On March 30, 2011 Jean-Claude Dubois, then president of the CNA (the National Umpires Committee of the French Petanque Federation), wrote the following memo. Our archive of the memo is HERE.
WHEN A PLAYER, AFTER PLAYING HIS LAST BOULE, INADVERTENTLY PICKS UP THE THROWING CIRCLE BEFORE THE MENE IS COMPLETE.
[That is, when there is still one unplayed boule.]
This can happen in two different situations.
The circle was marked
- The circle is put back in its place, and the player (partner or opponent) who still has the unplayed boule plays it to finish the mene.
The circle was not marked
Here again, this can happen in two different situations.
- The unplayed boule belongs to one of the player’s partners. In this case, the unplayed boule is dead.
- The unplayed boule belongs to one of the opponents. In this case, the opponent should put the throwing circle back in its place, even if this can be done only approximately, and the opponent plays his ball to finish the mene.
In all cases, the offending player receives a warning.
The same rules apply if there are still several balls left to play.
Président de la CNA
In 2016, Article 6 of the FIPJP rules was revised to include some, but not all of the ideas in Dubois’ memo.
In all cases the circles should be marked before the throw of the jack. … If a player picks up the circle when there remain boules to be played, the circle is put back in place but only the opponents [i.e. the offended team] are allowed to play their boules.
Note that unlike Dubois’ memo, the FIPJP rules say that the offending team is forbidden to throw its remaining boules regardless of whether or not the circle was marked.
Note that if the circle was not marked, the umpire will almost certainly give a warning (yellow card) to the player who placed the circle but failed to mark it.
If the circle was not marked, who should put the throwing circle back in its place? The FIPJP rules don’t say. A good rule can be found in the rules interpretation guidelines of Petanque New Zealand.
If a pre-fabricated circle is moved accidentally by a player and the circle was unmarked, it is to be replaced by agreement between the two teams as close as possible to where it was originally. If no agreement can be reached, the umpire will place the circle in the most logical place.
Should the umpire give a warning (yellow card) to the player who prematurely picked up the circle? Dubois’ memo said YES. The FIPJP rules leave the matter up to the discretion of the umpire.