Article 1 – Field Officials  

Field officials will be designated as follows, for various sizes of crews:   

a)       6 Officials  b)   5 Officials  c)   4 Officials  d)   3 Officials
1.        Referee 1.   Referee     1.    Referee    1.    Referee
2.        Umpire        2.        Umpire        2.        Umpire        2.        Umpire       
3.        Back Umpire 3.        Back Umpire
4.        Back Judge 
5.        Head Linesman  5.        Head Linesman  5.        Head Linesman  5.        Head Linesman 
6.        Line Judge 6.        Line Judge 6.        Line Judge

NOTE 1: The number of officials per game may be from 1 to 6 as specified by the governing authority.

Article 2 – Side Line Officials  

(1)           Downsman
(2)           Linesman (2 or 3)
(3)           Time Keeper
(4)           Scorer

Article 3  

The number of officials per game shall be in accordance with the governing football association or league. Responsibilities, positioning, and mechanics are covered in the CFOA/Football Canada Officials’ Training Manual. 


Article 1 – Responsibilities  

All field officials are equally responsible for the orderly conduct of the game, and the enforcement of the rules.  No agreement shall be made that would prevent the calling of any foul by any official against either team. 

Article 2 – Equipment  

Each field official shall be equipped with a whistle and a “red” coloured marker (flag). 

Article 3 – Stoppage of Play  

The sounding of a whistle when the ball is in play shall cause the ball to be ruled dead, and shall stop the game.  The whistle should not be sounded in the event of injury until the ball is dead. 

Article 4 – Signal for Infraction  

The throwing of the marker (flag) shall indicate an infraction, but play shall continue until the sounding of a whistle. 

Article 5 – Signal to Play    

The Referee shall sound his whistle to indicate that the ball is ready for play, and shall signal that “time is in” by a downward sweep of his arm from the overhead position. 

Article 6 – Out-of-Bounds Marking  

The nearest official should mark the out-of-bounds spot when the ball goes out of bounds. 

Article 7 – Penalty Signals  

All officials should be familiar with the approved signals. 

Article 8 – Foul Called  

When a foul is called, the official shall report it to the Referee immediately if the ball is dead, or if 
the ball is alive, as soon as it is dead.  The Referee shall give a preliminary signal to indicate the nature of
the foul. 

Article 9 – Foul Reporting  

When a foul has been reported to the Referee, he will indicate the number of the player who 
committed the foul. Give the penalty signal, assess the penalty, and signal that the ball is again
 ready for play. 

Article 10 – Forward Progress  

When the ball has been whistled dead, the appropriate official shall mark the spot of forward 
progress of the ball, which will be the point of the subsequent play.   


Article 1 – Responsibility  

The referee shall take primary charge of the game, and shall guide and direct the work of the other  

He shall apply the rules, and assess the penalties, and rule upon disputes or situations not covered by the rules.  His decision on any situation in the game is final. 

He may overrule any other official. 

He may have removed any of the sideline officials, if he considers it necessary,  and immediately require the replacement of any official so removed. 

He shall test the game balls 30 minutes before the game, and his decision shall be final as to the 
of the balls. 

Article 2 – Field Markings  

The Referee shall report any irregularities in field markings, or ground rules, to the captains before the game, and review these with the other officials before the game. 

Article 3 – Options  

The Referee shall explain to the captains of either team any ruling made or penalty assessed. 

When a foul is called, he shall explain to the non-offending captain the application of the penalty, or any option to which the captain is entitled if he refuses the penalty. 

Article 4 – Count of Downs  

The Referee shall keep count of the downs, subject to a check with the Head Linesman. 

Article 5 – Communication  

The Referee shall be the sole means of communication between the officials and the team 
captains or

Article 6 – 3-Minute Warnings  

The Referee shall be notified by the Head Linesman or Line Judge, when 3 minutes of play remains in each half.  He shall notify the captains, and the nearest official shall notify the coaches of each team. 

Article 7 – End of Period  

The Referee shall indicate that playing time has ended in each period, by sounding his whistle and  
signaling to the Timer. 

Article 8 – End of Half Time Interval  

The Referee shall have the captains of each team warned when 3 minutes remains in the half time interval. 

Article 9 – Positioning  

The Referee shall take primary charge of Team A, and shall position himself behind Team A.  He shall determine if the ball is put into play legally, cover the action of the passer and the kicker and their opponents.   

The Referee shall be responsible for making the out-of-bounds spot when a ball goes out of bounds in flight.

The Referee shall rule on lateral passes behind the line of scrimmage, and the position of onside players in an "onside kick" situation.


Article 1 – Responsibility  

The Umpire shall have primary jurisdiction over the actions of players of both teams on the line of  scrimmage, and shall position himself behind the linemen of Team B. 

Article 2 - Duties  

The Umpire shall: 

(a)    Supervise the linebackers and their use of hands on eligible pass receivers of Team A. 

(b)    Cover short forward passes and short kicks over the centre of the line. 

(c)     Check that Team A ineligible receivers on the line of scrimmage do not proceed downfield before a forward pass is

(d)     Assist in coverage of crack-back blocking in the restricted area.


Article 1 – Responsibility

The Back Umpire shall have primary jurisdiction over the actions of players of both teams behind the Team B line, and shall position himself behind the deepest Team B player. 

Article 2 – Duties  

The Back Umpire shall: 

(a)  Cover long passes in the centre of the field and kicks downfield. 

(b)  Rule field goal attempts from outside the 10 yard line successful or not. 


The duties of the Back Judge shall be identical with those of the Back Umpire. 


Article 1 – Responsibility  

The Head Linesman shall be responsible for the general supervision of the line of scrimmage, the neutral zone, and the actions of the end and flankers on his side of the field.  He shall take up a position on the line of scrimmage at a suitable distance in from the sideline on the same side of the field as the distance chain and downsbox. 

The Head Linesman shall be primarily responsible to cover crack-back blocking by players positioned on his side of the field when the ball is snapped. 

Article 2 – Passes and Kicks 

The Head Linesman shall, when appropriate: 

(a)    Cover passes down his side of the field. 

(b)   Cover kicks down his side of the field. 

Article 3 – Substitutes; 3 – and 1 – Minute Warning  

The Head Linesman shall: 

(a)   Systematically check his sideline for substitutes, and ensure legality of substitution procedures. 

(b)  Notify the Referee when 3 minutes remain in each half, after being so notified by the timekeeper. 

(c)  Notify the Referee when 1 minute remains in each period, after being so notified by the timekeeper. 

Article 4 – Control of Minor Officials  

The Head Linesman shall: 

(a)        Supervise the linesmen and the downsman in the placement of the distance chain and downsbox, under the direction of the Referee. 

(b)          Keep an accurate count of the downs to assist the Referee. 

(c)          Be responsible for changing the position of the distance chain at the end of the 1st and 3rd periods to the identical spot at the opposite end of the field, corresponding to the point at which play ended in that period. 

(d)       When a measure is required by the Referee, mark on the chain the spot corresponding to the far side of the cross stripe which is farthest from the ball within the span of the distance chain, and have the linesmen bring the distance chain to the Referee. 

(e)          Check distance applied on penalties. 


Article 1 – Responsibility  

The duties of the Line Judge shall be identical to those of the Head Linesman covered in Section 7, Articles 1 to 3 inclusive, only. 


Article 1 – Control  

They shall act under the direction of the Head Linesman.  The downsbox and distance chain shall be positioned out of bounds. 

Article 2 – Downsbox Position

The downsman shall place the downsbox at the point where the ball is to be scrimmaged, and indicate the number of each down on the downsbox. 

Article 3 – Distance Chain Position  

The two linesmen shall place the distance chain as directed by the Head Linesman. 

Article 4 – 3rd Linesman  

If a third linesman is used, he shall hold a single marker rod on the sideline opposite the 10 yard objective line, but his marker will not be used to determine whether a first down has been gained.  Under the direction of the Referee, he may record the penalties. 


Article 1 – Scoresheet  

Prior to the game, the scorer shall be provided with a complete list of the eligible competing players, including names and correct numbers.  He shall keep the score as given by one of the field officials, and present the scoresheet to the Referee after the game for signature. 

Article 2 – Timekeeper’s Responsibility  

The timekeeper, or timekeepers, shall keep time according to Rule 1 Section 5, following the recognized signals by the officials.  If 2 timekeepers are appointed, they shall use one timing device placed between them and operated solely by one of them.  In the event of disagreement, the Referee shall be called immediately to settle any dispute or make any necessary adjustment. 

Article 3 – 3  Minute Warning  

The timekeeper shall notify the Head Linesman or the Line Judge when 3 minutes remain in the 2nd and 4th periods. And when 1 minute remains in each period, or in each half in overtime. 

Article 4 – Last Minute Procedure  

Just prior to and during the last minute of play in each period, the timekeeper shall take a position on the sideline so that he is clearly visible to the officials.  At the commencement of the last minute of play, he will raise the flag, and continue to keep it raised until the timekeeper’s watch registers full time for the period.  The flag should then immediately be lowered, so that it is no longer visible to the officials. 

If the ball becomes dead on any play, and the flag is still raised, the ball will again be put into play. If the flag has been lowered since the last time the ball was put into play. The period will be over, and so declared by the Referee, subject to fouls committed during the last play.