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CFL considers making pass interference subject to video review

The CFL is considering whether to make pass interference subject to video review, the league announced Tuesday.

Under a proposal to be voted upon Thursday by the league's rules committee, coaches would be allowed to challenge both called and potential defensive pass interference fouls under certain conditions.

If passed, the CFL would become the first football league to subject pass interference to video review.

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"This is more than innovative," Glen Johnson, the CFL's vice-president of officiating, said in a statement. "In the world of officiating, for all sports, it's revolutionary.

"Leagues have been reluctant to subject 'judgment calls' to video review, and pass interference in football is the ultimate 'judgment call,' because it involves so many subjective elements. It will be interesting to see if the committee approves it, and whether our board of governors, which is our ultimate authority on rules, also ratifies it."

Under the proposal, a team could use any or all of its coaches' challenges to challenge a called or potential pass interference foul up to the final three minutes of a game. In the final three minutes and overtime, a club could only challenge such a call or non-call once, and only if it still has an unused challenge and a timeout remaining.

The rules committee is also looking at the command centre automatically reviewing all turnovers and allowing it to detect illegal participation during a play — when a player returns to the field after voluntarily leaving.

Other changes the committee is reviewing include:

— eliminating blocks below the waist, other than those delivered to the front plane of a player.

— eliminating blocks from behind in the area between the offensive tackles and within two yards of either side of the line of scrimmage.

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— eliminating peelback blocks that happen when a play changes direction in the backfield forces the defender to modify his pursuit. That would make the player susceptible to blind low blocks from an offensive player moving toward his own end zone.

— clarifying the rules that make it illegal to "deliver a blow" to an opponent above the shoulders. A standard is already followed by officials but hasn't yet been put into the rulebook.

— requiring an injured player to leave the field regardless of whether a penalty was called on the play leading to the injury. Players currently have the option to stay in the game if a penalty was called.

— allowing quarterbacks from both squads to use their own team-supplied Wilson footballs, provided they've met the "new ball" quality standard established by the league.

— allowing centres to bob their heads multiple times in an effort to signal timing of the snap of the ball (to be used by visiting teams coping with noise in stadium).

— allowing offences to further dictate the pace of play by no longer requiring the head official to hold the 20-second clock for the defence to substitute.

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The rules committee is also expected to review proposed editorial changes to statistical scoring rules including one which would make blocked field goals count as missed field goals.

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