Rules & Regulations (General
How a Game is won
- Height of Horses
- Size of the
- Size of the Ball
- Player Requirement(including
- Umpires and other Officials
- Time Keeper and Scorer
1. The game can be played on horses of any height.
2. (a) The dimensions of the playing field are as follows
Length - Maximum 275 meters; minimum 230 meters.
Width - Maximum 180 meters if unboarded, and 146 meters
In addition, the field shall also have a strip of land approximately
10 meters wide along each of the side line and approximately
30 meters wide behind each back-line. These strips of free
land along with the playing field will together constitute
the safety zone and incidents that occur in the safety zone
shall be treated as though occuring on the playing field.
(b) The width of the goals is 7.30 meters.
(c) The goal posts will be cylindrical in shape, at least
3 meters high and will be sufficiently light and fragile
so that they may break on collision.
d) The Side boards will not exceed 0.27 meters in height.
3. The size of the ball will be 78 to 90 millimeters in
diameter, and its weight may vary between the limits of
120 and 135 gms for plastic balls and 150 gms for bamboo
4. (a) Number of players will be four per team in all games.
(b) No left-handed players are permitted.
(c) No player with dues outstanding to I.P.A can play.
(d) No player other than a playing member or a temporary
playing member of IPA (in case of visiting foreign players)
may play in any tournament conducted under the aegis of
(e) No individual shall participate as a player or official
in any game, if under the influence of drugs, alcohol or
any other substance, which may pair the ability to function.
A player participating in any game under these rules consents,
as a condition of participation, to blood, urine or other
tests deemed appropriate by the host organisation.
4. A. 1. SUBSTITUTION
a. Substitution in any situation can be done only with the
approval of the Tournament Committee
b. In handicap tournaments under no circumstance will a
team be permitted a substitution which will bring the team’s
handicap either, below or above the laid down limits of
c. Under no circumstance can a team which is yet to start
it’s first match of that tournament begin with a “losing
d. No player can act as substitute for more than one team
in the same tournament.
e. It shall be the responsibility of the team seeking a
substitute to mount him.
f. A “losing player substitute” can not automatically
play the next round match in the same tournament, unless
the tournament Committee is satisfied that no “eligible
substitute” (see definition below) is available
g. Teams are not permitted to change players once the draw
has been made.
h. A team will not be allowed more than two losing players
i. In matches with an international flavour, the captain
of the opposite side agrees
j. The handicap of players/substitutes will be computed
as under: -
a. Substitution before the game. The handicap of the substitute
will be used in computing the total handicap of the team.
b. Substitution during a game. The handicap of the player
having higher handicap shall be used in computing the team’s
total handicap irrespective of the period of substitution.
4. A. 2. Need For Substitution:
Non availability of a player already entered for that team
or inability of a player to continue during a match on a
account of injury.
4. A. 3. Time of substitution
a. Before the start of a team’s first game in that
b. Before the start of the same team’s next game in
c. During play on account of injury. For any other reason
to be determined by the umpires.
4. A. 4. Definition of a substitute
a. “Eligible substitute” i.e., a player who
has not played in that tournament up to the moment of substitution
and meets the handicap requirements pertaining to that substitution.
b. “Losing Player Substitute” A player who has
already played and lost in that tournament shall be allowed
as a substitute only in exceptional cases provided: -
i. The Tournament Committee is satisfied about the bonafide
need for a substitute
ii. A suitable player is not available as substitute. A
player would be considered suitable if his handicap is not
more than one goal less than the player being substituted.
iii. The handicap of the “losing player substitute”
will not be higher than the player being substituted.
4. A. 5. Implementation of the Substitution Role
a. Before a team’s first game of the tournament. Any
eligible substitute, subject to handicap limitations of
the limitations of the tournament for the team. Under no
circumstance can a losing player be permitted to substitute.
b. Before the start of a team’s next game in that
i. “Eligible Substitute” No restriction as long
as team remains qualified
ii. “Losing player substitute”. If no eligible
player is available, a losing player may be taken provided
the handicap of the losing player is not higher than that
of the player being substituted.
c. Substitution after start of a game
i. Any “eligible substitute” By his substitution
the team remains qualified i.e., (lower and upper handicap
limit of that tournament). The handicap of the higher player
ii. Losing Player Substitute. Only if an eligible substitute
is not available, a losing player may be taken, provided
the losing player’s handicap is not higher than that
of the player being substituted, though it can be a maximum
of 1 goal below. The substitute to play off the higher handicap.
A member of a team substituted before the start of a game
may join his team not later than the start of the second
chukker. However, if the handicap of the substitute lining
up at the start of the first chukker is lower than that
of the original member, the goal advantage will be reversed
in favour of the opposing team. If the substitute's handicap
is higher, the original member to play off the higher handicap.
A player substituted during the game may retake his place
at any time. A team whose bonafides for a substitute having
been established is unable to find a substitute who qualifies,
may be permitted to play with one player short.
4. A. 6. Penalty for violation of the Substitution Rules
Disqualification of the team. Exception to the above rules
may be permitted by the Tournament Committee in the case
of exhibition games. In the case of an international tournament
substitution as well as other rules will be as agreed between
the competing countries’ teams.
In all official tournaments, if – after 15 minutes
– a team fails to show up, it shall lose its match;
and if neither one of the teams show up during that time
period both the teams will eliminated from the tournament,
if it is a tournament by elimination. The organising authorities
of the tournament or the Umpires who are acting for them,
can waive the penalty just mentioned for a team, or both
teams, in case the cause for lateness is justified.
5. (a) Matches will be officiated by two mounted Umpires.
There will be a Referee assigned who will remain outside
of the field. When the two Umpires do not agree, the decision
of the Referee shall be final.
(b) In all matches, Goal Judges shall be appointed, each
of whom will inform the Umpires regarding goals or other
incidents that occur near their goals; however, the final
decision will be made by the Umpires.
(c) The authority cited above will be named by the organizing
committee of the tournament or match and cannot be rejected.
(d) The host club will appoint a Tournament committee, which
will consist of three or more members of the Club’s
Polo Committee. The quorum for a Committee decision shall
be two; the host club should ensure that at least two Committee
Members are present at each Tournament match. If more members
happen to be present, all members will be consulted. The
Umpire/Referee will have the freedom of appeal to the Committee
on any point on which he feels he cannot adjudicate.
(e) No player can dispute an infraction called by an Umpire
(f) The umpires’ authority begins when the umpires
take to the field and ends when they leave the field and
it shall include recommending top the IPA, suspension of
a player whose conduct is not in the best interest of the
sport. The Umpire shall have the power to impose a fine
(the amount not to exceed Rs. 500/-) payable to he IPA on
any team or member of a team failing to appear within a
reasonable time of the scheduled starting time of the game
or for any misconduct on the field such as a disrespectful
attitude towards the Umpire or other players, or for a violation
of the Rules during the progress of a game, and shall report
the same in writing to the appropriate IPA officials for
enforcement. All issues that are disputed can be submitted
by the captains of the teams in writing within 6 hours of
the end of the match to the organising committee of the
tournament or match and its decision will be final.
(g) Protests about the decisions of/or manner in which,
the Committee and/or officials conduct an event will be
considered by the IPA from any aggrieved member of a team,
its coach, or its sponsor, if such a protest has been lodged
with the IPA in writing within 6 hours of the conclusion
of the event in question and copies may be mailed at the
same time to the Committee, the officials and the Zonal
steward. The latter shall forthwith make an investigation
of the alleged charges and report his findings to the IPA.
After consideration of the protest the IPA shall make a
disposition of the case and notify all concerned parties
of its decision.
(h) Normally the referee adjudicates only when the umpires
disagree on a issue and chose to consult him. However, in
exceptional cases, if the referee observes that the umpires
are overlooking a mandatory rule due to an oversight, he
may call the umpires and advise them on the same.
6. All games and matches will have a designated official
timekeeper and a scorekeeper.
7. (a) Each period/chukker of the game will comprise of
seven minutes. Without subtracting any time played over
that . The maximum duration of a match will be six chukkers/periods.
The intervals between each period/chukker will be three
minutes. The interval at half time shall be five minutes.
(b) In matches of maximum length (six chukkers) played with
handicaps, the team with the greater handicap will give
to the team with lower handicap the total number of goals
that make up the difference between the handicaps of the
two teams. Goals scored under penalties and by handicap
shall count as goals scored. The number of goals awarded
by handicap is determined by finding the difference between
the total of the handicaps assigned by the IPA to the players
of one team and the total of the handicaps assigned by the
IPA to the players of the other team and multiplying one
sixth of that difference, times the number of chukkers (excluding
overtime chukkers) in the game in question. All fractions
shall be counted as half a goal. Whether or not a game shall
be played on a handicap basis shall be determined by the
committee. All errors regarding handicaps or the concession
of goals should be brought up and discussed before the beginning
of the match, since no claims will be admitted later, except
for observation made to the referee of the match regarding
any doubts to be resolved once the match is over.
(c) with the exception of the intervals cited above, the
game should be continuous and no time shall be deducted
or allowed for the change of horses during a period, except
as it is called for in Field Rule No. 22.
(d) All periods/chukkers, except for the last one, will
end after the established time has elapsed, as soon as the
ball goes out of the game, hits the side board; is whistled
dead, or thirty seconds have elapsed since the bell has
rung or the bugle sounded, at which time a second bell will
be rung or bugle blown and the period/chukker will end.
(e) A bell shall be rung or bugle blown to let the Umpires
know that the time for the period/chukker has ended. After
that, when the ball goes out of the field or touches the
sidelines, the Umpire shall blow the whistle to end the
period/chukker. The game shall continue until the Umpire
blows the whistle to end the period /chukker. The game shall
continue until the Umpire blows the whistle, except as noted
for the last period/chukker in Rule 7(h). If desired, one
can use a gun, horn, or any other signal instead of a bell.
(f) If there is an infraction called after the bell has
rung or bugle blown, the Umpire’s whistle will end
the period/chukker, and the penalty will be carried out
in the next period/chukker, in which case the penalty shall
be taken immediately, and the period/chukker will continue
under the conditions laid down in 7(d) except that the clock
will allow balance period or five seconds which ever is
g. The game can be stopped in two ways:-
i. FIRST: When The Time Shall Not Count. That is when the
clock can be stopped. To indicate this, the Umpire will
give one hard whistle to the time keeper. This is used to
indicate fouls, for Penalty No.7 and for cases such as Field
Rule No. 11, 14, 20 and 22.
ii. SECOND: When The Clock Is Not Stopped, Even Though The
Game Is Stopped. This occurs when the ball goes out of the
field, crosses over the goal-line or over the boards, the
sidelines or the backlines except if it is sent over the
backlines by a defender. As a general rule, the game will
stop automatically, although the clock continues; that is
to say the ball will be hit or thrown back into the field
after it crosses the backline or the sideline.
h. The final period/chukker will end with the first sound
of the final bell/note of the bugle, regardless of where
the ball is in the game, except in the case of a tie. In
the case of a tie, the final period/chukker will be extended
under the conditions of 7(d). If there is still a tie, in
that case, after a five minute interval, the game will start
again where the ball was whistled dead. For the first extra
chukker the goals shall not be widened. If the game goes
to a second extra chukker, the goals shall be widened to
16 yards (14.6 meters). The first team to score in the extra
chukker(s) wins the game.
i. In the case of a penalty taking place in the last twenty
seconds of the match, if the score is tied (or can be tied)
the timekeeper, before sounding the final bell or getting
the bugle blown will give a total of twenty seconds to the
game which will be counted from the moment the ball is hit
or hit at. If a goal is scored after the ball is put into
play, the final bell should ring or bugle blown and the
normal period/chukker would be ended. The match should end
as always with the first sound of the final bell or first
note of the bugle.
j. Once a match has begun, it should be played until the
end, except when stopped by the umpires for some unavoidable
cause that prohibits finishing the game the same day, such
as bad light or inclement weather. In such a case, the game
will be rescheduled at the first favourable opportunity;
to be decided by the organising committee of the tournament
and the game shall be resumed at the same point as it was
when it was interrupted i.e. the same score, the same period/chukker
of game, the position of the ball and the time lapsed before
the game was interrupted will be deducted from the continued
8. The team that makes most goals will win the game. Goals
may be awarded by handicap, penalty or Rule 7(b) or may
be scored from play.
9. No one shall be permitted to play without a polo helmet
equipped with a chin strap or a pagri so secured that it
does not fall off.
10. If, in the opinion of the organizing committee, the
colours of two competing teams are so similar that they
can create confusion, the team lower in the draw of the
tournament will play with another colour (in case both are
visiting/home teams). In case one of the teams is of the
home club, then the home team will change its colours.
11. (a) A Round Robin shall consist of three games of two
or more chukkers amongst three teams. Each game to end after
the first bugle/bell of the last chukker.
(b) Each team shall play two games, playing each team for
(c) Which two teams play in the first game shall be decided
by lot before its start. The second game shall be between
the loser of the first game and the team that idled in the
first game. Should, however, the first game result in a
tie, the team to compete against the team that idled in
the first game shall be decided by a lot. The third game
shall be between the team that idled in the first game and
the team that idled in the second game.
(d) The winner of the event shall be the team with the best
won-lost record. A tie between two teams in any one game
shall be counted as a draw for each. If two or three teams
have an equal won-lost record, the winner shall be that
with the largest number of net goals (i.e. the sum of its
winning margins minus the sum of its losing margins). In
the event there still exists a tie between two or three
teams, then the team scoring the maximum number of goals
shall be the winner. If a tie still results then the team
having the minimum goals scored against it will be the winner.
If a deadlock still exists the winner will be decided by
the toss of a coin.