall be placed directly above either goal line on the dasher boards. A 4” line shall be visible on the dasher boards, extending up from the field of play.
4. The top of the dasher boards are OUT of bounds. The field of play is determined by making it “within the walls”. The top of the dasher boards should be considered as sideline markers and should be out of bounds when considering loose ball plays, unless as noted under Rule L5. NOTE: Any loose ball which hits off the dasher boards is in play and a live ball.
C. The Goal Posts
1. Goal posts are placed and centered above each end wall. The posts are 10 feet off the ground and 10 feet wide. The uprights should extend 20 feet from the crossbar. All goal posts shall be painted in fluorescent “Autumn Yellow.”
2. Kicking blockades must be behind the goalposts and within a minimum of five feet of the goal post. They also may extend ten feet out on both sides of the uprights to prevent footballs going into the stands.
3. Teams can place logos/names on the uprights with advance approval by the league.
D. The AIF Football
1. All AIF Games must use the official AIF football. This ball will have the league logo on one panel. ($5000.00 fine per game for team not using Official AIF Football)
2. Home team supplies a minimum of 60 game balls for each contest. * GAME BALLS SHALL BE INFLATED AND IN A BAG OR CONTAINER AND SHALL BE IN THE OFFICIALS’ DRESSING ROOM TWO HOURS PRIOR TO KICKOFF. THE OFFICIALS SHALL CHECK THE BALLS FOR LEGALITY AND SHALL HAVE THEM AVAILABLE FOR THE HOME TEAM 40 MINUTES PRIOR TO KICKOFF. ANY GAME BALLS THAT DO NOT MEET SPECIFICATIONS PRIOR TO THE CONTEST SHALL BE REPLACED BY THE HOME TEAM.
3. Visiting team will provide their own “warm-up” balls. The home team is not required to provide the visiting team with warm up balls.
4. Teams must have two pumps available ninety minutes prior to kickoff for officials, and the pumps shall be located near the sidelines during the game.
5. Balls will not be tossed into the stands by a player, nor handed to a fan, in any manner at any time. At the end of a scoring play, the scoring player must place the ball on the ground in the end zone, or give the ball to an official. The player may not spike the ball. The ball may not be taken to the bench area. Any violation of this rule is a dead ball ten yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and shall be administered from the succeeding spot. The player will be fined in accord with the fine schedule in the League Operations Manual.
E. The Officials
1. Five Officials shall make up a game day crew. They are Referee, Umpire, Linesman, Line Judge, and Back Judge.
2. Officials must be registered with the AIF Director of Officials.
3. All Officials shall have the AIFA insignia on the front left pocket of their official’s shirt, and a white-bordered American Flag above the pocket.
4. Officials’ uniforms will consist of: NFHS/NCAA style Black and White stripe short sleeve shirt, White Knickers, NCAA Socks, and a Blue Bean Bag. (Flag, down marker, Whistle, and Watch are part of the uniform). Officials shall also wear a number on their back.
5. The officials’ jurisdiction begins when the officials enter the venue and ends when all officials leave the venue.
6. There shall be no entry into officials’ dressing room without permission.
7. Home team shall provide secure dressing room for officials.
8. Home team is responsible for officials’ safety.
9. Home team shall escort officials from the arena to their vehicles after the game.
10. Officials should arrive in the home team’s venue two hours prior to kickoff. At this time the Head Linesman, Line Judge and Back Judge are to
1. All players/coaches/medical staff will be permitted on the team’s bench, INCLUDING INACTIVE / PRACTICE PLAYERS, to a maximum of 25 players. All non-roster players and attendants in the bench area must be in official Team apparel including Team Doctors, Trainers, etc.
2. Coach-to-coach communication devices are permitted.
3. The home team will designate which side of the field will be utilized by the home coach. This decision will be made during the Referee’s and Umpire’s pre-game visit with the coach of the home team. The visiting coach will utilize the opposite side of the field. Once made, this decision may not be changed. Only one coach per team may be on the field at any time, but must remain 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage when the play starts, and against dasher boards, on their designated side. The coach will not enter the field past the top of the numbers at anytime, other than a team timeout. The first offense (either coming inside the top of numbers or having a second coach on the field) is an Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty. The second offense is an Unsportsmanlike Conduct Penalty as well as a loss of sideline privileges for the infracting staff member for the remainder of that contest. There will be no warning. It is acknowledged that different arenas have numbers placed at varying distances from the sideline dasher boards. This rule is specific to each arena. The width of the coaching belt depends solely upon the set up of the arena.
4. Ejected players and/or coaches and/or team personnel must leave the team bench area and return to the locker room for the remainder of the contest.
G. The Game
1. Coin Toss will take place four minutes prior to kickoff at midfield. The winner of the coin toss may elect to kick, receive, defend or defer.
2. Each contest will consist of four 15-minute quarters with a modified running clock. (SEE TIMING)
3. The official time will be under the supervision of the Back Judge. (SEE TIMING)
4. If the game is tied after four quarters, Overtime will take place. (SEE OVERTIME)
5. Media timeouts will be as follows: the first and third periods will have two media time-outs. These will occur with approximately 10 and 5 minutes remaining in the 1st and 3rd periods. In the 2nd and 4th periods, the media time-outs will occur with approximately 10 minutes remaining and at the 1 minute warning mark. Each media time-out may be a maximum of 2 minutes in length. NOTE: The media time-outs may be waived at the sole discretion of the home team.
6. A live ball in player possession is declared dead when as a result of opponent contact, a) Any part of the runner’s body, except his hand or foot touches the ground, or b) Any part of the runner’s body touches the dasher boards. Should a runner slide, slip or fall to the ground without opponent contact and remain there, he has declared himself down and the official shall sound his whistle. The ball shall be marked at the spot where the runner first contacted the ground. Inside the final minute of each half, if a runner touches the dasher board, intentionally or not, he is declared out of bounds and the clock is stopped. Intent is not a requirement of this rule.
7. With under one minute ball beyond the previous spot remaining in the 4th quarter, the offense, if ahead in the score, must advance the ball past the previous spot, or the game clock shall stop at the end of the down and start on the next legal snap. This is referred to as the positive yardage/clock rule.
H.Player Assignments and Equipment
1. Eight players on the field for each team; 20-man active roster; five players may be on an inactive roster. NOTE: It is at the discretion of the individual team if the inactive players will be paid. The Head Coach will provide to the Referee, prior to commencement of the game, an original, signed, game day roster which includes an “Equipment and Roster Certification” which certifies that the players on the game day roster are properly equipped according to these Rules, and that said players have been instructed as to the proper use of such equipment. This document is attached hereto as an addendum to the Rules, and is incorporated herein.
2. During scrimmage downs, the offensive team shall consist of 8 players, delineated as follows:
One center who must snap the ball, with one guard on each side of the center; none of whom is an eligible receiver unless made eligible by action of the play; any violation of this interior line formation is an illegal formation;
Three receivers, a quarterback, and a running back. Each of these players is an eligible receiver. If a player is positioned as a receiver on the line of scrimmage, said player remains eligible even if “covered up” by a wide receiver
Alignment: A minimum of four (4) offensive players must be stationary and on the line of scrimmage prior to the snap. This is the center, two guards, and at least one receiver. Offensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle and he must face his opponent’s goal line with the line of his shoulders approximately parallel thereto and his head breaking the plane of the line drawn through the waistline of the snapper. No receiver, or receivers if more than one, may line up closer than three yards from the outside shoulder of the nearest guard.
3.Only two players, the quarterback and one (1) running back, can be positioned in the
offensive box prior to and at the snap and both must be stationary. There must be
daylight between the running back and the deepest interior lineman. The offensive box is defined as the area between the outside shoulders of the two guards, not to exceed five (5) yards wide; and the box continues from the line of scrimmage to the offensive team’s end line. The entire offense must be set for at least one second before any player goes in motion. The only player who may receive a handoff in the offensive box is the running back who was stationed in the box at the snap.
4. Motion: Only two (2) eligible receivers may be in motion forward, backwards, or laterally, prior to and at the snap.
Restrictions for motion receivers are:
a. cannot begin motion until entire team is set for one second; (illegal shift)
b. cannot be in motion through or stationary within the offensive box at the snap; (illegal motion)
c. cannot perform a “stop-motion” move; (illegal motion); and
7. Three (3) defensive players must be down linemen, in a three or four-point stance at the snap. It is an illegal defense if the down linemen are not in a 3 or 4 point stance at the snap.
8. Defensive linemen may align head up or in a shade technique on offensive linemen. The shade cannot be wider than shoulder to shoulder. Defensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. The three defensive linemen must be aligned on one of the interior offensive linemen. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
9. Defensive linemen cannot drop or go laterally into pass coverage. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
10. Defensive linemen are permitted to stunt, loop, twist, or scrape.
11. Two (2) defensive linebackers must initially be positioned in the defensive box and cannot leave the defensive box until the ball is snapped. The linebacker’s restriction to the defensive box is controlled by each offensive play. “Defensive Box” is the area defined by imaginary lines perpendicular to the outside shoulders of the outside defensive linemen. The depth of the defensive box is 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
12. When the ball is snapped from the 6 yard line and in, the 6 yard depth restriction on the linebackers disappears. All other restrictions on the linebackers remain in force.
13. Only one linebacker may blitz on any given play. If one elects to blitz, the linebacker must pass between two defensive linemen in the “A” gap only. Linebacker alignment begins within the defensive box, and there must be “daylight” between the defensive linemen and both linebackers. No Linebacker may be in a stacked position and both linebackers must be stationary at the snap. One linebacker may cover sideline to sideline while dropping to a maximum of 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. However, he must be in the defensive box at the snap. Any violation of this section is an illegal defense.
14. If the running back leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end; and defensive backs and linebackers are allowed to force the run (blitz).
15. To summarize this rule, note the following: a) both linebackers must be stationary and in the box at the snap; b) they may not line up in a stacked position; c) they may not be moving forward at the snap; d) a maximum of one may blitz; e) a maximum of one may move laterally out of the box after the snap but not exceed a 6 yard depth; and f) daylight must exist between the defensive linemen and the linebackers. The penalty for any illegal defense is 5 yards, previous spot and an automatic first down. There can be no illegal defense if the running back leaves the offensive box, as all linebacker restrictions end when the running back leaves the offensive box.
16. It is legal for a team to not blitz either linebacker.
17. If play action occurs by the offense, or if the ball leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end; and defensive backs and linebackers are allowed to force the run (blitz).
18. Defensive backs have free alignment (excluding the box) and can align on the receiver at any depth (press, loose, off, etc.) If a Defensive back is in the box at the snap, the penalty is for an Illegal Defense.
19. All players are prohibited from grabbing the inside back collar of the shoulder pads or jersey, or the inside collar of the side of the shoulder pads or jersey, and immediately pulling the runner down. This rule applies anywhere on the field. This is an illegal horse collar tackle. Personal foul, 10 yards and automatic first down.
20. No player shall twist, turn or pull the face mask or any helmet opening of an opponent. It is not a foul if the face mask or helmet opening is not twisted, turned or pulled. When in question, it is a foul. Personal foul, 10 yards and automatic first down.
21. Free substitution is allowed, but players must be legally aligned before the snap.
22. Players shall adhere to the following numbering requirements: K/QB/RB/DB/WR: 1-49 or 80-89. OL/DL: 50-79 or 90-99 . Trys and field goal attempts are an exception to the numbering requirement. On trys and field goals, eligibility is determined solely by position.
23. All teams shall be properly equipped – no casts (unless padded with approved foam etc.), hard substances, metal, or steel may be on any part of the uniform/shoes at any point of an AIFA contest. All teams must wear AIFA approved game socks. All players must be dressed the same. Face shields may be tinted in any color. All players will wear required pad(s), and the Head Coach will certify this pre-game as stated in Rule L(1).
24. Proper shoes for the surface are mandatory. Exception: A Kicker may kick barefoot.
25. NOCSAE approved helmet, shoulder pads, stockings, and team issued uniform are mandatory, along with hip pads, thigh pads, kneepads and belts.
26. Numbers must be placed on the front and back of all jerseys (12 inch on front / 14 inch on back)
27. Last names must be on both home and away jerseys for AIF contests.
28. Spatting must be done in the same color as the team shoe with no visible markings, messages, etc. being made to the spat unless it is replacing a shoe sponsor logo.
29. Any official may remove any player that is not properly equipped. The penalty is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty charged against the head coach.
30. All players must be 18 years of age. NOTE: Any player right out of High School that plays professionally would automatically lose his NCAA eligibility.
31. Each Team must declare 30 days before the season their designation as a white or black shoe team. This means that all members of the team
I. The Rules
Rule H(2) states the formation requirement for the three interior linemen. It follows that there may not be an unbalanced line, i.e. a snapper with the two guards on one side of the snapper. An unbalanced line is a live ball, illegal formation foul.
Rule H(2) states that no receiver, or receivers if more than one, may line up closer than three yards from the outside shoulder of the nearest guard. This is interpreted to require that not only does the stationary receiver on the line of scrimmage have to be lined up at least three yards outside of the nearest guard, but also, any motion man in motion towards the line of scrimmage at the snap may only cross the line of scrimmage outside this 3 yard requirement. If the stationary receiver lines up inside three yards, or if this forward motion receiver crosses the line of scrimmage inside three yards, it is a live ball, illegal formation foul. If the motion receiver is moving parallel to the line of scrimmage at the snap, there is no three yard requirement. However, the blocking restrictions remain, on this parallel motion receiver.
Rule H(2) states the offensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. This is interpreted as requiring the offensive lineman to have his shoulders “approximately” parallel to the goal line and his head breaking the plane of the line drawn through the waistline of the snapper. The intent of the rule is to ensure the offensive lineman does not gain an advantage by lining up at an extreme angle. So long as the lineman’s head breaks the plane of the line drawn through the waistline of the snapper and his shoulders are close to parallel with the goal line, he is legal. If the offensive lineman is not aligned as required herein, it is a live ball, illegal formation foul.
Rule H(3) mandates “daylight.” Daylight is determined by the wing officials, by observing the plane which runs parallel to the line of scrimmage and through the rear most portion of the rear most interior lineman’s body part, usually the foot. If any part of this plane is breached by either the running back or his equipment, there is no daylight The quarterback is exempt from the daylight rule when he is in position to take a direct hand to hand snap from the snapper.
Rule H(4) The parameters for the wing officials in calling the motion men for a false start are as follows. The wing officials will permit the motion receiver up to a 2 feet maximum “grace space” before the play is killed. That is, if the motion receiver is two feet or less beyond the line of scrimmage at the snap, the wing official will let the play continue and not call a foul for a false start. Anything in excess of two feet the wing official will kill he play and throw a flag for a false start. In addition, the false start by motion man is what kills the play so if the defense encroached prior.
Rule H(7) requires down linemen to be in a 3 or 4 point stance at the snap. If a defensive lineman is retreating after jumping into the neutral zone in anticipation of the snap, he has not gained an advantage and this is an exception to the requirement that the down lineman must be in a 3 or 4 point stance. This play is not a foul.
Rule H(8) states that defensive linemen cannot be aligned at an angle. This is interpreted as requiring the defensive lineman to have their shoulders “approximately” parallel to the goal line, and to prevent the defensive lineman from lining up at an extreme angle. If the defensive lineman is not aligned as required herein, it is a live ball, illegal defense foul.
Rule H(11) states the depth of the defensive box is 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. If the linebacker goes beyond the six yard depth of the defensive box, the umpire will throw the flag because the umpire does not know where the linebacker is nor what he is doing, and this linebacker can’t be watched. This is why the umpire must align at a 6 yard depth on every play.
Rule H(12) states that when the ball is snapped from the 6 yard line and in, the 6 yard depth restriction on the linebackers disappears. All other restrictions on the linebackers remain in force. This is interpreted that either or both linebackers may retreat more than 6 yards into the end zone. All other box restrictions remain if force, in that only one linebacker may blitz; and only one linebacker can move laterally within the 6 yard restriction. However, if either or both linebackers retreat more than six yards, they have free reign to cover sideline to sideline, so long as they maintain a six yards or greater drop, until such time as normal linebacker restrictions end. In order to retreat to a depth greater than 6 yards, the linebacker must immediately retreat to this distance at an angle 45 degrees or less and pass the 6 yard depth. If the angle of retreat is greater than 45 degrees,(i.e. a “flatter” retreat) it is an illegal defense.
Rule H(13) states that if a linebacker elects to blitz, he must pass between two defensive linemen in the “A” gap only. The A- gap is defined as either side of the center. The linebacker may blitz through either A-gap. Some teams have set plays where it will look like an outside rush however it is legal if the blitz is through the A- gap. Keep in mind that if you decide to call this foul, (as in many foul situations) an advantage must be gained
When the A- gap closes, umpires must be careful with this foul. If the linebacker goes into the A- gap and is picked up by the guard or center and taken wide, where he beats that guard or center, there is no foul. The linebacker’s initial move was into the A-gap and thus, is legal. In order to call this foul, the linebacker must clearly taken a path outside the guard’s shoulder and blitz wide. When this occurs, the umpire must go into the “advantage gained” mode, and decide if the foul should be called.
If a linebacker enters into the offensive box at any time for any reason, this will be interpreted as a blitz. The linebacker does not have to “charging hard” for it to be a blitz. If the linebacker enters the offensive box, this is a blitz. It is this second linebacker’s responsibility to avoid entering the offensive box at any time, if the other linebacker has blitzed.
Rule H(13) states that no linebacker may be in a stacked position and both linebackers must be stationary at the snap. Stacked position is defined as lined up directly behind a down lineman. This is a live ball, illegal defense foul.
Rule H(14) states that if the running back leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end. This means that one or both linebackers may blitz, retreat greater than 6 yards, or move laterally into the flats, and there is no illegal defense.
Rule H(17) states that if play action occurs by the offense or if the ball leaves the offensive box, all linebacker restrictions end. Play action is interpreted as a hand-off, a fake hand-off, or a pump action fake throw by the quarterback. Whenever one of these happens, all linebacker restrictions end. This means that one or both linebackers may blitz, retreat greater than 6 yards, or move laterally into the flats, and there is no illegal defense.
Rule H(19) Regarding a horse collar tackle. This type of tackle is prohibited anywhere on the field.
Rule H(23) requires all teams shall be properly equipped – no casts (unless padded with approved foam etc.), hard substances, metal, or steel may be on any part of the uniform/shoes at any point of an AIFA contest. This rule regarding player equipment will require pre-game certification by the
Rule H(25) requires that any glove be approved by a sanctioning body. The sanctioning body may be the NFL, the NCAA, or the National Federation and must contain an approval tag on the glove.
1. Four 15-minute quarters. Halftime shall be a minimum of 15 minutes and a maximum of 20 minutes. This is at the discretion of the Home Team.
2. A running play clock will be used except during the final minute of each half. The running clock will start:
a. When a free kick is legally touched in the field of play. (Runner/ball must be out of the end zone)
b. On the ready for play after a change of team possession or official’s time-out or a media time-out.
c. On the snap after a charged team time-out and after the one (1) minute warning in the 2nd and 4th periods.
A running clock will stop:
a. Following a down in which the final result is a change in team possession.
b. Following an extra point attempt.
c. Following a field goal attempt.
d. For a media time-out.
e. For a team or official’s time-out.
3. In the final one minute of each half, the clock stops for out-of-bounds plays and incomplete passes. The clock also stops when a team is granted a first down. In the event of an official’s time-out, the clock will start based on the status of the previous play.
4. When inside one minute of either half, if a runner comes in contact with the wall, he shall be whistled out of bounds and the clock will start on the snap. Intent is not a requisite of this rule. If the runner touches out of bounds, intentionally or not, within the last minute of the half or game, the clock will stop and will start on the snap
5. Each team is granted three (3) timeouts per half; each 1 minute in length, except during the last minute of the 2nd and 4th periods, when the time-outs will be 30 seconds. All time-outs will be timed by the back judge.