Tournament Rules

Purpose

The Tournament Rules serve to codify the rules of the game being applied by the umpires during the October 20-22, 2017 USAFL Nationals matches for all games, Men’s and Women’s.

Player Eligibility

A player is eligible to play at the USAFL National Championships if they have satisfied the following:

  • Must be current on USAFL registration fees
  • Must have earned a minimum of 6 Nationals Eligibility Points (NEP) by playing in USAFL sanctioned matches for their designated club during the 2017 season or they must have an approved Nationals Eligibility Exemption that has been granted for the division they are playing in.
  • The minimum 6 NEP are required for the Women's Division this year.
  • Women players can earn a maximum of 4 metro points.
  • Men players can earn a maximum of 2 metro points.
  • Each player must check in for nationals.  If checking in on Saturday, this must be done no later than 30 minutes prior to the first match you are playing in.
  • First Year Australian Players:
    • Must accumulate 6 pts
    • Must show US residency or entry in the US by or before August 1st (passport)
    • Must register and pay USAFL dues by or before August 1st
    • First year Australian Player not meeting the requirement will only be granted Division IV or Reserves Division exemptions.
  • All team rosters must be entered in the USAFL website by October 13. The tournament committee will review rosters and work with teams to resolve any eligibility issues before October 20. Any unresolved player eligibility matters will be addressed and finalized during the coaches meeting at 9pm on the Friday night at the Marriott Del Mar. 

Player Registration

Players may check in Friday night (recommended) at the Marriott Del Mar or during the weekend at the grounds.  Registration runs from 6:30pm to 11pm on Friday and from 8am on Saturday and Sunday. 

All players must be registered before checking in as only players with 6 NEP or an exemption are eligible to play.
Players with eligibility exemptions should be current in their USAFL dues prior to checking in.  While payment will be accepted at check in, it will go much faster if exempted players are already paid.
All players must present a government issued identification upon check-in.
Players whose nationality has not been verified at a previous national tournament, must present a passport or birth certificate (with other ID) to prove their nationality.  All players who claim National status but are unverified, will be considered non-Nationals for purposes of the 50/50 rule. 

Please note that if you created a new account at usafl.com instead of registering under an existing account, you will need to reverify your nationality. Club admins can check on the nationality verification for all players on their club via Club Admin.

Game Day Process for Clubs

Team Sheets

Clubs will no longer need to submit paper team sheets.  Rosters with jersey numbers must be submitted online no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of your match.  When creating a roster after your first match, it will fill in the players from the previous match.  Match sheets (combined team sheet for both clubs) will be printed by the league and delivered to the field prior to the match. The match sheet will list players that are ineligible to play for the following reasons:

  • Player is not checked in for nationals
  • Player is not current in USAFL dues
  • Player has not earned the required Nationals Eligibility Points and has not been granted an Eligibility Exemption for their division.
  • Player has played a game in a higher division.
  • Player has already played a game in that round.  E.g. if this is the team's 2nd match, they cannot play in the 2nd match for any other team.

Rosters can be created and updated at the Club Admin Kiosk located at Tournament Central. Smart phones or tablets with internet access can also be used.

The match sheet displays the player's effective nationality for nationals.  If the player's nationality has not been verified, they will be considered a non-national and count against the 50/50 rule.  Club Admin lists each player's nationality verification status.  Players may verify their nationality by presenting  a passport or birth certificate and government issued ID when they check in.

Roster Limits

The following limits are in effect for the number of players that can be added to a roster:

DIVISION PLAYERS ROSTER LIMIT
Division 1 18 24
Division 2 18 24
Division 3 18 24
Division 4 16 24
Reserves 16 24
Women's Division 1 16 24
Women's Division 2 16 24

 

Division I format: 18 players a-side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.)

Divisions II format: 18 players a-side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.)

Divisions III: 18 players a-side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.) (Captains of each team if in agreement may choose to run a different number, which must be worked out prior to the games start time and umpires must be notified.)

Division IV:  16 players a-side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.) (Captains of each team if in agreement may choose to run a different number, which must be worked out prior to the games start time and umpires must be notified.)

Reserves Division: 16 players a-side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.) (Captains of each team must be in agreement on the number of players and the umpires must be notified.)

Women’s Divisions

Women’s Division I: 16 players a-side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.)  (Captains of each team if in agreement may choose to run a different number, which must be worked out prior to the games start time and umpires must be notified.)

Women’s Division II: 16 players a-side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.)  (Captains of each team if in agreement may choose to run a different number, which must be worked out prior to the games start time and umpires must be notified.)

50/50 Participation Rule

All games are subject to the 50/50 rule (minimum of 50% Nationals, ie American for usafl teams or Canadian for Canadian teams, on field at any given field)

Calling for Player Count During a Match

  • UMPIRES/TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS will be checking players ID’s/nationality (randomly) before games at team tents. Cheating with regards to the 50/50 rule will not be tolerated. Should a team be found to have too many Non-Nationals on the field – that team will lose entire score up until that point in match, free kick awarded to other team, and a 50 m penalty.
  • Opposition coach or captain have right to call for a head count. All players on field at that time must come to center and be counted by umpires (Australian players will have on armbands).
  • If a player count is called and the accused team is found to NOT be in violation of the 50/50 rule, the captain of the team that called for the count will be sent off for the remainder of the game and is replacable.
  • A “Non-National” player for a USAFL team is anyone that is not deemed an American.
  • A “Non-National” for a Canadian team is anyone that is not deemed a Canadian.
  • Nationality ruling to be determined by country of birth on passport.
  • If you play an Australian, an Irishmen, or a New Zealander for example….all these nationalities are all deemed “Non-Nationals” and you can not play more than 9 of these players on the field at any one time.
  • Therefore Clubs will need to have a minimum of "9 Nationals" on the field at all times.
  • If a player cannot prove "National Status" that player will be deemed a "Non-National". If you area an American or a Canadian, the onus will be on you to prove that status. If you cannot prove that status you will be deemed a "Non-National"
  • The match sheet displays the player's effective nationality for nationals.  If the player's nationality has not been verified, they will be considered a non-national and count against the 50/50 rule.  Club Admin lists each player's nationality verification status.  Players may verify their nationality by presenting  a passport or birth certificate and government issued ID when they check in.

Player Movement between Divisions

If a club has multiple teams entered in the tournament, players may move between divisions subject to the following constraints.

  • A player may be moved to a higher division or a lower division, but may not play multiple games in the same round. For example, if a player plays in their Division 4 team's second match at 1pm, they cannot play in a Division 2 match at 3pm.
  • A player is considered to have played in a match by being on the final roster for the match (30 minutes prior to the game's scheduled start).  If a player is not on the roster for a match, they are ineligible for that match.
  • If a player has played 2 games in a higher division they are not allowed to play in a lower division final.

If any club feels they have information about opposing clubs using ineligible players at the Nationals, the Tournament Committee must be notified BEFORE the first games played, through the appropriate channels.

 

Team Rankings

Top ranked team from each pool will advance to the Championship game. Rankings will be based upon:

1. Total Championship points

2. Percentage (points scored/points allowed)

3. Points scored

4. Goals scored

5. Head to Head

6. Toss of coin

Game Format

Games will be played in 2 x 20 minute halves with a 7-minute half time break.

2017 AFL Laws

The 2017 Laws of Australian Rules Football will be applicable for all matches with the following exceptions noted below. All umpire decisions during play will be final.

Nominated Ruckmen

The USAFL will NOT adopt the nominated ruckmen rule in 2017. Third man up will still be permitted as in previous years.

Game Time

All matches will be two (2) halves of twenty (20) minutes with no time on, excepting at the discretion of the field umpire (for major delays such as injuries requiring medical attention). Halftime break will be seven (7) minutes. Field umpires will signal two-minute and one-minute warnings prior to starting each half.

Kick in After a Behind

Players WILL be required to wait for goal flags to be waved before bringing the ball back into play. All other kick in rules apply.

Deliberate Rushed Behind

There is no penalty for a deliberate rushed behind. Score one point. Kick in rules apply.

2-Meter Rule on Free Kicks

When a free kick has been awarded, a defensive player may run through the mark so long as an opponent is within two (2) meters. No player is allowed in the protected area - five (5) meters on either side of the mark and behind the kicker until the umpire calls play on.

Contact Between Ruckmen

Ruckmen will not be allowed to contact each other prior to the ruck contest. This 1-meter rule will be enforced by tournament umpires, who will separate ruckmen before throwing the ball up and require 1-meter separation on throw ins.

Advantage Rule

The advantage rule will be applied at the discretion of the Field Umpire (not at the discretion of the player as in the AFL).

Law 15.4.5 (a) (ii) Prohibited Contact

Forceful Contact Below the Knees – A free kick will be awarded against any player under existing Law 15.4.5 a (ii) Prohibited Contact, who makes forceful contact below the knees of an opponent (this does not apply to smothers with the hands or arms).

Send-off – Yellow Card

Any player sent off with a Yellow card will not be allowed to re-enter the game for a period of fifteen (15) minutes. A 50-meter penalty is assessed. That player is replaceable. A second Yellow card to that same player in the same game is an automatic Red card offence (see Red card below).

Send-off – Red Card

Any player sent off with a Red card will not be allowed to re-enter for the remainder of the game. A 50-meter penalty is assessed. That player is NOT replaceable for fifteen (15) minutes. The player is automatically reported and will attend a tribunal hearing which the Tribunal Coordinator will convene as soon as practicable following the match.

Blood Rule

The game clock will not stop when a player leaves the field under the blood rule. The replacement player should enter the field immediately and the game will be restarted when the departing player is off the field.

50-Meter Penalty

50-Meter penalties shall be assessed at 50-meters in Division I and 25-meters in all other divisions.

Emergency Umpire

We will be using an Emergency Umpire for some matches.  The emergency umpire has the ability to report players and team officials, but will not have the ability to call any infringements during the match.  An emergency umpire replacing an injured field umpire and would then have the ability to call any infringement during the match.

MISCONDUCT RULES

A player, coach, or bench personnel shall be cautioned (yellow card) for “Unsporting Conduct”, including, but not limited to:

a. Persistent dispute of an umpire’s decisions;

b. Persistent deliberate infringement of any of the laws;

c. Any use of vulgar or profane language;

d. Coaching outside the team area;

e. Misconduct by a player, which, in the Umpire’s opinion, is not reportable but is detrimental to the game.

 

PENALTY: A player receiving a Yellow Card is sent off for 15 minutes of game time and can be replaced on the field.

A player, coach or bench personnel shall be reported and disqualified (red card) for committing any of the offenses listed in Law 19.2.2 of the Laws of Australian Football 2017, including but not limited to:

a. subsequent caution;

b. using abusive, insulting, or obscene language;

 

PENALTY: A disqualified player must leave the field for the remainder of that game and cannot return to the field of play.  Depending upon specific competition rules, the Team of the disqualified player may or may not be able to replace the player after 15 minutes of game time.  All disqualified players, coaches, or bench personnel must leave the vicinity of the playing area and is prohibited from any contact, direct or indirect, with the team during the remainder of the game.  Failure to comply shall result in termination of the game.

 

NOTE: All disqualified players, coaches, bench personnel will be reported to the USAFL and be subjected to an automatic USAFL tribunal appearance.  In addition, the USAFL may adopt a policy wherein a disqualified player or coach shall be automatically barred from participating in the next contest(s).

NOTE: The coach may be cautioned or disqualified either for team misconduct or for bench misconduct that cannot be attributed to a specific individual.