Disqualifying a boule & excluding a player

What does it mean to “disqualify a boule”?

Depending on the context, “disqualifying a boule” can mean one of two quite different things. The key to recognizing the two contexts lies in the expression “disqualification of the boule played or to be played.”

The first context is one where we want to disqualify a boule that has already been played. Suppose, for instance, that a player has already received one warning for a foot fault— for standing on the circle while throwing. Now, the umpire is watching him closely. Again, the player stands on the circle while throwing his boule. The umpire shows an orange card and tells the player that the boule that he has just thrown is disqualified because of his repeated foot fault. In that context, we can point to a specific boule and say “THAT is the boule to be disqualified.” That specific boule is declared dead and removed from the terrain.

The second context is one where we want to disqualify a boule that has not yet been played. Suppose, for instance, that a team has already received one warning for violating the 1-minute rule. Now they are standing around and discussing strategy. Their discussion takes more than one minute. The umpire approaches the team and informs them that one of the team’s boules is now disqualified because of the team’s second infraction of the 1-minute rule. But… which boule should be disqualified? Suppose that the team has 4 unplayed boules. How does the umpire pick out which boule he is going to point to and say “THAT is the boule to be disqualified”?

The answer is that he doesn’t. In this situation, “disqualifying a boule” doesn’t mean picking out a particular boule for disqualification. It means reducing the number of boules that the penalized team (or player) is allowed to throw in the future. As Mike Pegg said during an exchange on “Ask the Umpire”—

If the team has 4 boules and are then advised that 1 boule is disqualified, they then have 3 boules.

They may have 4 unplayed boules in hand, but since one of those boules has been disqualified, they are now allowed to throw only three boules. Which boules they choose to throw is up to them. If the penalized team has no more boules to throw, the number of boules that they can throw in the next mene is reduced.
As Article 35 says—

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.

Excluding a player

After disqualifying a boule, the next level of penalty is the exclusion of a player from the rest of the game. The procedures for excluding a player are similar to the procedures for disqualifying a boule.

On the one hand, the umpire may walk up to a specific player and say, “YOU are excluded from the rest of the game.” On the other hand, the umpire may walk up to the captain of a triples team and say, “For the rest of the game, starting with the next mene, your team is allowed to play with only two players.” Note that excluding a player means reducing the number of players, and playable boules, available to the team. If a member of a triples team is excluded, the team’s fourth member (its alternate/substitute/backup player) cannot take his place. The team must soldier on with only two players and 4 boules.

Closeup of a petanque boule disqualified in the previous mene.

Closeup of a petanque boule disqualified in the previous mene.


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2 thoughts on “Disqualifying a boule & excluding a player

  1. You state, “Suppose, for instance, that a team has violated the 1-minute rule (for the second time). It must be punished by having one of its boules disqualified.” While this is correct, it might lead your reader to infer that violating the one minute rule would only lead to disqualification of a boule if it happened twice. In reality, violation of the one minute rule calls for the disqualification of a boule the first time it happens if any player on the offending team has previously been issued a warning (yellow card) for any offense– not just an offense related to slow play.

  2. The new rule relating to a ”Team warning” has generated a lot of comments and questions about how penalties will be applied. I think any confusion is, in part, due to the fact that the rules only explain an exception, Art 35.1 ”However, a yellow card for exceeding the time limit will be imposed on all the players of the offending team. If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, they will be penalised by disqualification of the boule played or to be played.”

    The problem is that penalties, individual and team, can occur in any permutation. It would be clearer to start with the simpler cases first, i.e. a team (which has no existing penalties) breaks the time limit twice in succession, before proceeding to other permutations, e.g.

    • a) the team breaks the time limit, then a player breaks an (individual) rule and
    • b) vice-versa, a player commits an individual fault, then the team breaks the time limit, etc.

    Perhaps a diagram or flowchart might help? NB These cases are all somewhat hypothetical, with multiple or repeated breaches of the rules. Hopefully in practice, that won’t occur too often.

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