What is a “boule thrown contrary to the rules”?

[updated 2021-06-12]
The title of Article 24 is “Boules thrown contrary to the rules”.

Except for cases in which these rules provide specific and graduated penalties as outlined in article 35, any boule thrown contrary to the rules is dead and if marked, anything that it has displaced in its travel is put back in place. However, the opponent has the right to apply the advantage rule and declare it to be valid. In this case, the boule pointed or shot, is valid and anything it has displaced remains in its place.

Note that if a boule was thrown “contrary to the rules”, that doesn’t automatically mean that the boule is dead. It means that the offended team can choose what to do about the situation. The offended team has two options. (1) They can choose to un-do the event by picking up the offending boule and returning everything else to its original position (as much as possible). Or: (2) They can choose to leave everything where it is and carry on with the game.

When the FIPJP international umpires committee wrote this rule, what did they mean by a “boule thrown contrary to the rules”? The answer is— nobody knows. The only time that the FIPJP rules included an example of what was meant by a “boule thrown contrary to the rules” was between 2008 and 2010. The example was of a boule thrown from a circle other than the one from which the jack was thrown. We don’t know why the umpires inserted that example in the 2008 rules, or why they deleted it in 2010.

Perhaps if we examine the rules governing the throwing of boules, we can come up with a list of ways in which a boule might be thrown contrary to the rules. Perhaps something like this…

  1. Throwing two or more boules simultaneously.
  2. Throwing more boules than you’re allowed.
  3. Throwing while a toe or heel encroaches on the circle.
  4. Lifting a foot before the thrown boule hits the ground.
  5. Throwing while holding an “extra” boule (see Article 15).
  6. Throwing from the wrong circle, or from outside the correct circle.

Note that throwing a boule that belongs to a team-mate or an opposing player isn’t on this list. It has its own rule in Article 23.

It is a matter of debate whether a boule thrown out-of-turn should be considered “thrown contrary to the rules”. See our posts on boules thrown out of turn and dealing with a forgotten boule.

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