Canadian Football League

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Canadian Football League clamps down on rules

CFLers beware - pulling a magazine, or any other foreign object, out from the goalpost padding to celebrate a touchdown is going to be costly this year.
Any player caught bringing a foreign object onto the field will automatically receive a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty and face ejection, one of several new rule changes for the 2005 season announced by the league Friday.
The rule is a result of the antics by Winnipeg Blue Bombers kick-returner Keith Stokes, who pulled out a magazine hidden in a goalpost and pretended to read it after scoring a touchdown in a 20-13 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Oct. 8, 2004.
The CFL is seeking to stamp out the type of flamboyant touchdown celebrations seen in the NFL, like Terrell Owens pulling a marker out from his sock to sign a football for his agent after scoring; and Joe Horn grabbing a cellphone from the goalpost and pretending to make a call.

The CFL's board of governors, who met Thursday in Toronto, also instituted a new penalty for spitting at an opponent - automatic ejection plus a loss of 25 yards.
There was no specific rule against spitting in recent years and it would be called under objectionable conduct and only cost the offending player's team 10 yards.
The lives of cornerbacks are also about to get tougher, as officials can now call illegal contact on a receiver on forward passes deemed uncatchable. In recent years, no call would be made on a back if he interfered with a receiver but the referee felt he wouldn't have caught the ball regardless.
Other changes:
- Shoes must be of a standard football design and not be altered;
- An official can send a player off the field if he is bleeding significantly. He will not be allowed to return until the cut has been dressed;
- On kicking plays, a team with only 11 players on the field can have a player enter the field and participate in the play without being penalized;
- Eligible receivers must wear numbers from 0-49 and 70-00, while ineligible receivers must wear numbers from 50-69.
The league also appointed Tom Robinson as chairman of its board of governors. The former Saskatchewan Roughriders president was unanimously elected to succeed Paul Robson, who served as chairman the past two years.
"I'm excited to be taking on this new role at the CFL Board level," Robinson said in a statement. "This league has experienced tremendous growth over the past few years and I look forward to further working with the board, the league and its member clubs to ensure its continued success."


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