A Guide to the Rules of Petanque (2010)

This page is for the 2010 version of the rules.
For the current version of the rules, click HERE.


FIPJP International Rules of Petanque
an American English translation by Stephen Ferg (8 pages)
updated: 2016-11-22
Download as   pdf | docx (Microsoft Word) | .epub

A Guide to the Rules of Petanque
by Stephen Ferg (170+ pages)
(Contains French and English versions of the international rules)
updated: 2016-11-16
Download as   pdf | docx (Microsoft Word)

Copies of national and international rules
Commentaries and rules interpretations

From the Preface of “A Guide to the Rules of Petanque”

When I started playing petanque, I decided that if I was going to play the game I should know its rules. So I started studying the rules.

It quickly became clear that the rules were a mess, and that there were many confusions and controversies about how they should be interpreted. At that time, there were no guides to the interpretation of the rules, not even for umpires.  In short, in order to learn and understand the rules of petanque, I needed to do my own research. So I did. As I did it, I kept notes about what I found. Eventually those notes evolved into this guide.

As I studied, I kept finding problems in the official FIPJP English translation of the French rules. I had downloaded electronic copies of both the French original and the English translation, so I copied them into a Microsoft WORD document and formatted them so that the French and English texts were arranged in columns, side-by-side. When I found a problem with the FIPJP translation I would revise the text on the English side. When I made a revision, I also made a note about the reason for the revision. Eventually I ended up with essentially a new English translation of the rules, and a set of notes explaining the rationale for the places where my new translation differed from the official FIPJP translation. My new translation and my notes on the translation are included in this guide. Together, I believe they constitute the best available English translation of the FIPJP rules of petanque.


Table of Contents (2016-10-16)

Preface	9
About this book	9
Sources and references	10
Some terminology and abbreviations	11

About the rules	12
Who makes the rules?	12
Problems with the rules	14
Subjects NOT covered in this guide	15
Why do we need a better English translation?	15

Some basic concepts	16
The petanque playing area - Five fundamental concepts	16
The two games known as "petanque"	20

Some thoughts about the rules	21
The biggest problem— how to undo an illegal event	22
Illegal events	22
Options for dealing with illegal events	22
Social vs umpired play	23
Approximately is good enough	24
Playing social petanque, even when there is an umpire (part 1)	24
Playing social petanque, even when there is an umpire (part 2)	24
Teams are not required to call the umpire	25
Verbal actions	26
General principles for applying the rules	27
If I was King of the Rules	28

Notes on individual rules	29
Article 2 – The boules	30
About the certification of boules	30
Stuffing the boules	30
Stamping the boules	31
The weight of the boules	32
Coloring the boules	33
Cooking the boules	34
The hardness of a boule	35
Elasticity	35
Scratch resistance	36
Is there any correlation between elasticity and scratch resistance?	36
Boules that are both hard and soft	37
Article 3 – The jack	38
The material of the jack	39
The magnetic properties of the jack	41
The weight of the jack	43
Article 5 – The playing area	44
Petanque is played on all terrains	44
Guide lines and dead-ball lines	44
Barriers and sideboards	45
Articles 6 and 7 – The circle	47
The size of a drawn circle and redrawing the circle	47
What is a rigid circle?	48
Clearing the circle	49
The circle is not out-of-bounds	50
Does the jack have to be in the exact center of the circle?	50
Feet inside the circle	51
When the circle is picked up too soon	52
Marking the circle	52
About “stepping back” to move the circle	53
Questions about the Stepping Back Rule	55
Placing the circle after the jack has died or left the terrain	59
Article 7 –Throwing the jack to 10 meters	60
Articles 7 & 9 & 11 – The jack must be visible from the circle	61
Visible to whom?	61
Visible when? (part 1)	62
Visible when? (part 2)	62
If the jack is not visible after the last boule is thrown	63
If the jack is hidden by leaves	64
If a boule pushes around some part of the terrain, hiding the jack	65
Article 8 - Challenging the jack	66
Can team B challenge the jack after verbally accepting it?	66
Can team A challenge the jack after throwing its first boule?	67
Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was measured?	67
Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was marked?	67
Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was neither marked nor measured?  (The Pushed Jack Question)	67
An unusual challenge to the jack	69
Article 9 –	70
The Dead Ground Rule	70
The puddle rule and the floating jack	71
The puddle rule – standard interpretation	71
The puddle rule – American (FPUSA) interpretation	71
The puddle rule – conclusion	72
Articles 9 & 18 – Boule or jack goes out-of-bounds	73
A boule or jack not dead until it completely crosses the dead-ball line	73
If a boule or jack "completely crosses" a neighboring lane	75
The string is not the boundary line	75
Jack within 3 meters of the circle	77
Article 10 – When a boule or jack breaks	78
Article 14 – If a hit jack is stopped or deviated	79
Article 15 –	79
When the terrain is empty	79
When the first boule played goes out-of-bounds	79
Can a player "help himself" in [this way]?	80
Can a player wear gloves?	81
About marking boules and jack	81
Article 16 – Where to stand	82
Article 18 – A dead boule rebounds onto the terrain	84
Some terminology for discussing zombie boules	84
When should a zombie boule be picked up?	85
Which team should pick up a zombie boule?	86
Can the opposing team remove a zombie boule?	86
If a zombie boule moves other balls on the terrain, can we put them back?	87
What happens to a zombie boule if it isn't picked up?	87
Articles 19 and 14 – If a jack or boule is stopped or deviated	88
The extension of a line	89
Article 14— Place the jack on the extension of a line...	90
Article 19— Place the boule on the extension of a line...	90
Articles 21 & 26 – Picking up an unmarked boule too soon	91
Before all boules have been thrown (Article 21)	91
After all boules have been thrown (Article 26)	91
Article 22 – Playing somebody else’s boule	92
Article 23 – Boules thrown contrary to the rules	93
Article 24 – Marking the location of a boule when you plan to remove it temporarily for measuring	94
Article 25 – Who should measure?	95
Three reasons for measuring— tactical, practical, scoring	95
Frequently-asked questions about tactical measurement	95
Article 27 – A boule or jack moved during measurement	97
Article 28 – An undecided point – Who plays next	99
All of the equidistant boules are knocked out, leaving the terrain empty	100
One of the equidistant boules is exactly replaced	100
Reverting to an earlier equidistant boules situation	100
Article 31 - Consulting with the team coach	102

Special rules for time-limited games	103
Rules for Timed Games at the 2015 CEP European Championship	103

Frequently-asked questions about the rules	105
How are points scored?	106
Is there any rule about the order in which members of the same team play?	106
When does a mene start and end?	106
A late-arriving player joins the game	106
The time-limit signal is sounded in a time-limited game	106
The "one-minute rule" for throwing the jack	107
The “landing strip” for a thrown jack	108
What is an obstacle?	110
Articles 6 and 7 – throwing obstacles	110
Articles 10, 18, 24 – obstacles as inconvenient objects	111
If a thrown boule or jack hits something ABOVE the terrain, is it dead?	112
The jack is dead – what do we do now?	113
Q1. Which team scores?	113
Q2. Which team throws the jack at the beginning of the next mene?	113
Q3. Where do we place the circle at the beginning of the next mene?	114
Never pick up another player's boule	115
Can I wear sandals while playing?	116
Why is it forbidden to smoke while playing?	118
Who has the point—the team or the boule?	118
Boules thrown out of turn	119
Boules thrown out of turn	119
Dealing with a forgotten boule	121
The boule advantage and the forgotten boule	122
Is it OK to leave unplayed boules on the ground?	124
How many unplayed boules does the opposing team have?	125
How and when to mark locations of boules and jack	126
How to mark a boule when you plan to pick it up while measuring	126
How to mark when you want simply to record a location	126
How NOT to mark the location of a boule or jack	127
Marking the location of the thrown jack	127
Marking the location of a jack that has been knocked into a neighboring terrain	127
Marking the location of everything, all the time	128
The Advantage Rule	129
When you can't tell which jack belongs to which game	129
Colored penalty cards	130

Mythical rules	133
About mythical rules	133
You can’t wear gloves while playing	134
You are not allowed to throw underarm (underhand, palm up).	134
All of a player’s boules must be from the same set.	134
Coloring of boules is prohibited	134
You can’t fix a divot with your hand.	134
You can’t fix a divot before throwing the first boule in a game.	135
You can’t fix a divot if you’re going to shoot.	135
You can groom the terrain during a game, if you do it between menes	136
You can't remove anything from the terrain, even man-made trash	136
If you don't put your points on the scoreboard, you lose them.	136
You can’t throw a jack to less than 2 meters from another jack.	137
You can’t place a circle less than 2 meters from another circle.	137
You can't place the circle right next to a dead-ball line.	138
A player can’t throw more than two boules in a row.	138
Opponents have a right to play to a jack at 6 to 10 meters	138

Notes on the English translation of the rules	139
About this English translation	140
The translation is into American English	140
Paragraph divisions	140
Text in square brackets	140
About the word "mene"	140
Translating French to English terminology	141
Persons and groups mentioned in the rules	141
The playing area, boundary lines, out-of-bounds areas	142
The game process	145
Things dead, null, and invalid	148
Miscellaneous terminology	149

OFFICIAL RULES OF THE GAME OF PÉTANQUE	151
GENERAL PROVISIONS	151
Article 1 – Composition of teams	151
Article 2 – Characteristics of approved boules	152
Article 2a – Penalties for non-conforming boules	153
Article 3 – Approved jacks	153
Article 4 – Membership cards	154
PLAY	154
Article 5 – Playing areas and regulation terrains	154
Article 6 – Start of play – Rules concerning the circle	155
Article 7 – Regulation distances for the throw of the jack	156
Article 8 – For the thrown jack to be still alive	158
Article 9 – Dead Jack during a mene	159
Article 10 – Displacement of obstacles	160
Article 10a – Changing of jack or boule	160
THE JACK	161
Article 11 – Jack masked or displaced	161
Article 12 – Jack displaced into another game	161
Article 13 – Rules to apply if the jack is dead	162
Article 14 – Positioning the jack after being stopped	162
BOULES	163
Article 15 – Throw of the first and following boules	163
Article 16 – Behavior of players and spectators during a game	164
Article 17 – Throwing of the boules and boules going outside the terrain	165
Article 18 – Dead boules	165
Article 19 – Stopped boules	166
Article 20 – Time allowed to play	167
Article 21 – Displaced boules	167
Article 22 – A player throwing a boule other than his own	168
Article 23 – Boules thrown contrary to the rules	168
Article 24 – Temporary removal of boules	168
Article 25 – Measuring of points	169
Article 26 – Picked-up Boules	169
Article 27 – Displacement of boules or jack	169
Article 28 – Boules equidistant from the jack	170
Article 29 – Foreign bodies adhering to the boules or jack	170
DISCIPLINE	170
Article 30 – Complaints	171
Article 31 – Penalties for absent teams or players	171
Article 32 – Late arrival of players	172
Article 33 – Replacement of a player	172
Article 34 – Penalties	173
Article 35 – Bad weather	173
Article 36 – New phase of play	173
Article 37 – Lack of Sportsmanship	174
Article 38 – Bad behavior	174
Article 39 – Duties of the Umpires	175
Article 40 – Composition and decisions of the Jury	175

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