Flag football

Flag football
An Intramural recreational league game of co-ed flag football at the University of Texas at Austin
First played United States
Team members 2 teams of 4–11

Flag football is a version of Canadian football or American football that is popular worldwide. 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. In most organized play, players wear a belt. These belts vary from "Triple Threat" which the entire flag belt is removed, to "Sonic Pop" which only the flag is pulled.



Chiefly because there is no dominant sanctioning organization for the sport, the game has mutated into many variations: 9-man, 8-man, 7-man, 5-man, and 4-man on a side; 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 53 1/3 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 CFL / NFL, 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.

In Non-Contact flag football, there is no blocking, usually no linemen, and if there are linemen they can not use their hands to block an opponent. Defensive players cannot get in the way of a runner; they can only attempt to grab the flag without impeding the path of the runner. Offensive players are not allowed to hand block defensive players to prevent them from grabbing the flag.

In Contact flag football, none of the rules above apply. There are linemen blocking only around chest area, no chop blocks or blocks below the waist. Defensive players can get in the path of an offensive player to attempt to grab the flag.


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


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 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) organizes the IFAF Flag Football World Championship every two years since 2002.

The International Woman's Flag Football Association hosts contact flag football tournaments across the world with participants from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and several other nations. The organization also known as the IWFFA is the largest organization for women and girls in the sport of flag football. The most active tournament is held each February in Key West, Florida, called the Kelly McGillis Classic where over 90 women and girls teams participate in 20on98 contact flag football.

North America

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.

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. Many universities around the continent have flag football divisions and leagues.


Flag football competition in the United Kingdom is organized by the BAFA Community Leagues. At a senior level as of 2011, it is played by fifteen teams divided into two regional conferences, North (Scotland), and South (England & Wales) with the top teams qualifying for playoffs at the end of the season. The league also organizes teams competing at youth and cadet levels.[1][2] 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.[3]


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.

See also


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Flag Football — ist eine Ballsportart, die aus dem American Football entstanden ist und damit eine Gridiron Football Variante darstellt. Wesentlicher Unterschied zum American Football ist, dass statt durch ein körperliches Tackling die Verteidigung den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Flag Football — Le flag football ou flag est un sport dérivé du football américain où les plaquages sont remplacés par l arrachage de bandes de tissus (dit: flag) accrochées à la ceinture des joueurs. Il existe plusieurs versions au jeu : 9 contre 9, 7… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Flag football — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Flag football es la denominación de una modalidad de fútbol americano que se juega sin protecciones y sin placajes. En vez de placar, el jugador ha de arrancar un pequeño banderín o bandera a modo de cinturón que… …   Wikipedia Español

  • flag football — flag .football n [U] AmE a game like American football in which players tear off small pieces of cloth called flags from around other players waists instead of knocking them down →↑touch football …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • flag football — flag ,football noun uncount AMERICAN a gentle type of football in which players wear pieces of cloth that they pull off each other instead of TACKLING …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Flag football — Le flag football ou flag est un sport dérivé du football canadien et du football américain où les plaquages sont remplacés par l arrachage de bandes de tissus (dit: flag) accrochées à la ceinture des joueurs. Il existe plusieurs versions au… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • flag football — noun : a variation of football in which a player must remove a flag attached to a ballcarrier s clothing to stop the play * * * noun [noncount] : a form of American football in which the player with the ball is not tackled but instead must stop… …   Useful english dictionary

  • flag football — noun Date: 1954 a variation of football in which a player must remove a flag attached to the ballcarrier s clothing to stop the play …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • flag football — a form of touch football in which the ball carrier s progress is stopped when an opponent pulls a flag from the ball carrier s pocket or belt. [1950 55] * * * …   Universalium

  • flag football — noun A version of American football where the players must remove a flag, worn around the waist, from the ball carrier instead of tackling …   Wiktionary

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