There are many variations of flag football rules. The number of players can vary from 4-on-4 to 8-on-8 or even more. The level of contact allowed will also vary from no contact or blocking to full blocking with low contact. Typically in youth flag football leagues there are more rules concerning safe-conduct of the players, while adult flag football leagues may allow a little more leeway in this area.
Infractions of the rules will result in the responsible team incurring a penalty, usually in the form of lost yardage or loss of down. Below are some common penalties:
Offside – A defensive player is beyond the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.
False start – An offensive player moves beyond the line of scrimmage prior to the ball being snapped.
Holding – Impeding the movement of another player by grasping or pulling at body part or piece of clothing.
Flag guarding – When an offensive player impedes a defensive player’s attempt to remove a flag from the ball carrier’s flag belt. This includes pushing, swatting, or blocking the area around the flag using any body part; e.g. hands, shoulders, elbows etc…
Delay of game – The offense has a limited amount of time between plays to huddle, line up and start the next play. Taking too long will result in a delay of game penalty.
Pass interference – Occurs when a defensive player makes contact with any offensive player who is attempting the catch a pass.