CFL puts its foot down on proposed rule change

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

The Canadian Football League has given the boot to a proposed rule change that would have penalized teams for deliberately kicking the ball out of bounds.

A motion put forward by fans and officials to be discussed by the rules committee as part of the on-going CFL congress in Toronto failed to make it to the voting stage yesterday. In fact, the discussion lasted about 15 minutes and quickly was dropped.

"Coaches were not interested in tampering with what they feel is a strategic play," CFL director of officiating George Black said. "Their feeling is that it's one of the things that makes the Canadian Football League unique and we should retain it."

The rule change, had it been implemented, would have penalized teams for kicking the ball in the air out of bounds between the 20-yard lines. Kicking out of bounds inside the 20-yard lines -- the coffin corner -- would have been allowed.

The rules committee decided to alter the no-yards rule, in particular the practice of kicking teams advancing into the five-yard restraining area after the ball hits the ground. If a member of the kicking team invades the no-yards zone but attempts to withdraw the penalty will still be five yards, If there is no attempt to retreat it will become a 15-yard penalty.

In cases where a member of the kicking team enters the no-yards zone and deliberately hits the returner before he's had a chance to catch the ball or just after he's caught it, the infraction will result in a 15-yard penalty and a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.

Some aspects of the rule were sent to teams by a memo in years past. They now will be officially written into the rule book.

On tap today

The winner of the 2005 coach of the year will be announced today. The finalists are Toronto's Mike (Pinball) Clemons, Edmonton's Danny Maciocia and likely favourite Tom Higgins of Edmonton ... Argos quarterback Damon Allen and his NFL Hall of Fame brother Marcus will be the keynote speakers at the luncheon.


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