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Canadian Football League's Rule Committee proposes changes for 2015

03/26/2015 10:37 EDT | Updated 05/26/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Canadian Football League's Rules Committee is proposing a handful of rule changes for 2015.

The convert would be less automatic, receivers would have more space, and the game would speed up, if the changes are approved by the Board of Governors this spring.

"We have sought to be innovative while protecting the integrity of the game with a focus on player safety," said Glen Johnson, the CFL's vice-president of officiating and its representative on the Rules Committee.

"We believe we are recommending to our Board of Governors responsible ways to improve the tempo and flow of the game, reduce the number of stoppages including penalties, increase opportunities for scoring and excitement, and simplify our rules."

The Rules Committee is recommending modifying the convert that follows a touchdown. A kick for a single point, which now comes from the 12-yard line, would instead come from the 32-yard line. Under the proposal, a kicked convert that is wide would remain live and can be run back for a two-point score.

If a team opts to run or pass the ball into the end zone for a two-point convert following a touchdown, the ball would be scrimmaged from the three-yard line, instead of the current five-yard line, which may entice more coaches to go for two points.

The Governors also have the option of choosing to test a more radical approach during pre-season games — a convert worth three points when a team chooses to run or pass the ball over the goal line from the 10-yard line.

To open up the passing game, the Rules Committee is suggesting a change designed to create more room for the offence. It would allow a defensive player to contact a receiver that is in front of him within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but would not allow either player to create or initiate contact that impedes or redirects an opponent beyond five yards.

To increase the tempo of the game, the Rules Committee suggests that at any time in the game the offence be allowed to signal to the referee that it doesn't want to substitute and it wants to use a tempo offence. The officials would then blow the play in immediately upon the ball and yardsticks being set for play.

On punts, the Rules Committee recommends prohibiting the five interior linemen on the kicking team from leaving the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.

Also to improve game flow, the Rules Committee wants to remove the ability of a coach to request a measurement, leaving it to the referee to measure when he is unsure if a first down has been made or not.

"Our governors are charged with the special responsibility of ensuring our product is fast and exciting for our fans and we treat our great game and players with the utmost respect," Johnson said.

"The changes we're putting forward for their consideration represent our best advice in meeting these objectives."

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