Who makes the rules?

The FIPJP international rules of petanque are made by the FIPJP International Umpires Commission. The FIPJP International Umpires Commission is a committee whose members are the FIPJP authorized international umpires (arbitres internationaux). The commission considers changes to the rules, and may propose a new version of the rules, every two years in even-numbered years — 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, etc.

The normal practice is for the Commission to work on modifications to the rules for 12 months or more, and then to forward the revised version of the rules to the FIPJP Executive Committee for consideration at its spring meeting in April. In theory, the FIPJP Executive Committee then forwards the revised version to the national federations for comments and feedback.

Finally, the revised version is formally introduced and approved at the World Congress, which is held at the same time and place as the the World Championships (usually in September, October, or November). The FIPJP releases the rules in two languages — French (the official language) and English, and they are posted on the FIPJP’s web site.

Once the FIPJP rules are released, each national federation adopts the new international rules as their own national rules. For some nations (Spain, for instance) adopting the rules means translating the French-language version of the rules into the national language.

Often a national federation will modify the FIPJP rules before adopting them. Modifications can vary from terminology changes (to make the wording more idiomatic for a particular nation) to actual changes in rules. For example, in 2006, the FIPJP approved the use of synthetic (that is, non-wood) jacks, but the FPUSA later modified its national version of the rules to forbid synthetic jacks.

The World Championships mark the culmination of one year’s season of play and the beginning of another. Once the FIPJP approves and releases a revised version of the rules, the revised version comes into effect immediately and applies to the next season. However, because the World Congress is held toward the end of the year, and it takes some time for national federations to evaluate, modify, and adopt a revised version of the rules, most national versions of the rules are dated with the year after the year when the FIPJP version was approved.

— Thanks to Mike Pegg and his Ask the Umpire Facebook page for much of this information.


When do rules changes go into effect?

Before 2016, new versions of the rules gave the date and location of the World Congress where the version was accepted, but did not specify when the new rules were to go into effect. The 2016 version of the rules explicitly specifies that the new version of the rules is to go into effect on the first day of the next year.

These regulations, adopted by the FIPJP Executive Committee on the 4th December 2016, are applicable from the 1st January 2017.


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2 thoughts on “Who makes the rules?

  1. M. Renoir wrote:
    RE: In theory, the FIPJP Executive Committee then forwards the revised version to the national federations for comments and feedback.

    As former secretary of the Dutch Rules Committee, I can confirm that this is, indeed, purely theoretical. In the 13 years I held the post, our Dutch federation has not once received a draft copy of the proposals. Only after the Executive Committee had approved of the final proposals to be submittted to the Congrès International did we get a copy.

    Which was, of course, always was too late to be able to still make a difference.

  2. In the Netherlands, the Dutch Federation’s statutes have clear rules about the validity of the new rules. It is stated that:

    1) any new rule becomes valid 20 days after publication in the official monthly news bulletin
    2) the Dutch Rules Committee is responsible for providing the Dutch translation of the International Rules of Petanque

    In practice, this means that, after the Congrès Internationale of the FIPJP has approved of the rules changes, the committee makes a new translation. This translation is subsequently published in the official bulletin, and 20 days afterwards, the rules become official for all games played under the auspices of the NJBB, the Dutch federation (this encompasses all games played in the Netherlands, with the exception of approved international tournaments played on Dutch soil, like CEP games).

    Typically, with the Congrès being held in October or so, the new rules are valid from about March in the following year, except for international tournaments, where they become valid immediately, as described above by the distinguished M. Renoir.

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