Guides to interpreting the rules


  • Answers to some specific question can be found on our FAQs page.
  • Important changes were made to the rules in 2006 and 2008. Commentaries written before 2008 may contain parts that are obsolete.

The national umpires committee of three national federations have issued official sets of national rules interpretations. They are—

  1. United States of America — The FPUSA Official Rules Interpretations for Umpires is available from the FPUSA web site. Our archived copy dated November 2015 is HERE (pdf) and HERE (docx).
  2. New Zealand — Petanque New Zealand’s Umpiring rules, interpretations & clarifications (effective May 1, 2016) is available on the PNZ web site. Our archived copy dated 2016-05 is HERE (pdf) and HERE (docx).
  3. Netherlands (Holland) — The rules committee (reglementencommissie) of the Dutch federation (NJBB) has prepared a version of the official Dutch translation of the rules into which they have inserted interpretations that are binding for umpires in the Netherlands. The document is of course in Dutch. It is available on the NJBB website. In the document’s name (ISPPlus.pdf) “ISP” stands for Internationaal Spelreglement Petanque (International Game Rules of Petanque), and “Plus” indicates that it contains the rules plus committee-approved interpretations.

Other useful resources include—


A Guide to the Rules of Petanque by Stephen Ferg.

New Zealand

– PNZ’s useful training manual for prospective umpires is available on the PNZ website. Our archived copy dated 2014-12 is HERE.
– The PNZ Umpiring Resources page also has some useful information.

United Kingdom

– Mike Pegg, the English International Umpire, runs a “Petanque Rules – Ask the Umpire” group on Facebook.
– The Southern Counties Petanque Association (SCPA) web site has a number of old but useful papers on the rules by former Regional Umpire, Richard Powell.


CNA stands for Commission Nationale d’Arbitrage, the French federation’s umpires committee. MAJ is mise à jour, “revision date”.
– The CNA umpire’s guide can be found on the FFPJP umpires web page (scroll down until you see the words “Documents Arbitrage”, and under that, “Code d’arbitrage”). Our archived copy dated 2014-05-15 is HERE.
– The CNA has prepared an introduction to the rules as a Powerpoint slide show. Our archived copy dated 2015-04-20 is HERE.

4 thoughts on “Guides to interpreting the rules

  1. What is the ruling on leveling the piste before throwing?

    Jules says—
    It depends on what you’re asking about. For grooming the terrain between ends, see THIS. For the various rules about fixing divots see THIS and the following questions.

  2. I have been told that you can’t put unused boules on the terrain. I.e if you are in the circle and have two unused boules, you can’t put them on the ground.

    Jules says see THIS.

  3. Please note that the Dutch rules committee (reglementencommissie) also has made a document available with interpretations of the rules that are binding for umpires in the Netherlands. The document is formatted as the official Dutch translation interspersed with commentary where applicable, and can be found here:
    The document’s name comes from the abbrevation ISP, which stands for Internationaal Spelreglement Petanque (International Game Rules of Petanque), combined with Plus, for the additional information.
    Of course, the document is in Dutch.

    • Hi Boudewijn,
      Thanks for this information!

      (1) I believe there may be a typo in that document. In the comments on Artikel 2bis, in these sentences “Volgens artikel 23 dient een boule, alvorens deze wordt geworpen, te worden ontdaan van alles wat eraan kleeft. Dit betreft niet alleen modder en blaadjes, maar ook verf, inkt en dergelijke.” I think “artikel 23” should be “artikel 15”.

      (2) In this comment on Artikel 2bis “Het aanbrengen van een laag verf of inkt kan de eigenschappen van een boule beïnvloeden. Met name kan een boule hierdoor stroever worden.” what would be a good English translation of the word “stroever” ?

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