Tournament Rules

Purpose

The Tournament Rules serve to codify the rules of the game being applied by the Tournament Director, Field Marshals, Members of Executive Board and Umpires during the USAFL Nationals matches for all games, Men’s and Women’s.

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

COVID-19 Policy

  • USAFL will not be enforcing testing or vaccination reporting at Nationals in 2022.
  • USAFL recommends all participants follow CDC guidelines and test if feeling unwell. Anyone who tests positive in the week prior to Nationals should not attend unless they test negative prior to arriving.
  • Water runners will be allowed however clubs are encouraged not to share water bottles.

Player Eligibility

All players must meet the Attendance Requirements above to be eligible to play at the USAFL National Championships in addition to the following:

  • Must be current on USAFL AND Nationals registration fees and have signed the USAFL COVID-19 Waiver.

  • Men's Divisions must have earned a minimum of 6 Nationals Eligibility Points (NEP) by playing in USAFL sanctioned matches for their designated club during the 2021 season or they must have an approved Nationals Eligibility Exemption that has been granted for the division they are playing in. (Excludes Men's Div IV)

  • Women's Divisions must have earned a minimum 2 NEPs.

    • A maximum of 2 USAFL game NEPs over any weekend, no matter how many games played.

  • Men and women players can earn a maximum of 2 metro points.(1 per game)

  • First Year Australian Players:

    • Must accumulate 6 NEPs.

    • Must be a US resident or show entry in the US by or before August 1st (Passport & I-94 Arriving/Departure record)

    • Must not have played regular football in Australia in the same year.

    • Must register and pay USAFL dues AND Nationals Registration fee by September 30.

    • First year Australian Players not meeting the requirement may be granted Division IV or Reserves Division exemptions. In some cases they will not be permitted to compete at all.

  • US Nationals players, if not already verified, must present a copy of their Passport or US Birth Certificate. (Via Zoom virtual meeting rooms TBA in the days before or in-person Oct 14 Friday 6.30pm-10pm at the Ontario Convention Center.) **No Saturday Check-In will be permitted**

  • All Nationals team rosters must be entered in the USAFL website by Wed Oct 12. The tournament committee will review rosters and work with teams to resolve any eligibility issues before 10pm, Friday, October 14. 

Player Registration

Registration Fees: 2022 Nationals Player Registration fees are due by September 30.

Tournament Check-In: Eligible players may self check in online.  Players unable to self check in may check in Friday evening October 14th. In person registration will run from 6.30pm to 10pm and will take place at the Ontario Convention Center located at: 2000 E Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA 91764.**No Saturday Check-In will be permitted for 2022**

THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS - Walk-ins, people showing up on Saturday or Sunday without completing registration requirements in the timeline provided herein will not be eligible to play.

Players are eligible to check in online or in-person if they meet the following criteria:

  • Player has earned correct amount of  Nationals Eligibility Points or has an approved Nationals Eligibility Exemption.
  • Player has declared as a US National and their nationality has previously been verified or has been granted a nationality exemption, or the player has declared as a Non-National.
  • Player has been nominated for Nationals tournament via their club's Nationals Roster entered by Wednesday Oct 12.
  • Player has paid USAFL dues AND Nationals Registration fee.

Exemptions

Men

Any player that has not earned their 6 (for Men's Divisions I, II, III)  Nationals Eligibility Points will need to apply for an exemption to participate at Nationals. 

  • Divisions I, II and III
    • Each club will be permitted 8 free exemptions in 2022
    • There will be a $25 fee for any additional exemption requests over 8
  • Division IV
    • Will remain same as previous years with no fees or limit on the number of exemptions

Women

  • Divisions I, II
    • Exemptions will not be required

Notes

  • All players must be registered before checking in as only players with 6 NEP (men), 2 NEP (women) or an exemption are eligible to play.
  • Players with eligibility exemptions must be current in their USAFL dues and Nationals registration prior to checking in.
  • 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 re-verify your nationality. Club admins can check on the nationality verification for all players on their club via Club Admin.

Other Tournament Policies 

Game Format

  • All games will be played in 2 x 20 minute half format.
  • Half time break will be 7 minutes

Women Participation

  • Women will not be permitted to play in Men's games at Nationals. There will be a full women's competition.

Team Combinations

  • Team combinations will be determined in the best interests of the tournament competition and subject to the RVPs and Tournament Director discretion.

Individual Players

  • Players who do not have a home USAFL club must be approved to play and will be assigned to a team at the discretion of the RVPs and Tournament Director.

Game Day Process for Clubs

Nationals Game Schedule

  • Will be up to the Tournament Director in conjunction with the UA. Schedule will be available 1 week before the tournament and subject to change.

Team Rosters

Team Rosters & Jersey Numbers must be entered by Wednesday October 12. Adjustments to Team Rosters can be made online in LMS no later than 30 minutes prior to the scheduled start of your match.  NOTE: 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 locked in LMS 30 minutes prior to the match and be made available for field umpires at the field prior to commencement of the game. The match roster 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 or Tournament Dues
  • Player has not had their National status verified
  • Player has not earned the required Nationals Eligibility Points and has not been granted an Eligibility Exemption for their 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 roster 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 must verify their nationality by presenting a passport or birth certificate and government issued ID when they check in. Virtual verification options will be made available upon request.

Roster Limits 2022

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* 18 24
Women's Division 2* 16 24

* Estimated until nationals divisions are set and announced.

  • Division I: 18 players  per side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.)
  • Division II: 18 players  per side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.)
  • Division III: 16 players  per side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.) (Coaches/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 per side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.) (Coaches/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 per side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.) (Coaches/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: 18 players  per side with 6 interchange players (24 players max.)  (Coaches/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  per side with 8 interchange players (24 players max.)  (Coaches/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.)

NOTE: Division IV, Reserves and Women's Division II roster limits are estimates until Nationals divisions are set and announced.

50/50 Participation Rule

All games in every division, are subject to the 50/50 rule (minimum of 50% Nationals, i.e. American or Canadian, on field at any given time)

  • A “Non-National” player is anyone that is not deemed an American or Canadian
  • Nationality ruling to be determined by country of birth on passport. Note: Attaining US or Canadian Citizenship does not qualify you as a National.
  • If you play an Australian, an Irish person, or a New Zealander for example….all these nationalities are all deemed “Non-Nationals” and the team makeup on the field at any given time can not include more than 50% non nationals as determined by the maximum number of players on the field allowed for the division being played in.
  • Therefore Clubs will need to have a minimum of "50% Nationals" on the field at all times as determined by the maximum number of players on the field allowed for the division being played in.
  • If a player cannot prove "National Status" that player will be deemed a "Non-National". If you are a 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.
  • Non-Nationals must wear black armbands provided by tournament admin.
  • TOURNAMENT OFFICIALS have the right to check players ID’s/nationality (randomly) before games at team tents.

Calling for Player Count During a Match

  • Violations of the Total Players Allowed and 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 all points scored in that half until the time of the player count. The captain of the team requesting the player count will be given a free kick plus a 50-meter penalty from either the center circle or where the ball was at the time of the player count, whichever is greater advantage to that team.

  • The opposition captain is the only person who can call for a player count. The captain must request the player count from a field umpire; boundary and goal umpires are not permitted to stop the game for a player count. When the captain calls for the player count, the field umpire will ask two questions: "Are you sure?" because the penalty for being wrong is severe. If the answer is "Yes", the second question is "Total players or Non-National players? With that answer, the field umpire will stop the game and the game clock. All players on field at that time must come to center and be counted by umpires (non-national players will have on black armbands) this includes players who are trying to get off the field and any players who have come on the field too early at the interchange. For a total player count, the field umpire will count all players who were on the field. For a 50/50 violation count, the field umpire will count all Non-Nationals, as identified by the black arm bands required to be worn.

  • If the accused team is found to NOT be in violation of the either total players or non-Nationals players allowed (depending on which player count was requested), the captain of the team that called for the count will be given a red card and sent off for the remainder of the game and is reported for Time Wasting and will go to tribunal. The captain of the accused team will be given a free kick plus a 50-meter penalty from either the center circle or where the ball was at the time of the player count, whichever is greater advantage to the accused team.

Player Movement between Divisions

If a club has multiple teams entered in the tournament:

  • 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 their Division 2's second 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 permitted to play in a lower division Final.

Division Final Team Rankings

  • Top ranked team from each Division pool will advance to the Championship game. Rankings will be based upon:
    • Total Championship points
    • Percentage (points scored/points allowed)
    • Points scored
    • Goals scored
    • Head to Head
    • Toss of coin

2022 USAFL Laws

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