When a moving jack or boule is stopped

updated 2021-05-20
If a player accidentally interferes with a moving jack (by stopping or deflecting it), and the jack’s original location was not marked, the jack is left where it came to rest. If the jack’s original location was marked, then the offended team (i.e. the opponents of the player who interfered with the jack) have a choice— they may leave the jack where it is, put it back in its original location, or put it where it would have gone if it hadn’t been interfered with. Article 15 describes the third option this way.

Place it [the jack] on the extension of a line going from its original location to the place where it is located, up to a maximum distance of 20 meters from the circle.

What is the “extension” of a line? If you draw a line from point A to point B and then keep extending the line indefinitely, the part of the line that extends out beyond B is the “extension” of the line from A to B. So Article 15 says that the offended team may start with the jack’s new location and move the jack farther away from its (marked) original location. They can move it as far as they like, as long as they don’t go farther than 20 meters from the circle.

The interesting thing about this rule is that under typical competition conditions (played on a marked terrain 15 meters long) moving the jack 20 meters from the circle will move it across a dead-ball line, killing it. In effect, under typical competition conditions, Article 15 gives the offended team the option of killing the jack. Whether or not that’s something that the offended team wants to do, will depend on the state of the game at that point.

Article 15 is for the jack. The corresponding rule for a boule is in Article 20.

Article 20 says that if a player accidentally interferes with a moving boule, then the opposing team (which may or may not be the owner of the boule) may leave the boule where it is, or (if its location was marked) place it on the extension of the line— but the boule can NOT be placed outside of the boundaries of the playable area. So the rule for an interfered-with boule is different from the rule for an interfered-with jack. You can kill the jack by placing it outside of the dead-ball line, but you can’t do that with a boule.

Before the 2020 rules revisions, these were interesting rules, but useless for all practical purposes. They could be applied only if the original location of the interfered-with ball was marked, and in real life that virtually never happened. So for all practical purposes the rule was— If a moving boule or jack is interfered with, leave it where it is and carry on with the game. In 2020, however, the FIPJP rules were changed to require that the jack must always be marked. So now if a moving jack is stopped by a player, the offended team probably really will have the option of killing the jack.