AFL Football Penalties Reference By Category

Below is a list of AFL football penalties by category and their results of what happens when they are called during a game.


5 Yard AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionResult
Defensive HoldingWhen a defensive player holds onto an opposing player by their uniform rather than only push blocking, preventing them from moving in a certain direction.5 Yards
Defensive OffsideWhen a defensive player is over the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap.5 Yards
Delay Of GameCalled on a team when a play is not started after a set amount of time has passed, usually when the play clock expires.5 Yards
Delay Of KickoffWhen a team commits a delay of game penalty during a kickoff.5 Yards
EncroachmentWhen a defensive player illegally crosses the line of scrimmage before the snap and makes contact with an opposing player or has a clear path to the quarterback.5 Yards
False StartWhen an offensive player begins moving before the ball is snapped.5 Yards
Illegal FormationWhen players are lined up in an illegal formation at the time of the snap.5 Yards
Illegal Forward PassWhen a second forward pass occurs following a forward pass, or when the passer is beyond the line of scrimmage at the time of the throw.5 Yards
Illegal Kick And Kicking Loose BallWhen a player kicks the ball when it is loose or a player kicks the ball when they are not allowed to make contact with the ball.5 Yards
Illegal ShiftWhen a player shifts illegally before the ball is snapped. This is similar to an illegal formation.5 Yards
Illegal SubstitutionWhen a player is substituted into the game while play is live or interferes with the game.5 Yards
Illegal Touching of a Forward PassWhen the ball is touched illegally after a forward pass. Only eligible receivers can touch a forward pass before any other member of the offense.5 Yards
Ineligible Downfield KickWhen a player other than the two players at the end of the line of scrimmage crosses the line of scrimmage prior to the kick/punt.5 Yards
Ineligible Downfield PassWhen a forward pass is completed to an ineligible downfield receiver. An ineligible downfield receiver is any player who did not line up off of the line of scrimmage, such as the offensive guards and tackles.5 Yards
Neutral Zone InfractionWhen a defensive player illegally enters the neutral zone around the line of scrimmage prior to the snap.5 Yards
Offensive OffsideWhen an offensive player illegally crosses the neutral zone around the line of scrimmage prior to the snap.5 Yards
Offside On Free KickWhen a player is offside during a free kick or kickoff.5 Yards
Player Out Of Bounds On KickWhen a player illegally re-enters the playing field after stepping out of bounds on the kickoff.5 Yards
Running Into The KickerWhen a player makes contact with the kicker's plant leg on a kick or punt. Similar to roughing the kicker.5 Yards
Too Many Men On FieldWhen the team on offense or defense has more than the allowed 11 (12 in the CFL) men on the field.5 Yards

10 Yard AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionResult
Illegal Block Above The WaistWhen a player blocks an opposing player, who does not have the ball, from behind and above the waist.10 Yards
Offensive HoldingWhen an offensive player holds a defensive player illegally. Holding occurs when a player grabs an opposing player by the jersey of the uniform to prevent them from moving in a certain direction.10 Yards
Offensive Pass InterferenceWhen an offensive player performs an illegal action against a defensive player to prevent a pass from being defended properly, such as pushing the player.10 Yards

15 Yard AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionAFL
Chop BlockWhen two players block the same defensive player one above and below the thigh.15 Yards
ClippingWhen a player blocks or falls into an opposing player from behind below the knees.15 Yards
DisqualificationWhen a player's actions result in that player being removed from the game15 Yards
FacemaskWhen a player grabs an opposing player by the facemask.15 Yards
Horse CollarWhen a player grabs an opposing player from behind by the back collar of the uniform, under the padding, and pulls the player straight down off of their feet.15 Yards
Illegal Blindside BlockWhen a player blocks an opposing player while that player is unable to see the incoming blocker, and thus being defenseless.15 Yards
Illegal CrackbackWhen a player runs laterally across the field and blocks a defenseless player below the waist.15 Yards
Illegal Cut BlockWhen a player blocks an opposing player by diving into their knees from the front.15 Yards
Illegal Peel BackWhen a player blocks an opposing player from the side and below the waist.15 Yards
Low BlockWhen a player performs an illegal block that is below the waist of a player on the opposing team.15 Yards

Automatic First Down AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionResult
Illegal ContactWhen a player makes contact with an opposing player when they are not allowed to contact at that time.5 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
Illegal Use Of HandsWhen a player's hands make contact with an opposing player's face-area forcefully during an attempt to make or get around a block.10 Yards (offense), 5 Yards Automatic 1st Down (defense)
Roughing The KickerWhen a player makes contact with the kicker's plant leg on a kick or punt.15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
Roughing The PasserWhen a defensive player makes harsh contact with the passer after the ball has been released for an allotted time.15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
TauntingWhen a player taunts the opposing team or an opposing player.15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
TrippingWhen a player purposely trips an opposing player.10 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
Unnecessary RoughnessWhen rough contact is made towards an opposing player when deemed unnecessary.15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down
Unsportsmanlike ConductWhen a player violates the rule of general sportsmanship.15 Yards, Automatic 1st Down

Loss of Down AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionResult
Intentional GroundingWhen the passer intentionally throws the ball incomplete while under pressure from the defense in order to avoid a sack.10 Yards, Loss of Down

Spot of The Foul AFL Penalties

PenaltyDefinitionResult
Defensive Pass InterferenceWhen a defensive player disrupts an opposing player's attempt to catch a pass.Spot of the Foul