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The football won’t have to be handled in order for a single to be awarded on a kickoff starting this CFL season.

The removal of that requirement was among the changes unanimously approved by the CFL’s board of governors, the league announced Monday. The adjustments were originally proposed by the CFL’s rules committee.

The change aligns the single rule on kickoffs with all other kicking plays.

The CFL is also restricting the number of players within two yards of the line of scrimmage on either side of the longsnapper to a maximum of six at the snap. The restriction won’t apply if the offence lines up in an unbalanced line or an offensive player moves or motions from his initial position.

And the restriction will only apply on field goals or kicked convert attempts. The aim of the change is to avoid overloading the defensive line on one side of the long snapper.

When a team is penalized for holding while in possession of the ball in its goal area, a safety has been added to the available options for the opposition.

The CFL has also deemed it illegal for a player or authorized member of a team’s bench area to make avoidable contact with an official during a game. This can become an issue when players or coaches stand on or just past the sideline and risk becoming involved with an official.

Should an official be contacted by a player or authorized member of a team bench area, officials can check with the command centre to assist whether contact was “avoidable,” and if so, a 10-yard objectionable conduct penalty will be applied.

This change builds upon existing rules regarding contacting officials that may result in ejections.

Whenever a kicked ball hits the goalpost in flight, the next point of scrimmage will be the 30-yard line instead of the 25-yard line.

And, starting this year, CFL teams cannot have players wearing both 0 and 00. Only one player will be allowed to wear either 0 or 00.

“Last season’s changes yielded positive results across several key metrics,” said Darren Hackwood, the CFL’s associate vice-president of officiating. “The changes being introduced this year are focused on fine-tuning the rules from a health and safety perspective and to refine certain nuances in the game.

“These updates will build upon last season’s changes as the league and the Rules Committee continue to measure the impacts of the 2022 product review.”

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