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Football Rules

Official Touch Football Rules

Last Updated September 23, 2018

*Rules may be updated at any time



Everyone on the roster must be at least 18 years old by the start of the league. Each team must have at least 7 paid players on the team with at least 2 females. Each week, a team must have at least 5 players with at least 1 girl to be eligible to play. Once a player plays for a team, they are on that team and may not switch teams (including subs). Everyone on the team must sign the waiver before playing. Teams may not play with more subs than regular players in playoff games.

Late Arrivals

There will be a 5 minute grace period from the scheduled start of the game for a team to have enough players. After that, a team must either play or forfeit. Anyone arriving after the game has started must be there by the start of the second half to be eligible to play.

Substitute Players

Teams may use substitute players in any given week. A sub must sign the team's waiver sheet before playing. Subs need only to sign the waiver sheet one time. Once a sub plays on a team, they are considered part of that team and may not play for another team. Subs must play at least 1 game during the regular season to be eligible to play in the playoffs.

Game Setup
    Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues will supply all cones and boundary lines. LVSL will also supply one game ball for each field. Teams are welcome to bring their own footballs to use when they are on offense.

    The field is 60 yards long by 30 yards wide with endzones that are 10 yards deep each. Midfield and endzone lines will be marked along with the 2-point conversion line. The 2-point conversion line is also where offenses will begin play at the beginning of a half or after the other team scores.

    Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues will supply at least one (1) referee for each game. The head referee will have final say on all calls. The head official will announce the start of the play clock. Also, he will announce the down-to-go and also if it is a forced gender play. The referee will blow the whistle to end a play once the player is down.  A player is down after the following -

-    An offensive player steps out of bounds before being touched
-    An incomplete pass
-    A fumble
-    A penalty
-    A defensive player 'tackles' by touching the offensive players with both hands (Touch)

  • A defensive player pulls either flag off of the ball carrier (Flag)

Game Play
    Each game will be 40 minutes long - divided into two (2) 20-minute halves. There will be a 3 minute halftime. Each team will have two (2) 1-minute timeouts per game. It will be a running clock and will only stop for a timeout or injury; however, the clock will stop during the final two (2) minutes of each half for the following - 

-    Incomplete Pass
-    Either Team Scores (clock starts after the PAT attempt)
-    Change of Possession
-    Penalty
-    Timeout/Injury
-    The offensive player with the ball steps out of bounds before being touched down by the defender

**The clock will not stop during the last two minutes of the game if a team is down by 16 points or more.

Play Clock
    There will be a 30-second play clock that will begin counting down when the head referee determines the ball is ready for play.

Start of Game
    Teams will play Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine which team will receive the ball first. The winning team will be able to choose offense, defense, direction, or to defer to the second half. The team on offense will begin on the 2-point conversion line. There will be a marker used to mark the line of scrimmage. The game clock will begin on the first play of the game.
    When an offensive player commits a fumble either forced or unforced by the defense, the ball is dead where the ball hits the ground. The offense retains possession and the down counts. If a fumble occurs on 4th down, the defense will take possession of the ball where it hit. If the ball is stripped and caught by the defender before hitting the ground, the defender may try to return the ball.

End of Game/Overtime
    The team that scores the most will be declared the winner. Regular season games may end in a tie. In the postseason, games will follow College Overtime Rules.  Teams will begin their possession at midfield.

First Downs
    The offensive team is able to attain a first down by completing two (2) consecutive passes on either side of midfield and also by crossing Midfield. A team may only attain a first down once on either side of Midfield.

Line of Scrimmage
    All offensive players must be lined up on the line of scrimmage except the quarterback and a maximum of two (2) players in the backfield. One (1) player on the line of scrimmage must snap the ball to the quarterback to begin a play (may be tossed underhand). A player may go in motion before the snap, but must be moving lateral or away from the line of scrimmage before the snap.

Legal Plays
    All offensive players are eligible receivers, including the person who snaps the ball. The offensive team may run or pass the ball to advance it. The quarterback may run on his own until after the offense crosses Midfield. Once the offense crosses Midfield, the quarterback must wait until rushed to run. A pass will only count as a completion as long as the receiver is beyond the line of scrimmage (counts as a lateral if behind).

    Any offensive player attempting to catch a thrown ball only needs to have one (1) foot in bounds with possession of the ball for it to count as a catch.

    The ball carrier may not intentionally dive forward to advance the ball. This will result in a penalty assessed from the spot of the foul. If a player dives to get into the endzone, the penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage.

    The offense may not block or intentionally contact the defense that directly interferes with their pursuit of the ball carrier, unless to avoid personal injury. The offense may not run any pick routes that intentionally run defenders into each other or prevents the defense from reaching a desired position.

    A lateral is an underhand or overhand pitch of the ball to a teammate next to you or behind you. A lateral cannot be advanced if the ball hits the ground. It is then ruled a fumble and marked at the spot it hit the ground. A lateral is live as soon as it is received, and the defense may cross the line of scrimmage.

    A team may opt to punt the ball on 4th down. They do not need to kick the ball. They may throw ball instead. When opting to punt, the offensive team must wait until the ball is thrown or kicked before running down the field. There are no fake punts. The offense must declare their intent to punt the ball. The defensive team may not attempt to block the punt. There is no downfield blocking on a punt. The defensive team may call fair catch. If the ball is not caught, the ball is dead where it hits the ground. If the ball is mishandled and dropped, the ball is dead where it hits the ground and the defensive team will take possession.

    Any punt or other play that results in a touchback, the ball will come out and be placed at the 2-point conversion line with the defensive/receiving team taking possession.

    The defense may opt to play man-to-man or a zone defense. On forced gender plays, the defense must play man-to-man unless there is a female quarterback. The defense may not rush the quarterback until after the side referee has counted to 5.

    The defense may intercept and attempt to return the ball. Once intercepted, no defensive player may block an offensive player. Interceptions on a PAT attempt may be returned to the other endzone for PAT points.

    A touchdown is scored when a player crosses the goal line with the ball. A catch is good for a touchdown when a player lands with their feet in the endzone even if the ball does not cross the goal line. Touchdowns are worth six (6) points.

    The team scoring a touchdown may attempt a PAT. PAT's are worth two (2) points.

    A safety is called when an offensive player downs the ball or is touched down inside their own endzone. An offensive player who fumbles the ball in their own endzone will also result in a safety. Safeties are worth two (2) points. The offensive team must then punt the ball to defensive team from the 2-point conversion line. Punt rules apply.

Gender Plays
    A female player must be an operative player at least once every three (3) downs. The offense may use a female player whenever they wish and the gender count will reset.   The female player must either be the primary runner, receiver, or quarterback on a gender play.

Acceptable Gender Plays
-    A female player lines up as quarterback and either attempts a pass, runs the ball over the line of scrimmage, or is sacked.
-    A female player receives a lateral or hand-off and either runs or attempts a pass.
-    A pass caught behind the line of scrimmage by a female player but does not cross for a positive gain counts as a gender player but not a successful completion (lateral).
-    Plays using a female player and resulting in a loss of down will count as a gender play (Penalty on female).
-    A female quarterback downs the ball to stop the clock inside 2 minutes of a half.

Unacceptable Gender Plays
-    A male quarterback is sacked or fumbles the ball, the next play must be a gender play.
-    A male quarterback intentionally throws at a female player's feet.
-    A male player either catches and tosses to a female player (hook and ladder) or deflects a pass that a female then catches.
-    A female quarterback laterals to a male player who then either runs or attempts a pass to another male player.

Defense on Forced Gender Plays
    All male players on defense must play up within 1yd of the line of scrimmage with only female defenders covering female offensive players when a male is the quarterback. If a female on the offense is the quarterback, then the defense may play zone coverage. A male player may intercept a pass on a forced gender play if they are able to play zone (the QB is a female). In man-to-man coverage, a male defender may not deflect or intercept a pass until a female has touched the ball. If a defense is playing down a female player, they may rotate male players on forced gender plays in man coverage. If the offense has more than 3 females on the field, the defense may use any male player to cover the extra female(s).

5-yard penalties
The following will constitute a 5-yard penalty from the line of scrimmage and the down will be replayed (unless otherwise noted) -

-    False Start - The offense crosses the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped.
-    Illegal Motion - An offensive player moving towards the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped
-    Illegal Shift - More than one (1) offensive player in motion at the time of the snap
-    Delay of Game
-    Illegal Cadence - The player calling the cadence must receive the snap.
-    Offsides - A defensive player is across the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
-    Encroachment - A defensive player crosses the line of scrimmage and contacts an offensive player before the ball is snapped.
-    Illegal Participation - A team may not have more than 7 players (5 males) on the field at one time
-    Illegal Forward Pass - There may only be one (1) forward pass per play from behind the line of scrimmage
-    Illegal Formation - All offensive players must be on the line of scrimmage at least 3-yards away from the sideline. Only the quarterback and up to 2 other players may be in the backfield.
-    Illegal Dive - The ball carrier may not dive to advance the ball (Spot foul, down counts)
-    Intentional Grounding - Results in a loss of down. 
-    Defensive Face Guarding - A defender may not use his/her hands or arms to screen the offensive player from catching the ball with their back to the ball. If penalty occurs on a gender play, the gender count is reset.

The following gender play infractions will result in a 5-yard penalty- 
-    Not using a female player on a forced gender play (results in a loss of down and gender play reset). If this occurs on 4th down, the defense will take possession.
-    Not rotating a defensive male player on a forced gender play when the defense is short a female player (offense may replay gender play or have count reset)
-    Playing zone defense when a male is quarterback
-    A male defender intercepts a ball in a man-to-man defense without having a female touch the ball first (gender play is good).

10-yard Penalties
    The following will constitute a 10-yard penalty and either be assessed from the spot of the foul or from the line of scrimmage and the down replayed (unless otherwise noted) - 
-    Offensive Picking - The offense may not intentionally impede a defender from reaching a desired position while in motion. Penalty will be enforced from the line of scrimmage.
-    Stiff Arm - Penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul and the down counts.
-    Blocking - Penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul and the down counts.
-    Illegal Contact/Holding on Defense - A defensive player may not use their hands or arms to intentionally contact a receiver, maintain contact with a receiver, or to otherwise restrict the movement of a receiver. Penalty is assessed from the line of scrimmage and result in a 1st down.
-    Reckless Play - Players must avoid contact at all cost, including leaping into the crowds on the sidelines to catch a ball or tag a player. Penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage. If deemed unsportsmanlike, the player may be ejected from the game.
-    Pass Interference - A player may not purposely hinder another players attempt to catch a ball. It is a spot foul with the ball being placed at the spot of the foul and an automatic 1st down granted. If the foul occurs in the endzone the ball will be brought out to the 1-yard line. If it is a gender play, the gender count will be reset.

  • Flag Guarding - A player may not guard against another player reaching for their flag(s) to down a player. If committed, the play will be stopped immediately, and the penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul.

15-yard penalties
The following will result in a 15-yard penalty and may result on the guilty player being ejected from the game - 
-    Intentional Foul - Penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage, the player will be ejected from the game, and the gender count will be reset.
-    Unsportsmanlike Conduct - Penalty will be assessed from the line of scrimmage and the offense granted 1st down. If the penalty is on the offense, it will be a loss of down. The player may be ejected from the game.

Sportsmanship -
    *Sportsmanship to be determined at the discretion of the league official or Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues Representative on site.
1.    All players on all teams MUST adhere to good sportsmanship.
2.    There will be escalating penalties for any player/team not using good sportsmanship.
a.    First offense - asked to sit out for a few plays
b.    Second (2) time being removed from a game, player will be finished for the game.
c.    Any player ejected from the game/match, will be ineligible to play the following week. (In days where more than (1) game is played by a team, player will have to sit for game immediately following ejection).
d.    Any player ejected twice (2) in a single season will be removed from the league and no longer eligible to play for the rest of the season.
e.    Any player ejected in multiple leagues may be ruled no longer welcome in Lehigh Valley Sport and Social.
3.    Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues will keep a running log of any incident that occurs.

Alcohol/Miscellaneous - 
   Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues supports and follows all rules at venues where games are played. There are NO GLASS CONTAINERS allowed at any venue which allows for the consumption of alcohol. Teams are expected to cleanup after themselves each week and throw out any garbage.

Venues Locations - 
    Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues will make every attempt to maintain dates,times, and locations of all games in a given league. There may be events outside of Lehigh Valley Sports Leagues' control that will affect the league scheduling and result in a change in date, time, location, and number of games played in a given week.

Forfeits -


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