2019 Official ITSF Rules

(link to download the Official 2019 ITSF Rulebook .pdf)
(link to the Official 2016 ITSF Rulebook page)
  1. INTRODUCTION
    1. BACKGROUND
    2. PHILOSOPHY
    3. TERMINOLOGY
    4. DOCUMENT STRUCTURE
    5. INTERPRETATION OF RULES
    6. SCOPE
  2. DEFINITIONS
  3. MATCH STRUCTURE
    1. PAUSE
    2. INTERRUPT
  4. THE MATCHPLAY RULES
    1. STARTING A MATCH
    2. PUTTING THE BALL INTO PLAY
      1. Positioning the Ball
      2. Ready Protocol
      3. Double Transfer
    3. POSSESSION
    4. DEAD BALL
    5. BALL OFF TABLE
    6. PLAYER QUERY
    7. POINT SCORED
    8. SWITCH POSITIONS
    9. SPINNING
    10. PASSING
    11. WALL CONTACT
    12. INFRACTION INTERRUPT
    13. TIME-OUT
    14. TIME-OUT CHARGED
    15. IMPAIRING PLAY
      1. Distraction
      2. Reset
      3. Jarring
    16. REFEREE REQUEST
    17. REFEREE
    18. MEDICAL BREAK REQUEST
    19. TABLE MAINTENANCE REQUEST
    20. OFFICIAL INTERRUPT
    21. BETWEEN GAMES
    22. TIME CONTROL
    23. PLAYER CONDUCT
    24. SPECTATOR CONDUCT
    25. PERMISSION
    26. REACHING INTO THE PLAYING AREA
    27. CHANGES TO THE TABLE
      1. Changing Handles
      2. Wiping the Playfield
      3. Lubricating the Rods
      4. Table Maintenance
      5. Table Modification
    28. BALL SUPPLY
    29. PRACTICE
  5. PENALTIES
    1. PENALTY SHOT
  6. OLD RULES DOCUMENT
  1. INTRODUCTION
    1. BACKGROUND
    2. This document represents a significant shift in the way that the rules of table soccer, or foosball, are imagined and presented.

      The project was born from a recognition that the existing ITSF rules are showing their age; from the original ruleset adopted by the ITSF successive changes have resulted in a document that's in need of a refresh.

      The existing ITSF rules document is a poor foundation for creating rulebooks for other event types, and for accurately translating the rules into other languages.

      To serve these ends a new scheme is required, and the Standard Matchplay Rules document is the first deliverable in this project.

    3. PHILOSOPHY

      The bedrock of the Matchplay Rules is a substantial set of definitions which are referenced throughout the document.

      The use of a coherent set of definitions to encapsulate complexity allows the rules themselves to be brief and precise and also invites a more general use of the terminology, so that we can agree on what we mean by possessionPossession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possession. or a stopped ballStopped ball: A stationary ball which has not been immediately played., for example.

      The readability of the text is balanced by the precision of the rules and definitions, and the consistent use of terms minimises ambiguity, subjectivity, redundancy and contradiction.

      The objectives of this approach are:

      • To make rule interpretation and refereeing easier
      • To facilitate accurate translation into other languages
      • To facilitate the creation of ITSF Matchplay rule books for other event types
      • To introduce a coherent and consistent foosball terminology

      Time will be required for referees and players to become familiar with the novel approach of the Standard Matchplay Rules. While there is a pressing need to rationalise and simplify the rules themselves, making major changes to both the approach and the rules in a single step will lead to much confusion and feedback overload.

      Therefore the intent of the first version of the Standard Matchplay Rules is to track the 2015 ITSF rules as closely as possible. In this way we can be sure that any problems are due to the new approach, rather than to new rules.

      We then expect the Matchplay Rules to immediately enable the following objectives:

      • To expose and isolate complexity in the rules in order to provoke and facilitate simplification
      • To create summary rulesets for players of differing skill levels
      • To create further ITSF Matchplay rulesets, specifically:

        • Major national styles, e.g. Spanish 2Legs and Italian Rollerball
        • Disabled Rules
        • Classic Doubles
        • Specialty events

    4. TERMINOLOGY
    5. In this document italicised phrases are defined terms, or conjugations of defined terms. To improve readability italicisation is suppressed in contexts where the term’s colloquial meaning is sufficient for understanding, e.g. player or rod, but is used when a more precise meaning is intended.

      Historically there has been inconsistency in even the most basic foosball language. Consider the naming of the rods, or bars, for example. We can use whichever term we prefer, but when it comes to a formal rules document, we should pick one term and use it consistently.

      Here, the term rodRod: The goalkeeper rod, 2-rod, 5-rod or 3-rod. is used in preference to bar. There is a rationale; a bar is generally considered to be a solid cast beam with any cross-sectional shape, while a rod more typically has a circular crosssection and can be hollow. Further, this document uses the terms goalkeeper rodGoalkeeper rod: The rod closest to the goal., 2-rod, 5-rod and 3-rod. The term goalie rodGoalie rod: Either the goalkeeper rod or the adjacent 2-rod. is used to describe either the goalkeeper rod or the 2-rod, or both of them,according to the context.

      In some cases a common term is defined in a specific way to avoid confusion with a more ambiguous colloquial meaning. For example, a playerPlayer: A person playing for one of two teams. is always a human being, while a figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play. is inanimate and attached to a rod.

      The definitions also include novel terms which will initially sound strange, but as their utility becomes apparent they should become more familiar.

      For example, two key ideas introduced here are transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod. and transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession.. A transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod. is shorthand for when the ball contactContact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.s first one playing figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play. and then another on the same rod, and transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession. is when the ball leaves the current rod of possessionPossession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possession..

      Where there’s complexity it’s encapsulated in the definitions, so that it’s possible to write, for example, the passing rules both simply and with precision.

      Terms and definitions which include inherent notions of subjectivity or ‘intent’ are avoided where possible; a transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession. might have been intentional, or it might not; the colloquial term ‘shot’ is subjective. There are some exceptions; for example, the idea of controlled possessionControlled possession: An active possession where the ball is controlled following a contact. does carry subjectivity, but is necessary to correctly represent the existing passing rules.

      In other cases existing arcane nomenclature is replaced by a more descriptive term (e.g. Penalty Shot replaces technical foul).

      This document uses the pronouns they and them in both the singular and plural.

    6. DOCUMENT STRUCTURE
    7. The document begins with the Definitions section where all the defined terms are collected and ordered alphabetically. It’s not necessary to read the entire section; specific terms can be referenced as required.

      The Matchplay Rules are structured into sections each of which describes a particular situation along with the rules and penalties associated with that situation.

      The first part of each section describes the process for that situation, typically what the players can or must do. The next part contains rules, which are always proscriptive, that is, they state what a player must not do, and the penalty to be paid for infraction.

      Rules and penalties have brief names which identify them, allowing for easy textual and verbal reference. The details of the process to follow for each penalty are collected in a separate Penalties section.

      Stories sometimes contain interpretations. Interpretations do not modify or augment the rules, and are formally unnecessary. However, interpretations are useful for avoiding misunderstanding and for communicating how common cases or edge-cases are handled.

    8. INTERPRETATION OF RULES
    9. If any ambiguity or conflict is found in the rules the following process should be used to attempt resolution:

      1. Assume the rules and definitions are complete and cover the case even by omission
      2. Definitions later in the document take precedence over earlier ones
      3. Rules later in the document take precedence over earlier ones
      4. Sections later in the document take precedence over earlier ones
      5. Refer to the interpretations

    10. SCOPE
    11. This document defines the ITSF Standard Matchplay rules of Table Soccer, or foosball, covering the rules for both Standard Singles and Standard Doubles event types. Matchplay rules for other events types will be published in separate documents.

      Matchplay rules define how matches are played; they do not cover more general rules concerning other aspects of tournament behaviour, such as clothing, drugs or general conduct.

      While the rules may differ between event types and event formats, the same ruleset is used for all variations in match format. For example, the same rules apply for a match to two games as for a match to three games.

  2. DEFINITIONS
  3. In this printable document the definitions are listed alphabetically here. An electronic version is envisaged where definitions become visible when the cursor hovers over a defined term.

    Active play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. or in transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession..
    Active possession: A period of active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition., whose duration is timed by the possession clockPossession clock: A timekeeping device that measures the duration of active possession on each rod., during which the ball is reachableReachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod..
    Adjusted ball: A transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod. followed by a contactContact: When a figure and the ball touch each other. on either the front or the back of a figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play., followed by a further contact with the same figure.

    Ball off table: A ball that leaves the playing areaPlaying area: Any part of the internal volume of the table from the playfield up to the height of the side of the cabinet. and strikes an object either on the cabinetCabinet: Any part of the frame of the table which is external to the playing area or outside the table, or rolls or comes to rest on the top of the cabinet.
    Ball supply: The specific set of balls in use for the entire matchMatch: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the game target..
    Bump: When a player’s rod hits the wall with a small amount of force.

    Cabinet: Any part of the frame of the table which is external to the playing areaPlaying area: Any part of the internal volume of the table from the playfield up to the height of the side of the cabinet.
    Clash:When any part of a player's body touches any part of one of the opposing team’s rods.
    Contact: When a figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play. and the ball touch each other.
    Contact spin: When the rod of active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. rotates more than 360° before or after contactContact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.
    Controlled possession: An active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. where the ball is controlled following a contactContact: When a figure and the ball touch each other..
    Controlled transition: A transition Transition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession. that directly follows a controlled possessionControlled possession: An active possession where the ball is controlled following a contact. .
    Current location: Where the ball is currently located. Either: under activeActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. or paused possessionPaused possession: During a pause or interrupt, the rod of paused possession is the rod from which the ball is reachable. by a specific rod or figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play., deadDead ball: A stationary ball that is not reachable by any rod., off tableBall off table: A ball that leaves the playing area and strikes an object either on the cabinet or outside the table, or rolls or comes to rest on the top of the cabinet., or in a goal.

    Dead ball: A stationary Stationary ball: A ball which is not moving.ball that is not reachable Reachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod.by any rod.
    Defensive player: A player on the defensive teamDefensive team: If one team has possession of the ball, the other team.
    Defensive team: If one team has possession of the ball, the other team.
    Deflection: The momentary contact in an uncontrolled transitionUncontrolled transition: A transition that directly follows an uncontrolled possession. .
    Direct pass: A controlled transitionControlled transition: A transition that directly follows a controlled possession. directly followed by a controlled possessionControlled possession: An active possession where the ball is controlled following a contact. on a rod of the same team, with no intervening contactContact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.
    Distraction: Any player action performed during active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. that is identified in these rules as illegal, or deemed illegal by a referee.
    Double transfer: Two consecutive transfersTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod. , performed when putting the ball into play.

    Event: A specific foosball discipline, e.g. Standard Singles or Standard Doubles.
    Event format: Describes how an event Event: A specific foosball discipline, e.g. Standard Singles or Standard Doubles.is to be played, e.g. Group stage then Single Elimination.

    Figure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.
    Flex: Bending a rod by exerting lateral pressure on the handle.
    Freed ball: A reachableReachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod. ball that is no longer trappedTrapped: A reachable ball that is stopped at or near to the wall. .

    Game: A fixture which ends when one team Team: One or more players on the same side of the table.reaches the point targetPoint target: The target number of points required to win a game..
    Game target: The target number of games Game: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the point target. required to win a matchMatch: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the game target. .
    Goalie rod: Either the goalkeeper rodGoalkeeper rod: The rod closest to the goal. or the adjacent 2-rod.
    Goalkeeper: The playing figure on the goalkeeper rodGoalkeeper rod: The rod closest to the goal. that covers the goalmouth.
    Goalkeeper rod: The rod closest to the goal.

    Has serve: Within a matchMatch: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the game target., a team has serve if they conceded the previous goal, or if there is no score, if they gained serve from the initial flipInitial flip: A process that determines which team has the option of first serve or choice of table side..
    Head official: A suitably qualified person officiating a tournament and enforcing tournament rules.
    Held ball: A reachable Reachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod.ball that is stopped Stopped ball: A stationary ball which has not been immediately played.and not being played.

    Indirect pass: A controlled transitionControlled transition: A transition that directly follows a controlled possession. directly followed by a controlled possessionControlled possession: An active possession where the ball is controlled following a contact. on a rod of the same team, with an intervening deflectionDeflection: The momentary contact in an uncontrolled transition..
    Infraction interrupt: A brief interrupt Interrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.to active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. in order to declare and process an infraction.
    Infraction location: The figure Figure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.where the ball was located when the infraction occurred.
    Initial flip: A process that determines which team has the option of first serve Serve: A restart at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serve.or choice of table side.
    Interrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses. .

    Jar: Any shakeShake: When a player causes the table to shake., shockShock: When a player’s rod hits a wall with medium force., slamSlam: When a player’s rod hits a wall with great force., shift Shift: When a player causes the table to move.or clash Clash: When any part of a player's body touches any part of one of the opposing team’s rods.by the defensive team that impairs the offensive team’sOffensive team: The team which has possession of the ball. ability to retain or gain possession Possession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possessionof the ball.

    Match format: Values that specify the game targetGame target: The target number of games required to win a match. and point targetPoint target: The target number of points required to win a game. for the matchMatch: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the game target., e.g. 3/5 (meaning the match is first to 3 games, each game first to 5 points).
    Match: A fixture which ends when one team Team: One or more players on the same side of the table.reaches the game targetGame target: The target number of games required to win a match..
    Medical break: An approved pause Pause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspendedto allow a player to recover from injury or illness.
    Move: A contact Contact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.that causes a stationary ballStationary ball: A ball which is not moving. to move, or a moving ballMoving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning. to change speed or direction.
    Moving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning.

    Offensive player: The player who has possession Possession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possessionof the ball.
    Offensive team: The team which has possession Possession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possessionof the ball.
    Opposing player: The player on the other side of the table directly opposite the offensive playerOffensive player: The player who has possession of the ball..
    Opposing team: The team on the other side of the table directly opposite the offensive teamOffensive team: The team who has possession of the ball..

    Pass:A direct passDirect pass: A controlled transition directly followed by a controlled possession on a rod of the same team, with no intervening contact. or an indirect passIndirect pass: A controlled transition directly followed by a controlled possession on a rod of the same team, with an intervening deflection..
    Pause: A time controlledTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses. period when active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. is temporarily suspended.
    Paused possession: During a pause Pause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspendedor interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control., the rod of paused possession is the rod from which the ball is reachableReachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod..
    Pinned ball: A ball that is pressed to the playfield Playfield: The internal surface of the table on which the ball is played.by the downward pressure of a figure Figure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.on the top of the ball, and which has not been immediately played. A pinned ball can be stopped Stopped ball: A stationary ball which has not been immediately played.or movingMoving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning..
    Play: A moveMove: A contact that causes a stationary ball to move, or a moving ball to change speed or direction., a transfer Transfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod.or a transitionTransition: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod..
    Player: A person playing for one of two teams.
    Playfield: The internal surface of the table on which the ball is played.
    Playing area: Any part of the internal volume of the table from the playfield Playfield: The internal surface of the table on which the ball is played.up to the height of the side of the cabinet.
    Point target: The target number of points required to win a gameGame: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the point target..
    Possession: Either active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. or paused possessionPaused possession: During a pause or interrupt, the rod of paused possession is the rod from which the ball is reachable.. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possession.
    Possession clock: A timekeeping device that measures the duration of active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. on each rod.

    Reachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure Figure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.on that rod can contact it without flexing Flex: Bending a rod by exerting lateral pressure on the handle.the rod.
    Referee: A suitably qualified person officiating in a match and enforcing matchplay rules.
    Released: A rod that is not currently under player control.
    Reset: Any shakeShake: When a player causes the table to shake., bump Bump: When a player’s rod hits the wall with a small amount of force.or shock Shock: When a player’s rod hits a wall with medium force.by the defensive teamDefensive team: If one team has possession of the ball, the other team. that impairs the offensive playerOffensive player: The player who has possession of the ball.'s ability to control or play the ball.
    Restart: Putting the ball into play after a pause Pause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspendedor an interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control..
    Restricted ball: In the context of a passPass:A direct pass or an indirect pass., a ball which is trappedTrapped: A reachable ball that is stopped at or near to the wall., stoppedStopped ball: A stationary ball which has not been immediately played., pinned Pinned ball: A ball that is pressed to the playfield by the downward pressure of a figure on the top of the ball, and which has not been immediately played. A pinned ball can be stopped or moving.or adjustedAdjusted ball: A transfer followed by a contact on either the front or the back of a figure, followed by a further contact with the same figure..
    Rocking ball: A ball which is slightly wobbling in place. A rocking ball is not a moving ballMoving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning..
    Rod: The goalkeeper rodGoalkeeper rod: The rod closest to the goal., 2-rod, 5-rod or 3-rod.

    Serve: A restart Restart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt.at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serveHas serve: Within a match, a team has serve if they conceded the previous goal, or if there is no score, if they gained serve from the initial flip..
    Shake: When a player causes the table to shake.
    Shift: When a player causes the table to move.
    Shock: When a player’s rod hits a wall with medium force.
    Slam: When a player’s rod hits a wall with great force.
    Spectator: An observer who is not playing or officiating in the match.
    Stationary ball: A ball which is not movingMoving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning..
    Stopped ball: A stationary ballStationary ball: A ball which is not moving. which has not been immediately playedPlay: A move, a transfer or a transition..
    Stub pass: A stationary Stationary ball: A ball which is not moving.or moving ballMoving ball: A ball which is changing position or spinning. which is passed Pass:A direct pass or an indirect pass.as a result of the downward force of a momentarily pinned ballPinned ball: A ball that is pressed to the playfield by the downward pressure of a figure on the top of the ball, and which has not been immediately played. A pinned ball can be stopped or moving..

    Table maintenance: An interrupt Interrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.during which a problem with the table is resolved.
    Team: One or more players on the same side of the table.
    Time control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessionsActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. and pausesPause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended..
    Time-out: A pause Pause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.during or between games Game: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the point target.when players Player: A person playing for one of two teams.may converse and leave the table.
    Transfer: A move Move: A contact that causes a stationary ball to move, or a moving ball to change speed or direction.directly followed by a contact Contact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.on another figure Figure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.on the same rod.
    Transition: A move Move: A contact that causes a stationary ball to move, or a moving ball to change speed or direction.that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable..
    Trapped: A reachable Reachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod.ball that is stopped Stopped ball: A stationary ball which has not been immediately played.at or near to the wallWall: An internal vertical surface that bounds one side of the playing area, or if present the side strip that runs along each side of the playing area..
    Tournament desk: The place where players go to contact tournament officials.

    Uncontrolled possession: An active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. where contact Contact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.either does not occur or is momentary and uncontrolled.
    Uncontrolled transition: A transition Transition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession.that directly follows an uncontrolled possessionUncontrolled possession: An active possession where contact either does not occur or is momentary and uncontrolled..
    Unprocessed infraction: An infraction Infraction interrupt: A brief interrupt to active play in order to declare and process an infraction.that has just occurred but not yet been processed.
    Unreachable: A ball that is not currently reachable Reachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod.by any rod.

    Wall: An internal vertical surface that bounds one side of the playing area, or if present the side strip that runs along each side of the playing areaPlaying area: Any part of the internal volume of the table from the playfield up to the height of the side of the cabinet..
    Wall contact: A move Move: A contact that causes a stationary ball to move, or a moving ball to change speed or direction.that causes the ball to make contact Contact: When a figure and the ball touch each other.with the wallWall: An internal vertical surface that bounds one side of the playing area, or if present the side strip that runs along each side of the playing area..
    Wall contact count: The number of effective 5-rod wall contacts made during one active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable..

  4. MATCH STRUCTURE

    The Matchplay Rules consider a match to be constructed from component parts; understanding this structure will be helpful when reading and interpreting the rules.

    Each match formatMatch format: Values that specify the game target and point target for the match, e.g. 3/5 (meaning the match is first to 3 games, each game first to 5 points). consists of periods of active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. punctuated by pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.s or interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.s when play is temporarily suspended. active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. consists of active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable.s and transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession.s. active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable.s and pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.s are under time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses., while interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.s are not.

    1. PAUSE
    2. A pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended. is a time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses. period of a matchMatch: A fixture which ends when one team reaches the game target. during which active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. is temporarily suspended. Because pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.s are under time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses. they are subject to Delay of Game infraction.

      The following pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.s are recognised:

      • Putting the Ball into Play
      • Dead Ball
      • Ball off Table
      • Time-out
      • Point Scored
      • Between Games
      • Player Query
      • Medical Break

    3. INTERRUPT
    4. An interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control. is a period when active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. is suspended. There is no time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses. during an interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.. time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. s are not allowed during interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.s.

      The following interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.s are recognised:

      • Infraction Interrupt
      • Referee Request
      • Medical Break Request
      • Table Maintenance
      • official Interrupt

      At the end of an interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control. play shall restart on the rod of possessionPossession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possession. in accordance with the rules.

  5. THE MATCHPLAY RULES
    1. STARTING A MATCH
    2. A match begins with a coin flip between one player from each team. The winner of the initial flipInitial flip: A process that determines which team has the option of first serve or choice of table side. has the option of taking the first serveServe: A restart at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serve. or choosing the table side, with the losing team taking the remaining option. Once the winning team make their choice they cannot change their decision.

      The team which has serveHas serve: Within a match, a team has serve if they conceded the previous goal, or if there is no score, if they gained serve from the initial flip. puts the ball into play with a serveServe: A restart at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serve..

    3. PUTTING THE BALL INTO PLAY

      This section describes the procedure for putting the ball into play when serveServe: A restart at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serve. the ball or restarting play after a pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended. or interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control..

      The ball is put into play in three stages:

      • Positioning the Ball
      • Ready Protocol
      • Double Transfer

      The ball can be legally transitionTransition: A move that causes the ball to leave the rod of active possession.ed only after this procedure has been correctly completed. There should be no delay when positioning the ball, asking “Ready?”, responding “Ready!” or initiating or completing the double transferDouble transfer: Two consecutive transfers, performed when putting the ball into play.; these steps are subject to Delay of Game infraction.

      Play remains pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended.d while positioning the ball and during the ready protocol.

      1. Positioning the Ball
      2. The ball is positioned by the player putting the ball into play. The starting location of the ball is determined by the specific situation:

        • To serveServe: A restart at the central 5-rod figure by the team which has serve., the ball is positioned at the central 5-rod figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play.
        • To restartRestart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt. after a time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. , the ball remains located where the time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. was called
        • To restartRestart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt. after a dead ballDead ball: A stationary ball that is not reachable by any rod. or ball off tableBall off table: A ball that leaves the playing area and strikes an object either on the cabinet or outside the table, or rolls or comes to rest on the top of the cabinet. the ball may be positioned at any figureFigure: A playing figure on any of the rods, used to control the ball during play. on the appropriate rod

        Performing transfers during Positioning the Ball is not illegal practice except during a time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. .

      3. Ready Protocol
      4. The ready protocol consists of two steps:

        • The player with possessionPossession: Either active possession or paused possession. A player and team has possession if one of their rods has possession. must ask the opposing playerOpposing player: The player on the other side of the table directly opposite the offensive player. if they are “Ready?”
        • The opposing playerOpposing player: The player on the other side of the table directly opposite the offensive player. must respond with “Ready!”

        In doubles, the opposing player may check with their partner before responding “Ready!”. The ready protocol ends when the player with possession initiates the first transfer.

      5. Double Transfer
      6. After the “Ready!” response, the player with the ball must perform two transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod.s before the ball can be freely played.

        active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. begins at the moment the player initiates the first transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod.. The possession clockPossession clock: A timekeeping device that measures the duration of active possession on each rod. starts upon completion of the first transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod..

        On the 5-rod, the wall contact countWall contact count: The number of effective 5-rod wall contacts made during one active possession. remains at zero until completion of the first transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod..

        Rule: False Start
        The ball must not be moveMove: A contact that causes a stationary ball to move, or a moving ball to change speed or direction.d before the "Ready!" response is given.
        Penalty (first in match): Warning
        Penalty (subsequent in match): 5-rod restart

        Rule: Wrong Figure
        A player must not initiate the double transferDouble transfer: Two consecutive transfers, performed when putting the ball into play. from the wrong playing figure. Any such infraction expires when the point is scored.
        Penalty (first in match): No penalty; the same team restart
        Penalty (subsequent in match): 5-rod restart

        Incomplete Double Transfer
        A player must execute two transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod.s before active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition. can continue.
        Penalty: Continue or Restart
        Interpretation:

        1. Either team can call a time-out while positioning the ball and during the ready protocol
        2. Each transfer must cause the ball to clearly move; touching a stationary ball with two playing figures is not a transfer
        3. When putting the ball into play near the wallWall: An internal vertical surface that bounds one side of the playing area, or if present the side strip that runs along each side of the playing area. after a time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. , the wall contact countWall contact count: The number of effective 5-rod wall contacts made during one active possession. doesn’t increase until completion of the first transferTransfer: A move directly followed by a contact on another figure on the same rod., so multiple wall contactWall contact: A move that causes the ball to make contact with the wall.s can be used to freed ballFreed ball: A reachable ball that is no longer trapped. the ball

    4. POSSESSION
    5. Possession is about which rod, and by extension which player and team, has ownership of the ball at any point in time.

      active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. on a rod begins when the ball is reachableReachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod. by that rod during active playActive play: Periods of live play when the ball is under active possession or in transition., and ends when the ball is no longer reachable. Active possession is under time controlTime control: The parts of a match which have a time constraint, i.e. active possessions and pauses.; the duration of the possession is measured by a possession clockPossession clock: A timekeeping device that measures the duration of active possession on each rod. and limited by the rules.

      paused possessionPaused possession: During a pause or interrupt, the rod of paused possession is the rod from which the ball is reachable. is when a player has possession of the ball on a rod during a pausePause: A time controlled period when active play is temporarily suspended. or interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control. (e.g. a time-outTime-out: A pause during or between games when players may converse and leave the table. or an infraction interruptInfraction interrupt: A brief interrupt to active play in order to declare and process an infraction.).

      In a refereed match active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. time limits are enforced by the referee; players cannot declare possession time infractions. In an unrefereed match, a player who believes that a possession time limit is being broached may interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control. play by calling “Stop!” in order to request a referee. The player with possession will then restart play with the match under referee control. A player who interruptInterrupt: A period when play is temporarily suspended, not under time control.s the opposing teamOpposing team: The team on the other side of the table directly opposite the offensive team. at the moment that they playPlay: A move, a transfer or a transition. the ball has committed a distractionDistraction: Any player action performed during active play that is identified in these rules as illegal, or deemed illegal by a referee. violation.

      If a spinning ball becomes unreachableUnreachable: A ball that is not currently reachable by any rod. anywhere behind the 2-rod, the possession clockPossession clock: A timekeeping device that measures the duration of active possession on each rod. is suspended until the ball stops spinning or becomes reachableReachable: A ball is reachable from a rod if a figure on that rod can contact it without flexing the rod. or dead ballDead ball: A stationary ball that is not reachable by any rod..

      Rule: Time Limit on 3-rod: A player must not keep active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. on the 3-rod for longer than 15s.
      Penalty: Goalie rod restartRestart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt..

      Rule: Time Limit on 5-rod: A player must not keep active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. on the 5-rod for longer than 10s.
      Penalty: 5-rod restartRestart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt..

      Rule: Time Limit on Goalie Rods: A player must not keep active possessionActive possession: A period of active play, whose duration is timed by the possession clock, during which the ball is reachable. on the goalie rodGoalie rod: Either the goalkeeper rod or the adjacent 2-rod.s for longer than 15s.
      Penalty: 5-rod restartRestart: Putting the ball into play after a pause or an interrupt..

    6. DEAD BALL
    7. A ball is dead if it is stationary and not reachable. A ball is declared dead by the referee, or in the absence of a referee, by agreement of the teams.

      A dead ball is put back into play according to its current location:

      Location of Dead ballWhere to restart
      Between the 5-rodsServe
      Behind the 5-rodRestart on nearest goalie rod

      Rule: Playing the Ball Dead:
      A player must not intentionally play the ball dead.
      Penalty: 5-rod restart.

      Rule: Flex Infraction:
      A player must not flex a rod in order to contact an otherwise unreachable ball.
      Penalty: 5-rod restart.

      Interpretation

      1. A ball trapped in a serving hole, or balanced on top of the goalkeeper rod is a dead ball
      2. Addressing the ball from below the midline is considered to be an attempt to play the ball dead

    8. BALL OFF TABLE
    9. The ball is declared off table by the referee, or in the absence of a referee, by agreement of the teams. The team responsible for the controlled transition which played the ball off table is identified, and the ball is put back into play at the goalie rod of the other team.

      The ball is off table if it leaves the playing area and:

      • strikes any object outside the table (e.g. the floor, ceiling or wall of the room)
      • strikes a score marker, light fixture or any structure on or attached to the cabinet
      • rolls or comes to rest on the top of the cabinet

      The ball is not off table and remains in active play, if it:

      • leaves and then returns to the playing area without striking any object
      • leaves the playing area, strikes the cabinet, and then returns to the playing area
      • enters a serving hole and then returns to the playfield

      Rule: Illegal Aerial
      A player must not perform a controlled transition that causes the ball to directly overfly an opponent’s rod.
      Penalty: 5-rod restart.

      Interpretation

      1. A defensive block or a immediate defensive reaction is not a controlled transition

    10. PLAYER QUERY
    11. During active play a player in possession of a stopped ball may briefly pause play in order to ask a question. After the query is resolved the player with possession will restart.

      Reasonable player queries include:

      • Confirming the event format or the score
      • Asking to clean the ball

    12. POINT SCORED
    13. A goal is scored when the ball completely crosses the goal line, in which case play is paused. If there is no unprocessed infraction (i.e. the goal was legally scored), then a point is awarded to and marked by the team attacking that goal. The conceding team now has serve unless the goal ended the match

      If both teams agree that a point was not taken for a goal scored earlier in the same game, then the point shall be given. If the teams do not agree, then no point shall be given.

      Rule: Illegal mark
      A player must not mark up a point for a goal that was not legally scored.
      Penalty (first in match): Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot.
      Penalty (subsequent in match): Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot. Head official discretion; possible forfeiture of game or match.

      Interpretation

      1. If the ball completely crosses the goal and then leaves the goal, it’s still a goal.
      2. If a goal is scored from an illegal spin there is an unprocessed infraction, so the goal doesn’t count and the non-offending team gets a 5-rod restart.
      3. Inadvertent errors in score marking are not subject to penalty.
      4. An own-goal scored by a spin effectively counts, because the opposing team has the option to continue play from the current position, i.e. the goal.

    14. SWITCH POSITIONS
    15. In Standard Doubles, the players in each team may switch their chosen playing positions only during the following pauses:

      • Point Scored
      • Between Games
      • During a time-out
      • Before or after a Penalty Shot

      A team is considered to have switched positions when both players are in their respective positions and are facing the table.

      Rule: Illegal switch
      A team must not switch playing positions except after a point is scored, between games, during a time-out, or before or after a Penalty Shot.
      Penalty: Distraction

      Rule: Disallowed switch
      A team that switches positions cannot do so again during the same pause except in response to a switch by the team with paused possession.
      Penalty: Second switch disallowed

    16. SPINNING
    17. It’s legal to shoot the ball by rotating the rod if the rotation doesn’t exceed 360° either before or after making contact with the ball.

      Rule: Illegal spin
      A player must not perform a transition resulting from a contact spin.
      Penalty: Continue or Restart.

      Interpretation

      1. A spin which does not result in a transition is not an illegal spin, but may be a distraction.
      2. It is not an infraction if a transition occurs from a released rod that is spinning.
      3. An own-goal scored by a spin effectively counts, because the Continue or Restart penalty allows the non-offending team to continue from the current location.

    18. PASSING
    19. A pass is considered to have occurred if the catching rod retains active possession of the ball or performs an immediate controlled transition

      There are some restrictions when passing the ball forward from the 5-rod and the 2-rod. Put simply, a ball must be moving in order to be legally passed. To appreciate the finer details it’s necessary to understand the definition of a restricted ball.

      In the context of passing, a ball that is trapped, stopped, pinned or adjusted is considered to be a restricted ball. When passing from the 5-rod to the 3-rod, a restricted ball cannot be passed either directly or indirectly. When passing from the 2-rod to the 5-rod, a restricted ball cannot be passed directly, but it can be passed indirectly.

      There are no restrictions on passes between other rods, or on backward passes between rods.

      Passing rod Catching rod Pass is Illegal if the ball is... ...and the pass is...
      5-rod 3-rod Trapped, stopped, pinned, adjusted Direct or indirect
      Goalie rod 5-rod Trapped, stopped, pinned, adjusted Direct

      Rule: Restricted pass
      A player must not direct pass or indirect pass a restricted ball from the 5-rod to the 3-rod. A player must not direct pass a restricted ball from a goalie rod to the 5-rod.
      Penalty: Continue or Restart.

      Interpretation

      1. A restricted ball must be transferred in order to render it legally passable.
      2. It is legal to pass a stationary ball - because if the pass is immediate the ball is not stopped.
      3. A stopped 5-3 pass is illegal even if it deflects off the opposing 5-rod (indirect).
      4. A rocking ball is a stopped ball.
      5. A stub pass is legal.
      6. A ball which is momentarily pinned and then un-pinned is considered to be a stopped ball.
      7. Even if the catching rod performs an immediate controlled transition, it's still a pass.

    20. WALL CONTACT
    21. There are restrictions that govern contact between the ball and the wall, and also between the rods and the wall

      If the ball becomes trapped on or near the wall, it must be freed by contact with a figure; it is illegal to attempt to influence the ball by any other means, e.g. by hitting a rod into the wall.

      On the 5-rod, the wall contact count cannot exceed two during a single active possession. However, if the ball becomes trapped on or near the wall, the Three Walls rule is suspended while the ball is being freed.

      A ball that is trapped on the 5-rod directly following a transition doesn't increase the wall contact count.

      Rule: Trapped Ball Shock
      A player must not hit any rod against the wall when the ball is trapped.
      Penalty (first in match): Warning
      Penalty (subsequent in match): 5-rod restart.

      Rule: Three Walls
      The wall contact count must not exceed two during a single active possession on the 5-rod.
      Penalty: 5-rod restart.

      Rule: Trapped Transition
      If the ball becomes trapped on or near the wall, the Three Walls rule is suspended while the ball is being freed; any number of wall contacts is allowed to free the ball, and will count as a single wall contact count. If the wall contact count would have exceeded two in the absence of the suspension then the player must not transition the ball without first performing a transfer.
      Penalty: Continue or Restart

      Interpretation

      1. Wall contacts on either side of the table are counted together during the active possession.
      2. A time-out resets the wall contact count.

    22. INFRACTION INTERRUPT
    23. An infraction interrupt is a short interrupt during which an infraction is declared and the appropriate penalty determined.

      In a refereed match, only the referee can make an infraction interrupt, which begins when the referee calls “Stop” during active play. In an unrefereed match, any player can call “Stop” to claim an infraction, or to request a referee.

      Infractions should be declared as soon as possible. Under certain circumstances a referee might delay an infraction interrupt until the outcome of a transition is clear, in order to determine the correct penalty. In an unrefereed match, the non-offending team’s right to claim an infraction expires when they perform a controlled transition subsequent to the possible infraction.

      When an infraction is declared, active play is suspended and the ball must be stopped and held by whichever player next gains control. This is the current location for infraction processing.

      An infraction is processed according to the following steps:

      • The infraction is declared and play is suspended
      • The ball is held as soon as possible
      • The current location of the ball is noted
      • The infraction location is noted
      • The appropriate penalty for the infraction is determined

      Until these steps have been completed the infraction is considered to be unprocessed. When the infraction has been processed, play is restarted in accordance with the penalty awarded by the rules.

      Interpretation:

      1. A pass which is immediately followed by a transition can still be declared illegal if the infraction call is made immediately after the transition

    24. TIME-OUT
    25. A time-out is a pause during which the players may leave the table and converse with each other and with other people.

      A player may call a time-out when their team has active possession or during a pause.

      If the team with active possession calls a time-out while the ball is moving, active possession continues until the ball stops, at which point the time-out begins.

      Each team has two time-outs per game. The number of available time-outs decreases when a team legally calls a time-out and when the referee charges a team with a time-out.

      A time-out between games counts towards the total in the following game.

      During a time-out any player may reach into the playing area in order to lubricate their rods or wipe the playfield. The ball may be handled only with permission, after which it must be replaced in the same position.

      The time-out ends when the 30s period has expired, or earlier by agreement of both teams, and the player with possession initiates the Ready Protocol.

      If a referee is present they will instruct the teams when play must restart; any delay is subject to Delay of Game infraction.

      In doubles, players in either team may switch positions when returning to the table. See Switching Positions.

      When the time-out ends, play is restarted by the player with possession.

      Rule: Time-out Limit
      A team must not call a time-out when they have none remaining in the game.
      Penalty (first in game): During active play: 5-rod restart. During a pause: Warning.
      Penalty (subsequent in game): Penalty Shot

      Rule: Illegal Time-out
      A player must not call a time-out when the other team has active possession.
      Penalty: If the offending team does not have possession: Distraction.
      Penalty: If the offending team has possession: 5-rod Restart.

      Rule: Untimely Time-out
      A team must not perform a transfer or a transition immediately after calling a time-out.
      Penalty: Distraction

      Rule: Double Time-out
      After putting the ball into play following a time-out, a player must not call another time-out before a transition has been performed.
      Penalty: Goalie rod restart.

      Rule: Implicit Time-out
      A player with active possession must not release both handles for more than three seconds, or turn completely away from the table.
      Penalty: Time-out Charged.

      Interpretation

      1. Untimely Time-out covers a situation in doubles when one player performs a transition at the same time as, or immediately after their partner calls a time-out
      2. Because the possession clock still runs if the ball moves after calling time-out, it is possible for a player to exceed the possession time limit after calling a time-out. Similarly, if the ball drops into the goal before coming to rest, the goal counts
      3. A player in possession of a stopped ball may release both handles for up to three seconds, e.g. to wipe sweat away

    26. TIME-OUT CHARGED
    27. A referee can charge a team with a time-out as a penalty for infringing certain rules, including but not limited to the following:

      • Implicit Time-out
      • Delay of Game
      • Unreasonable Ball Replacement Request
      • Second Referee Request
      • Unreasonable Appeal
      • Medical Break Request Declined

      A team that is charged with a time-out loses one of their remaining time-outs in the game, but is permitted to take the full period of the time-out.

      Rule: Time-out Charged With None Remaining
      A team that is charged with a time-out in a game where they have none remaining has infringed the Time-out Charged With None Remaining rule.
      Penalty: Penalty Shot

    28. IMPAIRING PLAY

      Distraction, reset and jar are actions which impair the other team’s ability to play, and are illegal. They can be classified according to the type of impairment, as follows:

      Common name Impairment of Description
      Distraction Attention Pulling the other team’s attention away
      Reset Control Disturbing a player’s ability to control or play the ball
      Jarring Possession Preventing a player from keeping or gaining possession

      1. Distraction

        A player must not pull the attention of the opposing team away from the game during active play. Impairing attention is a distraction violation.

        There is a penalty for the first distraction of the match, and typically a more severe penalty for a subsequent distraction by the same team in the same match. Distractions are not limited to those identified here; other actions may be grounds for a distraction call, at the discretion of the referee.

        Rule: Movement Away
        When a player has active possession on one rod, another rod on the same team must not hit the wall or be moved excessively.
        Penalty: Distraction

        Rule: Reaching Away
        A player must not release both handles and reach down or away from the table.
        Penalty: Distraction

        Rule: Sudden Play
        In Standard Doubles, a player must not perform a transition within one second of grasping or releasing the handle of any rod. In Standard Singles once the ball is under control on the 3-rod a player must not perform a transition within one second of grasping or releasing the handle of any rod.
        Penalty: Distraction

        Rule: Illegal Rod Control
        Players must not control their rods using any part of their body other than those parts of their upper limbs from the elbow down to the fingers.
        Penalty: Distraction

        At the discretion of the referee, the following may also be judged as distractions if they occur during active play:

        • Making sounds, e.g. talking or shouting
        • Allowing an electronic device on the player’s person to make sound
        • Excessive movement of a rod that is not part of an offensive or defensive play
        • Any bodily movement or gesture that is not part of an offensive or defensive play, e.g. tapping the cabinet in apology or approval
        • Making contact with an opposing team’s rod

        Interpretation

        1. Moving the catching rod when passing is not a distraction unless that movement is excessive
        2. Sliding down the handle from the hand to the wrist does not constitute release of the handle
        3. A brief whisper by a player with active possession of a stopped ball is allowed

      2. Reset
      3. Impairing a player’s ability to control the ball is illegal. A reset infraction is any shake, bump or shock by a defensive player that impairs the offensive player’s ability to control or play the ball.

        Upon the first infraction in a game the referee announces "Reset", indicating that the defensive team has committed a reset infraction This means that the non-offending team’s possession clock and 5-rod wall contact count are reset. Active play does not stop when the referee makes a reset call.

        After their first “Reset” call in a game, the next infraction by the same team will be a “Reset Warning” call, and any subsequent infraction by the same team during the same point will result in a Penalty Shot. After a Penalty Shot the next infraction by the same team is a “Reset Warning” again.

        For each team, the sequence of reset infractions is as follows:

        Reset infraction sequence Referee call Active Play
        First in game “Reset” Continues
        Subsequent in game “Reset Warning” Continues
        Subsequent in game and second in point “Reset Violation” Stops - Penalty Shot

        In the event of reset on the 5-rod, the referee has the discretion to award a 5-rod restart

        A reset occurs when a stopped ball is made to move, although a referee can judge it to have occurred even if the ball is pinned or moving.

        Rule: Reset
        A player on the defensive team must not cause a shake, bump or shock that impairs the offensive player’s ability to control or to play the ball.
        Penalty (first in game): Reset Call.
        Penalty (subsequent in game): Reset Warning.
        Penalty (subsequent in game and second in point): Penalty Shot

        Rule: 5-Rod Reset
        A defensive player must not cause a Reset which prevents the offensive player from successfully completing a pass from the 5-rod to the 3-rod.
        Penalty: Reset call and 5-rod restart

        Rule: Self Reset
        A player on the offensive team must not cause a shake, bump or shock that causes the ball to move.
        Penalty: 5-rod restart.

        Interpretation

        1. Active play continues after a "Reset" call, so the defensive team should remain alert
        2. A shake, bump or shock which causes a stopped ball to rock (not move) is not a reset

      4. Jarring
      5. Impairing a player’s ability to possess the ball is illegal. A jar is any shake, shock, slam, shift or clash by a defensive team that impairs the offensive team’s ability to retain or gain possession of the ball.

        The first and second infractions in a match by the same team are subject to a Continue or Restart penalty, and subsequent infractions by a Penalty Shot.

        Jarring infractions can also be called at the discretion of the referee.

        Rule: Jar
        The defensive team must not cause a shake, shock, slam, shift or clash that impairs the offensive team’s ability to retain or gain possession of the ball.
        Penalty (first): Continue or Restart.
        Penalty (second): Continue or Restart.
        Penalty (subsequent): Penalty Shot

        Interpretation

        1. A simultaneous slam and transition from the same rod may be grounds for a jarring infraction if the opposing team clearly fail to gain possession
        2. Any slamming of the rod while the ball is in play may be judged a jar
        3. A shake, bump or shock by an opposing player behind the rod of possession is treated as a jar rather than a reset (i.e. when one forward impairs the possession of the other forward)

    29. REFEREE REQUEST
    30. In an unrefereed match a player may request a referee during a pause or when the ball is stopped. A referee can be requested in order to:

      • Provide a rule interpretation
      • Resolve a controversy
      • Continue the match with a referee

      If a question of rule interpretation arises during an unrefereed match, then the game may be interrupted in order to ask a referee to provide an interpretation.

      If a controversy arises in an unrefereed match, a referee may be requested to make a ruling. The referee’s ruling can be based on information obtained from the players, from spectators, from other referees and from any available video recordings.

      If two referees are present, then a player may request a replacement referee when the ball is stopped. The outcome of the request will be decided by the Head Official

      Rule: Moving Ball Referee Request
      In an unrefereed match, a player must not request a referee if the ball is not stopped.
      Penalty: Distraction

      Rule: Second Referee Request
      In a refereed match, a player who requests a second referee will be charged with a time-out, unless the request was made during a time-out which they called.
      Penalty: Time-out Charged

      Rule: Active Play Additional Referee Request
      In a refereed match, a player must not request a second or replacement referee during active play.
      Penalty: Penalty Shot

      Rule: Replacement Referee Request Declined
      In a match where two referees are present, if a request for a replacement referee is declined by the Head Official there shall be a penalty.
      Penalty: Penalty Shot

      Interpretation

      1. In an unrefereed match, a player who does not have possession may request a referee if the ball is stopped, e.g. if they think that a rod possession time-limit is being exceeded.
      2. It is considered a distraction if the defensive team requests a referee at the same time that the offensive player makes a play.
      3. A team requesting a second referee is always charged with a time-out, even if the request is made during a time-out.

    31. REFEREE
    32. Matchplay rules should be respected regardless of the presence of a referee. However, if a referee is officiating then infractions are not declared by the players, but only by the referee.

      The referee’s authority must be respected at all times during the match and begins when both teams are at the table. A referee’s instructions must be obeyed during a match. Referee judgements must not be challenged, and players are reminded that human error is part of the game.

      Although a referee’s judgement cannot be challenged, a rule interpretation can be appealed if the appeal is filed with the referee before the ball is put back into play following the controversy. An appeal involving the loss of a match must be filed before the winning team has begun its next match. Appeals will be heard by the Head Official and at least two members of the officiating staff, if available.

      Players must be familiar with the following referee instructions, which are given during pauses:

      Referee Call Why? Player action
      "Time” The maximum time allowed for
      the pause has expired
      Prepare to play
      “Play” Play must begin The player with possession must now restart

      Players must be familiar with the following interrupts which a referee can make during active play:

      Referee Call Why? Player action
      "Stop” Referee judgement will be given The ball must be stopped and held
      “Reset” Reset infraction Active play continues
      “Warning” Reset infraction Active play continues

      Rule: Unreasonable Appeal
      A player must not challenge a referee’s judgment, or make insubstantial or unreasonable appeals
      Penalty: Time-out Charged. Referee discretion; possible Delay of Game

      Rule: Arguing
      A player must not argue with an officiating referee.
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Delay of Game and/or Conduct Violation

      Rule: Active Play Additional Referee Request
      In a refereed match, a player must not request a second or replacement referee during active play.
      Penalty: Penalty Shot

    33. MEDICAL BREAK REQUEST
    34. A player may request a medical break when the ball is stopped or during a pause.

      The outcome of the request will be determined by the referee, who may also involve the Tournament Director. In an unrefereed match the request must go directly to the Tournament Director.

      If the request is approved, the maximum duration of the Medical Break will be specified; it cannot exceed 60 minutes.

      Rule: Medical Break Request Declined
      There is a penalty if the request for a medical break is declined.
      Penalty: Time-out Charged. Referee discretion; possible Delay of Game.

      Rule: Medical Break Expiry
      A player must be ready to play after the Medical Break period has expired.
      Penalty: Forfeit Match

    35. TABLE MAINTENANCE REQUEST
    36. A table maintenance request may be made by any player if there has been a sudden alteration to the table or to the table lighting, or if a foreign object is discovered in the playing area. After the request has been processed play shall restart on the rod of last possession.

      Interpretation

      1. Sudden alterations include a broken playing figure, pin, screw, spring, or bumper, a bent rod, a failure of table lighting, or a foreign object entering the playing area.

    37. OFFICIAL INTERRUPT
    38. It may be necessary to suspend play during an announcement or other interruption by tournament or venue officials. In this case the player with possession should hold the ball. When the interruption is over, the player with possession will put the ball back into play with a restart.

    39. BETWEEN GAMES
    40. The team that wins a game must mark the game on the game score marker if the table has one.

      The teams have up to 90s to start the next game, a period which may be terminated early by agreement of the teams. Exceeding the time limit is grounds for a Delay of Game infraction.

      During the pause between games the teams are allowed to:

      • Change table sides
      • Change playing positions
      • Change handles (where permitted by the Tournament Director)
      • Call a time-out

      A time-out taken between games counts towards the total in the following game.

      After completion of the first game, either team may request a change of table sides. The other team cannot refuse this request, but if the teams do change sides then they must subsequently change sides after every game in the match. If they do not change sides after the first game then the teams must stick to the same sides for the entire match.

      Under certain circumstances the Tournament Director may generally disallow changing table sides.

    41. TIME CONTROL
    42. Active possession and pauses are subject to time control. The following table summarises the time limits and what happens when they expire:

      Time controlled event Time Limit When Time Limit Expires
      Active possession - goalie rods 15s Penalty: 5-rod restart
      Active possession - 5-rod 10s Penalty: 5-rod restart
      Active possession - 3-rod 15s Penalty: Goalie rod restart
      Pause - Medical Break 60min (max) Referee says “Play!”
      Pause - Between Games 90s Referee says “Play!”
      Pause - Time-out 60s Referee says “Play!”
      Referee says “Play!” after a pause 3s Warning: Delay of Game
      Pause - Retrieving and positioning the ball after a goal or dead ball 5s Warning: Delay of Game
      Pause - Putting the ball into play
      • asking "Ready?"
      • responding "Ready!"
      • starting the double transfer
      3s Warning: Delay of Game
      Delay of Game warning 10s Delay of Game infraction.
      Penalty: Time-out Charged.

      Exceeding the active possession time limit on a rod results in a restart penalty.

      The referee will instruct the teams when to restart play after a pause (Medical Break, Between Games or Time-Out). If the player with possession does not restart within 3s they may be given a warning for Delay of Game. If the player receiving a Delay of Game warning does not restart within 10s they have committed a Delay of Game infraction, the penalty for which is being charged with a time-out.

      Delay of Game warnings and infractions are declared at the discretion of the referee, and can be issued for cases other than those explicitly identified above.

      Rule: Delay of Game
      After receiving a warning for Delay of Game, a player must not take more than 10s to restart play.
      Penalty: Time-out Charged

    43. PLAYER CONDUCT
    44. Players must behave ethically and respectfully during a match. The referee has the discretion to determine the penalty or the escalation process in the case of a Conduct Violation.

      Rule: Cheating
      A player must not cheat or attempt to cheat.
      Penalty: Conduct Violation

      Rule: Arguing
      A player must not argue with an officiating referee.
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Delay of Game and/or Conduct Violation

      Rule: Cursing
      A player must not curse
      Penalty (first in match): Penalty Shot
      Penalty (subsequent in match): Referee discretion; possible Conduct Violation.

      Rule: Derogatory comments
      A player must not make derogatory or inappropriate comments about other players or officials, either directly or indirectly
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot

      Rule: Illegal coaching
      A player must not receive assistance from a spectator at any point in a match, except during time-outs or between games.
      Penalty: Conduct Violation

      Rule: Device usage
      A player must not use headphones, earbuds, a mobile phone or any other electronic device during a game, apart from during time-outs or between games.
      Penalty (first in match): Warning
      Penalty (subsequent in match): Penalty Shot

      Rule: Aggressive Behaviour
      A player must not cause a shake, shock, slam, shift or clash when the ball is not in active play.
      Penalty: Conduct Violation

      Rule: Format deviation
      Teams must not play a different format than the one specified for the event..
      Penalty: Conduct Violation

    45. SPECTATOR CONDUCT
    46. Spectators are subject to Conduct Violations at referee discretion. Spectators must not coach or distract players during active play.

      Rule: Spectator coaching
      A spectator must not influence or attempt to influence a match by transmitting information to a player, except during time-outs or between games.
      Penalty: Conduct Violation

      Rule: Spectator distraction
      A spectator must not influence a match by distracting the players or the referee.
      Penalty: Conduct Violation; possible expulsion

    47. PERMISSION
    48. Certain player actions require permission before they can be taken. The request to take a specified action must be made to and then granted by the referee, or in an unrefereed match, by the appropriate player in the opposing team.

      Examples of player actions that require permission include; reaching into the playing area in order to pick up the ball, clean the playfield, or tighten a handle.

    49. REACHING INTO THE PLAYING AREA
    50. During active play, it is legal to reach into the playing area with permission.

      During a pause or interrupt, it is legal to reach into the playing area and touch the ball with permission.

      During a pause or interrupt, it is legal to reach into the playing area without permission if the ball is not touched.

      All other cases are illegal, according to the following rules:

      Rule: Reaching-in During Play
      During active play a player must not reach into the playing area without permission.
      If the action prevents the non-offending team from scoring a goal: Penalty: Point award.
      If the ball is moving or the non-offending team has active possession: Penalty: Penalty Shot.
      All other cases: Penalty: 5-rod Restart.

      Rule: Ball Handling During Pause
      During a pause or interrupt, a player must not reach into the playing area and touch the ball without permission.
      If the ball is reachable behind the offending team’s goalkeeper: Penalty: Point award.
      If the non-offending team has paused possession: Penalty: Penalty Shot
      All other cases: Penalty: 5-rod Restart.

      Rule: Airborne Catch
      A player must not catch a ball that is airborne over the table.
      Penalty: Penalty Shot. If the Penalty Shot is not scored: 5-rod restart.

      Interpretation:

      1. It is always illegal to reach in and pick up the ball without permission
      2. During a pause, a player can remove dirt or wipe marks from the playfield without permission
      3. During active play, a player must ask permission to reach into the playing area in order to tighten a handle
      4. It is legal to catch a flying ball that has left the playing area and is not directly over the cabinet
      5. The referee may decline a request to touch the ball, for example if it is close to the goalmouth or of doubtful reachability

    51. CHANGES TO THE TABLE

      Changing Handles, Wiping the Table and Lubricating the Rods are routine maintenance activities which are allowed during pauses and are subject to delay of game infraction.

      Problems with the table are resolved by Table Maintenance. Other changes, classified as Table Modification, are illegal.

      1. Changing Handles
      2. Where permitted by the the Tournament Director, players are allowed to replace the table handles with other approved handles.

        Players may change their handles before each game, during time-outs, and between points, provided that they do so within the time limits.

      3. Wiping the Playfield
      4. During any pause a player is allowed to briefly remove dirt or wipe marks from the playfield or the ball, without permission, provided that no substance is used to do so.

        Rule: Illegal cleaning
        A player must not use any substance, including saliva or sweat, to wipe marks off the playfield or the ball.
        Penalty (first in match): Warning
        Penalty (subsequent in match): Penalty Shot

      5. Lubricating the Rods
      6. Players may lubricate their own team’s rods during time-outs and between points.

        Pipette or sponge applicators must be used when applying lubricant directly to the rods. Lubricant must not be sprayed directly onto the rods, but can be applied indirectly.

        Table manufacturers and event promoters may require the use of specific lubricant products, and may mandate specific requirements and restrictions for their use.

        Rule: Illegal lubrication
        A player may only use lubricant products in accordance with the rules.
        Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot

        Interpretation:

        1. Table manufacturers may require that internal telescopic rods should not be lubricated by the players.

      7. Table Maintenance
      8. If a foreign object enters the playing area, or if any part of the table suffers a failure or other problem which renders it unfit for play, then there shall be an interrupt to perform table maintenance.

        With permission, a player may reach into the playing area in order to tighten a loose handle.

        If the table requires cleaning, approved products may be used in accordance with table manufacturer and event promoter specifications and restrictions.

        If the problem cannot be resolved by the players, a table maintenance request should be made to the tournament desk.

        The table should be levelled before the match begins. Once the match has started a player may during a pause request that the table be levelled. If both teams agree to level the table then this can be done either by the players or by a table maintenance request made at the tournament desk.

        After the problem has been resolved play shall restart on the rod of last possession.

        Rule: Levelling Request
        Once the match has begun, if the teams disagree about whether to level the table, then the requesting team shall call table maintenance and will be charged with a time-out.
        Penalty: Time-out charged

        Interpretation:

        1. Table failures include a broken playing figure, pin, screw, spring, or bumper, a bent rod, or a failure of table lighting.

      9. Table Modification
      10. A player must not modify the playing characteristics of the table or the balls.

        A player must not allow any substance to contaminate the playfield or the ball.

        A player can use a substance to improve handle grip but must ensure that it does not get into the playing area, or onto the rods or the ball. If this occurs the substance must be removed before play continues, and if the ball is affected it must be replaced. The substance must be completely removed from the handles before changing sides between games.

        Rule: Table Modification
        A player must not make any modification to the playing characteristics of the table or the ball.
        Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot or Exclusion

        Rule: Contamination
        A player must not allow the playfield or the ball to become contaminated by any substance.
        Penalty (first in match): Delay of game
        Penalty (subsequent in match): Penalty Shot

        Rule: Substance on Handle
        When changing table sides between games, a player must not leave any substance on the handles.
        Penalty (first in match): Warning. Player is required to remove the substance within the time limits.
        Penalty (subsequent in match): Prohibition from using the substance

        Rule: Rod Limiting
        A player must not use any device or object that limits the movement of a rod.
        Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot

        Interpretation:

        1. Examples of table modification include; filing a playing figure, sandpapering the playfield, and directly applying a foreign substance to the playfield, the playing figure or the ball
        2. Examples of contaminants include; lubricant and substances used to improve handle grip

    52. BALL SUPPLY
    53. Before the match starts, the players must agree on the set of balls that will be used during the match. If there is disagreement then new balls must be used. This set of balls constitutes the ball supply.

      Once the ball has been served, any request to replace it should be made during a pause; it can then be replaced with permission.

      If a request to replace the ball is made during active play, the ball will be replaced if the referee deems it to be unplayable.

      Rule: Ball replacement
      After the ball has been served, a player must not replace it without permission.
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot.

      Rule: Unreasonable ball request
      During active play, if a player makes a request to replace the ball then the referee shall determine if the ball is unplayable, in which case it will be replaced. If the ball is deemed playable then the requesting team is charged with a time-out.
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Time-out Charged.

      Rule: Ball adding
      Once the match has begun a player must not introduce a new ball into the ball supply without permission.
      Penalty: Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot.

    54. PRACTICE
    55. Playing the ball during a pause or interrupt is considered to be practice. Once a match has started practice is only permitted between games.

      Rule: Illegal practice
      A player must not perform a transfer or a transition during a pause or interrupt, other than between games and when putting the ball into play.
      Penalty (first in match): If the offending player has possession: 5-bar restart
      Penalty (first in match): If the offending player does not have possession: Warning
      Penalty (subsequent in match): Penalty Shot

      Interpretation:

      1. An inadvertent transition is not an offence; a referee will use discretion.
      2. Introducing a second ball into the playing area is illegal practice.
      3. Moving the rods without contact with the ball is not illegal practice.
      4. Performing transfers in order to position the ball while putting the ball into play is not illegal practice.

  6. PENALTIES

    This section identifies the penalties for rule infractions.

    Penalty: Warning
    A warning indicates that a subsequent infraction will carry a further penalty.

    Penalty: 5-rod restart
    The ball is awarded to the non-offending team to put back into play with a restart on the 5-rod.

    Penalty: Goalie rod restart
    The ball is awarded to the non-offending team to put back into play with a restart on either goalie rod.

    Penalty: Point award
    The non-offending team is awarded a point. The offending team then has serve.

    Penalty: Continue or Restart
    The non-offending team has the choice of one of these options:

    • Continue from the current location of the ball (including the goal)
    • Restart from the infraction location
    • Restart from the 5-rod

    Penalty: Distraction (first):

    • If deemed benign by the referee: Warning
    • If a goal was scored by the offending team: Goal disallowed and 5-rod restart
    • All other cases: Continue or Restart

    Penalty: Distraction (subsequent in match)
    Referee discretion; possible Penalty Shot

    Penalty: Reset Call
    The referee announces "Reset!" and the possession clock and wall contact count are reset. The next reset infraction will result in a Reset Warning penalty.

    Penalty: Forfeit game
    The team forfeit the game.

    Penalty: Forfeit match
    The team forfeit the match.

    Penalty: Conduct violation
    At the discretion of the referee, Head Official and in accordance with the severity of the infraction, any penalty from a warning to the forfeiture of a game or the match. Also, by escalation to the Tournament Director, expulsion from the tournament venue or a fine.

    Penalty: Penalty shot
    See Penalty Shot section for details.

    1. PENALTY SHOT
    2. A referee can award a Penalty Shot as a result of a rule infraction. This is a single 3-rod shot taken by one player from the non-offending team, and defended by one player from the offending team. After taking the Penalty Shot play restarts from the point where the infraction occurred, unless the Penalty Shot was scored, in which case the offending team has serve. All matchplay rules remain in force during the Penalty Shot.

      In a Standard Doubles match the players in each team may Switch Positions before the offending team’s forward and the non-offending team’s defender leave the table.

      The non-offending team’s player puts the ball into play with a 3-rod restart and takes the shot. During the penalty shot all Standard Matchplay Rules are in force.

      The Penalty Shot is considered complete when the attacking player executes a transition with one of the following outcomes:

      • the ball enters the defender’s goal
      • the ball enters and then leaves the defender’s goalie area
      • the ball stops moving

      After the Penalty Shot is complete, the referee may announce that further infractions by the offending team will result in forfeiture of the game or the match.

      When the Penalty Shot is complete play is restarted as follows:

      • In Doubles, the players return to the table and either team may Switch Positions
      • If the penalty was scored then the offending team now has serve
      • If the penalty was not scored then continue from the point of infraction in accordance with the rules

      Rule: Penalty Shot Limit
      A team must not be charged with three Penalty Shots in one game.
      Penalty: Forfeit game

  7. OLD RULES DOCUMENT
  8. This version of the SMR does not intend to change the rules of the game.

    You will find a link to the "Old Rules" document below: