Canadian Football: All You Need To Know

Canada is a country bursting with rich culture and tradition. And at the heartbeat of Canadian culture is Canadian football. This rich football history dates back to 1860 and at the time, it was popularly known as Rugby football.

In Canada, there’s a governing body for amateur football called Football Canada. The roots of Football Canada, the professional league and the CFL (Canadian Football League) can be traced back to 1880 and these football bodies led to the creation of the Canadian Rugby Football Union (CRFU).

Currently, the highest governing body of Canadian Football is the International Federation of American Football (FIAF), the Canadian Football league (the governing body for professional Canadian Football players) and the Football league (the governing body for amateur football players LSM)

In Canada, the sport is called American football, but outside Canada, it is referred to as Canadian Football. Canadian football is comprised of two teams of 12 players and the goal of each team is to tactically manoeuvre the opposing team and convey a ball that is oval to the scoring area of the opposing team.

Canadian Football League Structure

1. Canadian Football League

At the top of the Canadian football, league structure is the Canadian Football League.

This is a football tournament that is comprised of 9 professional football teams. The CFL season begins annually in June and by late November the Grey Cup playoffs round off. There are multiple outdoor stadiums around Canada that host the league tournament, but in some cities with low temperature and icy conditions, there can be quite q few challenges of playing the game.

2. Football Canada

Football Canada is the governing body for amateur football in Canada. Amateur football takes place at the university level, 4 conferences are compromised of 27 teams under the umbrella of U Sports. At the end of the season, the Vanier Cup is awarded to the winner of U Sports.

3. Canadian Junior Football League

Canadian Junior Football League is the governing body of amateur football for Juniors. This is a competition that is played by juniors after they leave high school while awaiting College or University.

In this competition, there’s are 3 divisions comprised of eighteen junior teams. These teams compete with each other for the coveted Canadian Bowl.

In the Quebec region of Canada, the cup competition there is the Mason Cup. The teams from Quebec and Ontario do battle on the field for the prestigious Mason Cup. And this league in Quebec is known as the Quebec Junior League.

4. Semi-professional Leagues

The Canadian Major Football League is the body governing Semi-professional leagues. In Canada, there is a rich history of Semi-professional leagues. 1954 saw the formation of the Northern Football conference in Ontario. Since it’s formation it has been popular with ex College football players that didn’t go on to play football professionally after leaving College.

There is a National Championship competition and teams are drawn from the Champion of Alberta and the Champion of Ontario.

The Alberta Champion is drawn from the Alberta Football League, while the Ontario Champion is drawn from the Ontario Football League.

5. Maritime Women’s Football League

This competition has soared in popularity. Canada is a country with diverse views, and both women and men have supported the growth of the football competition for women. Game day has seen record numbers of attention in stadiums around the country, and this has further contributed to the growth of sports for women. The competition came into prominence in 2004 and it has since been a pivotal Canadian sporting event that has brought glory to Canada. The Western Women’s Canadian Football League is by far the largest women’s football league in Canada.

Game Play

Beginning of Play

The game play is very exciting and starts at the toss of a coin by the game official.

The visiting team’s captain is allowed to call heads or tails from the coin toss. The captain that wins the toss is usually allowed to make the first choice, this captain also reserves the right to defer the first choice to the opposing captain.

The captain making the first choice may choose to have his or her team to kick off or he or she may choose to receive the kick at the start of the first half.

Play Stoppage

Play stoppage occurs when there is a tackle on the ball carrier that involves other parts of the carrier body (except the hands and feet), when a forward pass during a scrimmage is not retrieved or caught, during a field goal, when the ball is taken out of the designated area of play, or when the ball carrier engages in a “forward progress” (a situation where the carrier of the ball is unable to move forward from a stationary position).

In a situation where no there has been no score, the subsequent play will be a scrimmage.

Another form of game play include:

Scrimmage: This is a situation where one team in a bid to score, or achieve a first down, and advances the ball towards the opposing team’s half. And in the cause of

trying to advance the ball to the opposing team’s half, they encounter stiff opposition. The opposing do anything necessary under the guidelines of the game to halt the advance of the opposing team and also retrieve the ball from them.


Rules are an integral part of the American Football game. Without rules, the playing structure of the game falls apart. The FIAF mandates all professional leagues and amateur leagues to strictly comply with on-field and off-field rules.

During game play, there are set rules that guide the game and an official can decide to temporarily halt a game when any of the following are committed:

• Infractions and penalties

• Drop Kick

• Place Kick

• Punt

• Dribbled Ball

Final Verdict

Canadian football is a popular and exciting game that is popular in North America. Through global integration, the game is seeking to expand and connect with new fans of the game.

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

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