[This is an American English translation of the FIPJP rules, prepared by Stephen Ferg. The formatting is very simple HTML. This page is meant to provide an easily-accessible online copy of the rules for English-speaking players. Text in square brackets are translator’s comments. For more information and printable formats, see THIS.]
Applicable to all the territories of the national federations that are members of the FIPJP. Rules of play adopted by the Executive Committee on December 4, 2016, to go into effect January 1, 2017.
Pétanque is a sport that matches:
– 3 players against 3 players (triples).
It can also match:
– 2 players against 2 players (doubles).
– 1 player against 1 player (head-to-head).
In triples, each player uses 2 boules. In doubles and singles [head-to-head], each player uses 3 boules.
Any other format is prohibited.
Petanque is played with boules approved by the FIPJP and conforming to the following characteristics:
1) To be made of metal.
2) To have a diameter between 7.05cm (minimum) and 8 cm (maximum).
3) To weigh between 650 grams (minimum) and 800 grams (maximum).
– The label (makers-mark of the manufacturer) and the weight must be engraved on the boules and must always be legible.
– Additionally, the name and forename of the player (or his initials) may be engraved on them, as well as various logos and symbols, conforming to the [FIPJP] specifications governing the manufacture of boules.
– Young people 11 years old or younger, in competitions specifically for young people, may use boules of 600 grams and of 65mm in diameter, on condition that they were manufactured under one of the certified labels.
4) They must not be filled with lead or sand. As a general rule, they must not have been tampered with, nor have been subjected to transformation or modification after machining by the officially approved manufacturers. It is specifically forbidden to re-temper them in order to modify the hardness given by the manufacturer.
Any player guilty of an infraction of the provisions of paragraph 4 of the preceding article is immediately excluded from the competition, along with his partner or partners.
If a boule – a boule that has not been tampered with, but is worn, or of defective manufacture – does not pass the official examination successfully, or does not comply with the norms set out in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) of the preceding article, the player must change it. He may also change the set.
Complaints relating to these three paragraphs and made by players, are admissible only before the start of a game. The latter have, therefore, an interest in assuring themselves that their boules and those of their opponents comply with the published rules.
Complaints based on paragraph (4) are admissible at any time during the game, but they can be made only between menes. However, from the third mene on, if it turns out that a complaint about the opponent’s boules is unfounded three points will be added to the score of the latter.
The Umpire or the Jury may, at any time, ask to examine the boules of one or more players.
Jacks are made of wood, or of a synthetic material bearing the manufacturer’s trademark and having obtained the FIPJP’s certification in line with the precise specification relating to the required standards.
Their diameter must be 30mm (tolerance: ± 1 mm). Their weight must be between 10 and 18 grams.
Painted jacks are allowed, but neither they nor jacks made of wood may be capable of being picked up with a magnet.
To be registered in a competition each player must present his (or her) license, or, in accordance with the rules of their federation, a document proving their identity, and the fact that he or she is a member of that federation.
Petanque is played on all surfaces.
However, by decision of the Organizing Committee or the Umpire, the teams may be required to play on a marked terrain. In this case, the latter must have, for National Championships and International Competitions, the following minimum dimensions: 15m x 4m.
For other competitions, federations may allow their subdivisions to grant exemptions from these minimum requirements, except for dimensions smaller than 12m x 3m. [i.e. national federations may allow local and regional competitions to be played on terrains as small as 12m x 3m.]
A playing area is composed of an indefinite number of terrains defined by strings whose size must not affect the smooth running of the game.
These strings delimiting the different terrains are not dead-ball lines except for the lines at the end of the lane and those of the exterior lanes. When the game terrains are arranged end-to-end, the lines at the end of the lane are considered to be dead-ball lines.
When the terrains are enclosed by [spectator] barriers, these must be located at a minimum distance of 1 meter from the exterior line of the game terrains.
Games are played to 13 points, with the possibility to play those of leagues and qualifying heats to 11 points.
Some competitions can be organized with time-limited games. These must always be played on terrains where all of the boundary lines are then dead-ball lines.
The players must conduct a draw to determine which of the two teams will choose the terrain (if it has not been assigned by the organizers) and first throw the jack.
In case of assignment of a terrain by the organizers, the jack must be thrown on the assigned terrain. The teams concerned may not go to any other terrain without the permission of the Umpire.
One of the players (it makes no difference which one) of the team that won the draw chooses the starting place and draws or places a circle on the ground such that the feet of each of the players can fit entirely inside it.
However, a drawn circle may not measure less than 35cm or more than 50cm in diameter.
Where a physical circle is used, it must be rigid and have an internal diameter of 50cms (tolerance: ±2mm).
Folding circles are permitted on condition that they are of models approved by the FIPJP, especially with respect to their rigidity.
When the organizer provides regulation or approved circles, the players are required to use them. They must also accept regulation rigid circles or folding circles approved by the FIPJP that are provided by their opponent. If both teams have them the choice will be made by the team that won the draw.
In all cases the circles should be marked before the throw of the jack.
The throwing circle must be drawn (or placed) more than one meter from any obstacle and at least 2 meters from another throwing circle in use.
The team that won the right to throw the jack – either after the draw or because it scored in the previous mene – has the right to only one attempt [to throw the jack]. If it is not successful, the jack is given to the other team, which places it [the jack] wherever it wants within the conditions specified in the rules.
The team that is going to throw the jack must erase all throwing circles near the one that it is going to use.
The interior of the circle can be completely cleared at any time during the mene, but its state must be restored at the end of the mene.
The circle is not considered to be out-of-bounds.
The player’s feet must be entirely inside the circle. They must not overlap it, and they must not leave the circle or be completely lifted off the ground until the thrown boule has touched the ground. No other part of the player’s body may touch the ground outside the circle. Any player not respecting this rule shall incur the penalties specified in Article 35.
There is one exception. Players with a handicap of the lower limbs are not required to place more than one foot inside the circle. For players throwing from a wheelchair, at least one wheel (that on the side of the throwing arm) must rest inside the circle.
The throw of the jack by a player of a team does not imply that he is required to play first.
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 are allowed to play their boules.
For the jack thrown by a player to be valid, it is necessary:
[The jack must be thrown on the assigned terrain: Article 6]
1) That the distance that separates it from the interior edge of the throwing circle must be:
– 6 meters minimum and 10 meters maximum for Juniors and Seniors.
– In competitions for younger players, shorter distances may be applied.
2) That the throwing circle must be a minimum of one meter from any obstacle and at least two meters from another circle in use.
3) That the jack must be a minimum of 1 meter from any obstacle and from the nearest edge of an out-of-bounds area. This distance is reduced to 50cm in time-limited games, except for lines at the end of lanes.
4) That the jack must be visible to a player whose feet are placed at the extreme limits of the interior of the circle and whose body is absolutely upright. In the case of a disagreement about this matter, the umpire decides, without appeal, if the jack is visible.
At the following mene, the jack is thrown from a circle drawn or placed around the place where it was located in the previous mene, except in the following cases:
1) The circle would be situated less than 1 meter from an obstacle.
2) The throwing of the jack could not be made to all legal distances.
In the first case the player draws or places the circle at the regulation distance from the obstacle.
In the second case, the player may step back, in line with the previous mene’s line of play, but without going beyond the maximum distance allowed for the throwing of the jack. This option is available only if there is no direction in which the jack can be thrown to the maximum distance.
If the jack has not been thrown in accordance with the conditions specified above, the opposing team will place it [the jack] in a valid location on the game terrain, and it [the opposing team] may, in its turn, move the circle back according to the conditions specified in the previous paragraph if a first backward movement by the opposing team did not allow a throw [of the jack] to the maximum distance.
In any case, a team that lost the jack because it [the team] wasn’t successful in placing it [the jack] in the required fashion should play the first boule.
The team that won the right to throw the jack has a maximum time of one minute [to throw it]. The team that won the right to place the jack after its opponent’s unsuccessful throw must do it immediately.
If the thrown jack is stopped by the Umpire, an opposing player, a spectator, an animal or any moving object, it must be thrown again.
If the thrown jack is stopped by a teammate [of the player who threw the jack], it is given to the opposing team, which must place it in a valid location.
If after the throw of the jack, a first boule is played, the opposing team still has the right to challenge the validity of its [the jack’s] location unless it was it [the opposing team] that had placed the jack on the game terrain after the failure of the throw by the other team.
Before the jack is given to the opposing team for them to place it, both teams must have recognized that the throw was not valid or the Umpire must have decided it to be so. If any team proceeds differently, it loses the benefit of throwing the jack.
If the opponent has also played a boule, the jack is definitely considered to be valid and no objection is admissible.
The jack is dead in the following 7 cases:
1) When the jack is displaced into an out-of-bounds area, even if it comes back in-bounds.
A jack straddling the boundary of the in-bounds area is alive. It is not dead until after having traveled completely beyond the boundary of the in-bounds area or the dead-ball line, that is to say, when it is situated entirely beyond the plumb of this boundary. [For boules see Article 19.]
A puddle of water in which the jack floats freely is considered to be out-of-bounds.
2) When, located within the in-bounds area, the displaced jack is not visible from the circle, as specified in Article 7. However, a jack masked by a boule is not dead. The Umpire is allowed temporarily to pick up a boule to declare whether the jack is visible.
3) When the jack is displaced to more than 20 meters (for Juniors and Seniors) or 15 meters (for the younger players) or less than 3 meters from the throwing circle.
4) When on marked terrains, the jack crosses more than one of the neighboring lanes or goes out at the end of the lane.
5) When the displaced jack cannot be found, the search time being limited to five minutes.
6) When an out-of-bounds area is situated between the jack and the throwing circle.
7) When, in time-limited games, the jack leaves the assigned lane. [This duplicates a rule in Article 5.]
It is strictly forbidden for players to press down, displace or crush any obstacle located on the game terrain.
However, the player called upon to throw the jack is allowed to test a landing spot with one of his boules without hitting the ground more than three times.
Furthermore, the player who is about to play, or one of his partners, may fill in a hole that was made by a boule played earlier.
For not complying with this rule, especially in the case of sweeping in front of a boule to be shot, the offending player incurs the penalties specified in Article 35.
Players are forbidden to change the jack or a boule during a game except in the following cases:
1) It cannot be found, the search time being limited to 5 minutes.
2) It is broken. In this case the biggest part is taken into consideration.
If boules remain to be played, it [the broken boule or jack] is immediately replaced, after measuring if necessary, by a boule or a jack of identical or similar diameter. At the next mene the player concerned can take a complete new set [of boules].
If, during a mene, the jack is suddenly hidden by a leaf of a tree or a piece of paper, these objects are removed.
If a stationary jack is displaced because of the wind or the slope of the ground, for example, it is returned to its original location, provided that it [the original location] had been marked. This also applies if the jack is moved accidentally by the umpire, a player, a spectator, a boule or a jack from another game, an animal, or any moving object. [For boules see Article 22.]
To avoid all disagreement, the players must mark the position of the jack. No claim will be accepted [i.e. accepted by an umpire] regarding unmarked boules or an unmarked jack.
If the jack is displaced by a boule played in this game, it is valid.
If, during a mene, the jack is displaced onto another game terrain (marked or not), the jack is still alive, subject to the provisions of Article 9.
If this happens, the players using this jack will wait for the end of the mene that was started by the players on the other game terrain, before finishing their own mene. The players involved in the application of this rule should show patience and courtesy.
At the following mene the teams continue on the terrain that was assigned to them and the jack is thrown again from the place it occupied when it was displaced, subject to the provisions of Article 7.
If, during a mene, the jack is dead, one of three cases can apply:
1) Both teams have boules to play – the mene is scoreless and the jack belongs to the team that scored earlier or which won the draw.
2) Only one team has boules left to play – this team scores as many points as boules that remain to be played.
3) The two teams have no more boules in hand – the mene is scoreless and the jack belongs to the team that scored earlier or which won the draw.
[The corresponding article for boules is Article 20.]
1) If the jack, having been hit, is stopped or deviated by a spectator or by the umpire, it stays where it is.
2) If the jack, having been hit, is stopped or deviated by a player located in-bounds on the game terrain, his opponent has the choice of:
(a) Leave the jack in its new location;
(b) Put it back in its original location;
(c) Place it on the extension of a line going from its original location to the place where it located, up to a maximum distance of 20 meters from the circle (15 meters for competitions for younger players) and such that it is visible.
Paragraphs (b) and (c) cannot be applied except if the location of the jack had been marked previously. If that was not the case, the jack remains where it is.
If, after having been hit, the jack travels into an out-of-bounds area before finally returning onto the game terrain, it is considered dead and the provisions of Article 14 are applied.
The first boule of a mene is thrown by a player belonging to the team that won the draw or was the last to score. After that, it is the team that does not hold the point that plays.
A player is not allowed to help himself by using any object, nor to draw a line on the ground to guide his boule or to mark his intended landing spot.
When he plays his last boule, he is forbidden to have an extra boule in his other hand.
The boules must be played one by one [i.e. one at a time].
Any boule thrown cannot be replayed. However, a boule should be replayed if it was stopped or deviated unintentionally from its course between the throwing circle and the jack, by a boule or jack coming from another game, by an animal, or by any moving object (soccer ball, etc.) and in the case specified in Article 8, third paragraph.
It is forbidden to wet the boules or the jack.
Before throwing his boule, the player must remove from it any trace of mud or deposit whatsoever, under threat of the penalties specified in Article 35.
If the first boule played goes out-of-bounds, it is for the opponent to play, then alternately as long as there are no boules in the in-bounds area.
If no boule is left in the in-bounds area after a shooting throw or a pointing throw, apply the provisions of Article 29 concerning a null point [a situation in which neither team has the point].
During the regulation time given to a player to throw his boule the spectators and players must observe total silence.
The opponents must not walk, nor gesticulate, nor do anything that could disturb the player. Only his teammates may stand between the jack and the throwing circle.
The opponents must stand beyond the jack or behind the player and, in both cases, to one side of the line of play and at least 2 meters from one or the other.
Players who do not observe these regulations may be excluded from the competition if, after a warning from the umpire, they persist in their behavior.
Absolutely no one may, as a test, throw his boule during the game. Players who do not observe this rule may be hit with the penalties specified in the section on "Discipline" in Article 35.
During the course of a mene, boules going outside the assigned lane are still alive except as in the application of Article 19. [i.e. except in a time-limited game.]
Any boule is dead from the moment that it enters an out-of-bounds area.
A boule straddling the boundary of the in-bounds area is alive. The boule is not dead until after having traveled completely beyond the boundary of the in-bounds area, that is to say, when it is situated entirely beyond the plumb of this boundary. [For the jack see Article 9.]
The same applies when, on marked terrains, the boule completely crosses more than one of the neighboring lanes or when it goes out at the end of the lane.
In time-limited games played on only one terrain, a boule is dead under the same conditions, when it completely leaves the assigned lane.
If the boule then comes back onto the game terrain, either because of the slope of the ground, or because it rebounds off of an obstacle, moving or stationary, it is immediately removed from the game and anything that it displaced after its trip through the out-of-bounds area is put back in its original location provided that those objects had been marked.
Any dead boule must immediately be removed from the game. By default it will be considered to be live the moment another boule is played by the opposing team.
[WHEN A THROWN BOULE IS STOPPED]
Any boule played, that is stopped or deviated by a spectator or the umpire, will remain at the place where it stopped.
Any boule played, that is stopped or deviated unintentionally by a player to whose team it belongs, is dead.
Any boule pointed, that is stopped or deviated unintentionally by an opponent, can, according to the wishes of the player, be replayed or left in the place where it stopped.
[WHEN A HIT BOULE IS STOPPED]
[For a hit jack see Article 15.]
When a boule shot or hit, is stopped or deviated unintentionally by a player, the opponent may:
(1) Leave it in the place where it stopped;
(2) Place it on the extension of a line going from its original location to the place where it is located, but only on the playable area and only on condition that its original location had been marked.
The player purposely stopping a moving boule is immediately disqualified, along with his team, for the game in progress.
Once the jack is thrown, each player has the maximum duration of one minute to play his boule. This short period of time starts from the moment that the boule or jack played earlier comes to a stop or, if it is necessary to measure a point, from the moment the latter [the measurement] has been accomplished.
The same requirements apply to the throwing of the jack.
Any player who does not comply with this period of time will incur the penalties specified in the section on Discipline, Article 35.
If a stationary boule is displaced by the wind or slope of the ground, for example, it is put back in its original location. The same applies to any boule accidentally displaced by a player, an umpire, a spectator, an animal, or any moving object. [For the jack see Article 12.]
To avoid all disagreement, the players must mark [the locations of] the boules. No claim will be admissible for an unmarked boule, and the umpire will make his decision based only on the locations of the boules on the terrain.
However, if a boule is displaced by a boule played in this game, it is valid.
The player who plays a boule other than his own receives a warning. The boule played is nevertheless valid but it must be replaced immediately, possibly after measuring has been done.
In the event of it occurring again during the game, the guilty player’s boule is disqualified and anything it displaced is put back in place.
Except for cases in which these regulations specify the application of specific and graduated penalties in article 35, any boule thrown contrary to the rules is dead, and anything that it displaced in its travel is put back in place, if those objects had been marked.
However, the opponent has the right to apply the advantage rule and to declare that it is valid. In this case, the boule pointed or shot, is still alive and anything it has displaced remains in its place.
In order to measure a point, it is permitted to temporarily remove, after marking their locations, the boules and obstacles situated between the jack and the boules to be measured.
After the measurement, the boules and the obstacles which were picked up are put back in their place. If the obstacles cannot be removed, the measurement of the point is done with the aid of calipers.
The measurement of a point is the responsibility of the player who last played or one of his teammates. The opponents always have the right to measure after one of these players.
Measurements must be made with the appropriate instruments – each team must possess one. Notably, it is forbidden to make measurements with the feet. Any player who does not comply with this rule will incur the penalties specified in Article 35.
Whatever the position of the boules to be measured, and the time in the mene, the umpire may be consulted and his decision may not be appealed. Players must keep at least two meters from him while he makes a measurement.
However, by decision of the organizing committee, especially in case of televised games, it may be decided that only the umpire will have the ability to measure.
It is forbidden for players to pick up played boules before the end of the mene.
At the end of a mene, any boule picked up before the agreement of points is dead. No claim is admissible on this subject.
If a player picks up his boules from the game terrain while his partners have boules remaining, they will not be allowed to play them.
The point is lost by a team if one of its players, while making a measurement, displaces the jack or one of the contested boules. If, during the measurement of a point, the umpire disturbs or displaces the jack or a boule he will make a decision in an equitable way.
When the two boules closest to the jack belong to different teams and are at an equal distance from it, three situations may exist.
1) If the two teams have no more boules, the mene is scoreless and the jack belongs to the team that scored earlier or which won the draw.
2) If only one team has boules, it plays them and scores as many points as it has boules closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest boule.
3) If both teams still have boules, the team that played the last boule plays again, then the opposing team, and so on alternately until the point belongs to one of them. When there is only one team left with boules to play, the provisions of the preceding paragraph apply.
If, at the end of the mene, no boules remain in the in-bounds area, the mene is scoreless.
Any foreign bodies that adhere to a boule or to the jack must be removed before the measurement of the point.
To be considered, any complaint must be made to the umpire. As soon as the game is finished, no complaint can be accepted.
At the time of the draw for matches and the announcement of the results of the draw, the players must be present at the control table. A quarter of an hour after the end of the announcement of these results, any team that is absent from the game terrain will be penalized one point which is transferred to the credit of the opposing team. This period of time is reduced to 5 minutes in games that are time-limited. After this period of time, the penalty accrues by one point for each five minutes of the delay.
The same penalties apply throughout the competition after each draw and in the case of a re-start of games after an interruption for any reason whatsoever.
Any team that is not present on the game terrain within an hour of the start or restart of games is declared to be eliminated from the competition.
An incomplete team has the right to start a game without waiting for its absent player; however it may not use the boules of that player.
No player may absent himself from a game or leave the game terrains without the permission of the umpire. In any case his leaving will not interrupt the continued play of the game, nor the obligation of his teammates to play their boules in the allowed minute [one-minute period]. If the player has not returned by the time that he must play his boules, they [his boules] are disqualified at the rate of one boule per minute.
If permission was not given, the penalties of Article 35 are applied.
In the case of an accident or a medical condition properly documented by a physician, a player may be granted a maximum break of fifteen minutes. If the use of this possibility is shown to be fraudulent, the player and his team will be immediately excluded from the competition.
If a missing player arrives more than one hour after the start of a game, he loses all right to participate in that game.
If his teammate(s) win this game, he may participate in subsequent games provided that the team was registered with him as a member.
If the competition is played in leagues, he may take part in the second game regardless of the result of the first.
A mene is considered to have started when the jack has been thrown regardless of the validity of the throw. Special arrangements can be made for time limited games.
The replacement of a player in doubles (or the replacement of a player or two players in triples) is allowed only before the official announcement of the beginning of the competition (gun, whistle, announcement, etc.) and only on condition that the replacement(s) have not been registered in the competition as belonging to some other team.
For non-observation of the rules of the game the players incur the following penalties:
1) A warning, which is indicated officially by the showing by the umpire of a yellow card to the player at fault. However, a yellow card for exceeding the time limit is imposed on all the players of the offending team. If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, he will be penalized by disqualification of a boule during the mene in progress or for the following mene if he has no more boules to play.
2) Disqualification of the boule played or to be played, which is indicated officially by the showing by the umpire of an orange card to the player at fault.
3) Exclusion of the player at fault for the game, which is indicated officially by the showing by the umpire of a red card to the player at fault.
4) Disqualification of the team responsible;
5) Disqualification of the two teams in case of complicity.
A warning is a penalty: it cannot be given except after the finding of an infraction. Information that players need in order to comply with the rules, given to players at the start of a competition or a game, is not, therefore, considered an official warning.
In the case of rain, any mene that has started must be completed, unless a contrary decision is made by the umpire, who alone is qualified, with the Jury, to decide on its suspension or cancellation in case of force majeure.
If, after the announcement of the beginning of a new phase of the competition (2nd round, 3rd round, etc.) certain games have not ended, the umpire, after consulting with the Organizing Committee, may make any provisions or decisions that he judges necessary for the smooth running of the competition.
Teams that argue during a game, who show lack of sportsmanship and respect towards the public, the organizers or the umpires, will be excluded from the competition. This exclusion may result in de-certification of the eventual results, as well as the application of penalties specified in Article 39.
The player who is guilty of inappropriate [i.e. rude, discourteous, or insulting] behavior, or even worse, violence towards an official, an umpire, another player, or a spectator incurs one or more of the following penalties, depending on the seriousness of the offense.
1) Exclusion from the competition.
2) Revocation of the license or official membership document.
3) Confiscation or restitution of expenses and prizes.
The penalty imposed on the guilty player may also be imposed on his teammates.
Penalty 1 is imposed by the umpire. Penalty 2 is imposed by the Jury.
Penalty 3 is imposed by the Organizing Committee which, within 48 hours, sends, with its report, the expenses and prizes retained, to the federal organization, which will decide their destination.
In all cases, the Committee Director of the federal organization will make the final ruling.
Proper attire is required of players for whom it is forbidden to play without a shirt and who must especially, for safety reasons, wear footwear that is completely closed, protecting the toes and heels.
It is forbidden to smoke during play, and that includes electronic cigarettes. It is equally forbidden to use a mobile phone during games.
Any player that does not observe these requirements will be excluded from the competition after a warning from the umpire.
The umpires appointed to conduct the competitions are responsible for ensuring the strict application of the rules of play and the administrative rules that supplement them. They have the authority to exclude from the competition any player or any team that refuses to comply with their decisions.
Spectators with licenses, or with suspended licenses, who, by their behavior, are the origin of incidents on the game terrain, will be the subject of a report by the umpire to the federal organization. The latter will summon the guilty party or parties before a competent Disciplinary Committee which will decide on the penalties to apply.
Any case not covered by the rules is submitted to the umpire who may refer it to the competition’s Jury. This Jury is made up of 3 members at least and 5 at most. The decisions taken by the Jury in applying this paragraph are without appeal. In the case of a split vote, the President of the Jury has the deciding vote.