Board of Governors also approve minor adjustments to low blocks and Command Centre interventions

CFL Official Ben Major (Kevin Sousa/
CFL Official Ben Major (Kevin Sousa/

TORONTO (May 17, 2024) – The upcoming season will introduce no changes to kickoffs in the Canadian Football League. The Rules Committee – comprising CFL head coaches and representation from the Canadian Professional Football Officials Association, the CFL Players’ Association and the League Office -- has struck a subcommittee to further evaluate potential kickoff rules aimed at limiting the speed and distance of collisions.

“The uniqueness and traditions of Canadian football, and the health and safety of our players are incredibly important,” said CFL Vice-President of Officiating, Darren Hackwood. “Kickoffs impact the state of our game, player safety, job opportunities and much more. Given the potential magnitude of any changes, this issue cannot be hastily evaluated prior to the season.

“This subcommittee will take the necessary time to properly study and gather information on kickoffs before recommending any changes to both the CFL Rules Committee and the Joint CFL/CFLPA Health and Safety Committee.”

The subcommittee will be tasked with enhancing the capture of specific injury data related to kicking plays, building on ideas to enhance kickoffs, monitoring changes made in other leagues, and more. In addition, it will look into finding further consistency in other areas of potentially unsafe contact. The subcommittee will report findings to the joint CFL/CFLPA Health and Safety Committee on a monthly basis.

The 2024 season will also introduce minor adjustments to clarify existing rules.

“We’re always looking to improve the state of our game, but we’ve seen positive results from the extensive product review in 2022 and the fine-tuning we’ve done since,” added Hackwood. “This season, we’re continuing to build upon those changes through this set of minor adjustments.”


Low blocks

  • Adjusted to further define the actions of a backfield player delivering a low block.
  • A backfield player – regardless of position at the snap – may cross the offensive formation and block a defensive player who is lined up across from, or outside of, the offensive tackle at the snap low, if the block occurs in the legal low block zone.
  • Removing the requirement for the backfield player to be within the legal low block zone at the snap makes the call easier to officiate, while heightening player safety by limiting who can be legally blocked low.

Command Centre

  • No yards added to the list of penalties that can be automatically picked up by the Command Centre if called incorrectly by on-field officials.
    • Replay officials can only get involved when a clear mistake has been made.
    • The call remains challengeable by a coach.
  • Tripping on the quarterback behind the line of scrimmage added to the list of penalties that the Command Centre can assist on. The play is now challengeable by a coach.
  • Coaches may strategically use a timeout to provide the Command Centre with more time to automatically review a play that is not challengeable.
    • Coaches still only have access to two timeouts per game.
    • Only one timeout can be used after the three-minute warning in the fourth quarter. ​ ​

Lucas Barrett

Associate Vice-President, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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