In his December 2015 email newsletter to FPUSA members, Ed Porto, President of the FPUSA, announced
New Supplement to the International Rules
FPUSA has developed and adopted a supplement containing official clarification for some of the rules that have proven ambiguous or have given rise to varied interpretations by players and umpires. They are nicely laid out and written in layman’s terms by National Umpires Joe Martin and Gary Jones.
The official title of the document is FPUSA Official Rules Interpretations for Umpires and is available for download as a PDF file from the FPUSA web site. (There may be a problem with the PDF file. We could print it using Adobe Reader v11, but Nuance PDF Reader choked and would print only the first page.)
The document consists of 32 questions and answers about specific situations that can occur in a game. The first one, for example, is the infamous problem of an unmarked jack moved by the first boule.
The document is very well written. The questions and answers are stated very clearly and precisely. Each answer is accompanied by an explanation of the reasoning behind the answer, including references to the pertinent article(s) in the Rules of Petanque. It is, in short, a model of how such a document should be written.
The development of this document by the FPUSA is a significant milestone in the evolution of the rules of petanque. This is the first document in the history of petanque to be devoted specifically to addressing the many kinds of issues that can arise when trying to apply and interpret the rules of petanque. It is the first step in the development of true case law for the rules of petanque. (The FFPJP’s Code d’arbitrage doesn’t come close to this amount of detail, nor does Jean-Claude Dubois’ ruling on picking up the circle too soon.)
One umpire’s opinion on a particular case, expressed in an online forum or a newsletter column, really has no more force than a personal opinion. This document is different. It has been officially adopted and published by a national petanque federation. It is publicly available at that national federation’s web site. It can’t be ignored or dismissed.
See also the comprehensive English-language source for The Rules of Petanque.