2016 petanque rules changes

Here is a list of the important changes to the rules of petanque made by the FIPJP in 2016. The 2016 FIPJP rules of petanque are available on the FIPJP web site and the Rules of Petanque web site.

  1. Article 10a has been renamed to be Article 11, and all subsequent articles renumbered. So the rules now have 41 articles, rather than 40.
  2. Article 3: The weight of the jack must be between 10 and 18 grams. (This means that synthetic jacks, which weigh 22g, are no longer permitted.)
  3. Article 5: The opening sentence has been changed from “Petanque is played on all terrains,” to “Petanque is played on all surfaces.”
  4. Article 6: Folding circles (cercles pliables) are permitted but only if they are of a model and rigidity approved by the FIPJP. (Folding circles that are approved by the FIPJP will be marked “Agréé FIPJP”.)
  5. Article 6: The throwing circle must be marked before the jack is thrown.
  6. Article 6: If a player picks up the circle when there are boules still to be played, the circle is replaced but only the opponents are allowed to play their boules.
  7. Article 7: The team winning the toss or the previous end will have ONE and only one attempt to throw a valid jack. If the thrown jack is not valid, the jack is given to the opposing team which then places the jack in any valid location on the designated terrain.
  8. Article 7: The throwing circle must now be placed at least two meters from any other active circle.
  9. Article 7: During time-limited games only, for a thrown jack, the required minimum distance from a SIDE dead-ball line (not from an END dead-ball line) is reduced to 50cm.
  10. Article 8 contains the following sentence: “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 right to throw the jack.” The words have not changed, but the second sentence must be given a new interpretation in light of the changes to the rules for the throw of the jack.

    If Team A throws a jack that appears to Team B to be long, and Team B picks the jack up before Team A agrees that it actually was long, an umpire may rule that Team B has lost the right to place the jack, and give the jack to Team A, which will then place (not throw) it. It is likely that the second sentence will be revised in the next version of the rules.

  11. Article 10: “Sweeping” (the ground with a foot) in front of a boule to be shot is now specifically mentioned as a violation of the rule against changing the terrain. (This is a clarification of, rather than a change to, the existing rule.)
  12. Article 24: The following clause was inserted before the beginning of the rule: “Except for cases in which these rules provide specific and graduated penalties as outlined in Article 35,…” [DISCUSS]
  13. Article 26: Players must stand at least two meters away from an umpire while he is measuring.
  14. Article 27: If a player picks up his boules from the playing area while his partners have boules remaining, they will not be allowed to play them. [DISCUSS]
  15. Article 31: It is now no longer the responsibility of each team to check and verify the opposing team’s licenses, boules, qualifications to play in the competition, etc.
  16. Article 33: A mene is considered to start when the jack is thrown, regardless of whether or not the throw was valid.
  17. Article 35: In order to simplify the penalties, the penalty of disqualification of TWO boules has been eliminated.
  18. Article 35: The rules now officially recognize the use of colored signal cards.
  19. Article 35: The discussion of warnings has two new provisions. (1) A yellow card for exceeding the time limit will be imposed on ALL of the players of the offending team. (2) If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, that player will be penalised by disqualification of a boule.

    These new provisions are poorly written and it will probably be some time before umpires agree on how to interpret them. One likely outcome is this— In the past, umpires usually treated a time-violation as an individual offense. Thus, if player A on Team T exceeded the time limit, the umpire would give A a warning. Later, if player B on Team T exceeded the time limit, the umpire would give B a warning. Now, with these new provisions, it seems likely that if player A on Team T exceeds the time limit, the umpire will give Team T a warning. Later, if player B on Team T exceeds the time limit, the umpire will penalize Team T by disqualifying one of the team’s boules.

  20. Article 39: Correct dress is required of the players, specifically: (a) it is forbidden to play without a top (i.e. with a bare torso) and (b) for safety reasons, the players must wear fully enclosed shoes. In addition, it is forbidden to smoke (or use an e-cigarette) and to use a mobile phone during a game.

American players should note that the FPUSA rules have changed in another way.
Following a new policy, the FPUSA has adopted the 2016 international rules “as written” as its national rules.

Adopting the international rules “as written” means doing away with the italicized modifications and addendums added to the FPUSA version over the years. Doing so also means our players will learn to play per the international rules, nothing more, nothing less. [Mike] Pegg’s advice to the FPUSA is to publish the rules as adopted in December 2016 by the FIPJP and separately publish clarification for the more ambiguous and broadly interpreted aspects of the rules or for issues unique to the FPUSA. We agree with Mike and are already in the process of updating the “2015 Interpretation’s” currently in use by the federation.

Previous versions of the FPUSA rules also differed from the FIPJP rules in the wording of the Puddle Rule in Article 9. With the adoption of the FIPJP rules “as written”, that difference no longer exists.


2 thoughts on “2016 petanque rules changes

  1. As a trainer of new umpires in the Netherlands, former member of the Dutch Rules Committee, and translator of the new rules into the new Dutch version, I agree on most of the points and interpretations made above. However, I must disagree on item 2.

    Mr. Lenoir writes: “Article 3: The weight of the jack must be between 10 and 18 grams. (This means that synthetic jacks, which weigh 22g, are no longer permitted.)” We think the conclusion between parentheses is not correct.

    The article text is as follows (EN version, not US, if there already is one):
    “Jacks are made of wood, or of a synthetic material bearing the manufacturer’s mark and having obtained the FIPJP’s approval in line with the precise specification relating to the required standards. Their diameter must be 30mm (tolerance: + or –1mm). Their weight must be between 10 and 18 grams. Painted jacks are authorised, but at no time must they, nor the jacks made of wood, be capable of being picked up with a magnet.”

    We have chosen to interpret this as follows: jacks are made of wood, and those jacks (which you may fabricate yourself, if you can and wish), must adhere to the specifications about diameter, weight, and painting mentioned.

    Jacks may also be of a synthetic material, and those jacks must bear the manufacturer’s mark, proving that they have the FIPJP’s approval.

    So, there are two ways to make a jack valid: (1) they are synthetic, and have the approval of the FIPJP, or (2) they are wooden, and are valid because they adhere to the provisions mentioned.

    An extra argument for our interpretation might be that the ‘black jack’ (which can be lifted with a magnet) is also allowed, because it is mentioned in appendix B with the rules, which lists the FIPJP-approved jacks. The ‘but noir’ is mentioned here, despite it being ‘liftable’ with a magnet. I maintain that if a jack is officially recognised by the FIPJP, it must be valid to be used.

    • Hi Boudewijn, You know the rules as well as I do, but for anybody else who might read this, here is some background information.

      The heart of the question is whether or not the following statement is true—

      “If a jack is officially recognised by the FIPJP (in the list of certified boules and jacks), it must be valid to be used.”

      The list of certified boules and jacks is a separate document from the FIPJP’s rules of the game of petanque, and it is possible for the two documents to contradict (or, at least, to seem to contradict) each other. For example, when Obut’s paramagnetic “black jack” was added to the list of certified boules and jacks, most players and umpires saw that as contradicting the rule (in the rules of the game) that it must not be possible to pick up the jack with a magnet. The contradiction was resolved only via an hyper-technical reading of the wording of the rules of the game, which prohibited painted jacks from being paramagnetic.

      Now we have a similar situation in which the list of certified boules and jacks includes a jack weighing 22g, but the rules of the game prohibit jacks weighing more than 18g.

      My sense is that the new weight rule was designed specifically to prohibit the use of heavy resin jacks, which a number of national federations prohibit as dangerous. For that reason, I stand by the assertion that synthetic jacks are no longer permitted because of their weight.

      In this case, the position that “If a jack is officially recognised by the FIPJP (in the list of certified boules and jacks), it must be valid to be used,” might be rephrased as “If there is a contradiction between (a) the list of certified boules and jacks and (b) the rules of the game, the list of certified boules and jacks takes precedence.” One can certainly adopt that position, but there is nothing that I know of, in either the list of certified boules and jacks or in the rules of the game, that supports that position.

      Therefore, in my opinion, the bottom line is this—
      The FIPJP documents contradict each other, so there is no official FIPJP “right answer” to this question— there is nothing that is clearly “the correct interpretation” of the rules.Therefore, each national federation that (like the Netherlands) publishes a set of rules interpretations and umpire’s guidelines, should include an official national-federation ruling on this issue.

      update: 2018-09-07
      According to Mike Pegg, at the time that the Obut black jack was added to the list, “it was known to be magnetic, and although it was approved by the FIPJP, the rules prevent its use in competitions.” See THIS.

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