Rules & Regulations
HEIGHT OF HORSES
1. The game can be played on horses of any height
SIZE OF THE FIELD
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 if boarded.
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.
SIZE OF THE BALL
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 balls.
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 IPA.
(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 that tournament
c. Under no circumstance can a team which is yet to start it’s first match of that tournament begin with a “losing player substitute”
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 as substitutes.
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 tournament.
b. Before the start of the same team’s next game in that tournament.
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 tournament
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 will count.
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.
UMPIRES, REFEREES AND OTHER OFFICIALS
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 or Umpires.
(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.
TIMEKEEPER AND SCORER
6. All games and matches will have a designated official timekeeper and a scorekeeper.
DURATION OF THE GAME
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 more
RUNNING AND STOPPING THE CLOCK
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 chukker.
HOW A GAME IS WON
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 one game.
(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.
DEFINITION OF FOUL
1. Any infraction of the Field Rules constitutes a foul, and the umpire can stop the game. However, the umpire is free not to call the foul if stopping the game or applying the foul or enforcing the foul results in a disadvantage to the team against which the foul was committed. Once the advantage to the fouled team has been given, the umpire cannot blow the whistle for the same foul.
2. The Umpire shall carry a whistle which he will use to stop the game. When he stops the game, the ball shall be considered dead until the game starts again, but the time would only be discounted according to General Rule No. 7 (g).
Note: If a whistle is blown for a foul at approximately the same time as a goal is scored:
i. The goal will be disallowed if the foul was by the attacking side and the foul is confirmed.
ii. The goal will be allowed if the foul was by the attacking side and the foul is over-ruled; or if the foul was by the defending side whether or not the foul is confirmed.
3. (a) Horses that are blind, showing vice or out of proper control will not be permitted to play.
(b) Players must take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of their ponies.
(c) Any pony showing blood, whether from the mouth, flanks or any other part, shall be removed from the game.
(d) After the fall of a pony, it shall be trotted up sound and fit to play before the player remounts.
(e) Any pony that is lame shall be removed from the game
(f) No mount shall be played for more than one team in tournaments of handicap 10 goals and over. The penalty for violations of this rule shall disqualify a team to participate in that match regardless of the players knowledge or intent. Unlike many other penalties which an umpire may elect not to exact, the penalty for violation of this rules must be enforced, if a referee, umpire or a member of the committee is notified of or otherwise becomes aware of the violation within 24 hours of the violation having taken place. IPA alone may waive this rule.
4. (a) Side blinders will not be permitted.
(b) Horseshoes with outside rims are not permitted. The rim should be on the inside of the horseshoe. Nails or hooks that stick out are not permitted, but the use of calks, whether permanent or temporary, are allowed as long as they are placed in the heels of the hind shoes. The calks will not exceed two cubic centimeters.
Note: calks are permitted so they can be replaced when they are worn out without having to re-shoe. Temporary calks should be as close as possible to the regular permanent calk. Toe grabs, screws, or frost nails may not be used.
See Explained Note: IV
PROHIBITED EQUIPMENT FOR PLAYERS
5. (a) Spurs that are pointed or sharp are not permitted.
(b) No player shall wear buckles or buttons on their boots in such a way that they can damage the equipment of another player or cause injury.
(c) Whips and/or spurs may not be used unnecessarily or excessively
(d) Polo clubs and umpires must ensure that, save for exceptional circumstances, whips are not used to strike ponies on the field of play except when the ball is in play.
(e) Umpires should at least start the game with a penalty 5(b) if a player strikes a pony on the field of play after the umpires have ridden on to the field of play and before the ball is in play.
(f) A player must not strike another player or his pony with his whip.
6. Nobody other than the players and the umpires shall enter the field during the game for any reason. The player who needs a mallet should go to the backline or the sideline to get help that he needs. No one shall enter the field to help him. Nobody should enter the safety zone during the game except for the players, the umpires, the referee, the goal judges and the mallet keepers. In case of injury to a player or a horse only medical/veterinary personnel and horse holders may enter the field.
START OF PLAY
7. At the beginning of the match, the two teams shall line themselves up in the middle of the field behind the centre line, each side on their respective side of the field. The umpire will throw the ball strongly between the players from a minimum distance of five meters, and the players must stay in place without moving until after the ball has left the umpire’s hand. If a player is on the wrong side of the line up, he may not make a play until he is behind a member of his own team.
HOW A GOAL IS SCORED
8. A goal is scored from play when the ball passes between the goal posts or the imaginary vertical lines produced by the inner surfaces of the goal posts and across and clear of the goal line. A ball on the line is still in play. In case the ball is broken, the larger broken part that passes between the goalposts counts for the score.
CHANGE OF ENDS
9. (a) After each goal, ends will be changed, except, when a goal is scored by the application of Penalty No. 1. Teams will change ends after half time if no goal has been scored. The game will resume at the same respective point on the field before the sides were changed. After scoring a goal, the game will start again in the middle of the field, as established in Field Rule No. 7.Players will be allowed reasonable time to reach the middle of the field at a slow canter to take their positions.
(b) If the umpires inadvertently allow a wrong alignment of the teams, it is their responsibility to correct the error at the end of the period/ chukker, if no goal has been scored.
BALL HIT OVER THE BACK LINE BY ATTACKERS
10. (a) If the ball goes over the backline, hit by a player from the attacking team, the defending team will put the ball back into play from the point where the ball crossed the backline, but at least three and one-half meters from the goalposts or the boards. No member from the attacking team can be closer than 27.45 meters or 30 yards, from the backline until the ball is hit or hit at while the defense can place themselves wherever they please.
(b) A reasonable amount of time will be allowed for the attacking team to find their places on the field, and the ball will be put back into play without undue delay after the umpire has ordered “play”.
BALL HIT OVER THE BACK LINE BY A DEFENDER
11. If the ball is hit over the backline by a player from the defending team, whether directly or after having bounced off his own horse, the boards or the goalposts, Penalty No. 6 will be applied. If before going out, the ball has touched any other player or horse, it will be put back into play according to Field Rule No. 10.
BALL HIT OUT
12. (a) For the ball to be considered out of bound, it must completely cross the sidelines or the boards.
(b) If the ball goes out of bounds over the sidelines or the boards, it must be thrown in by the umpire from a point just inside the side boards or 5 M inside the sideline where it went out in an imaginary parallel line to the two lines of the goal and between the two teams lined up on each side of this imaginary line. No player shall be positioned less than five meters from the umpire. The players must remain without moving until after the ball has left the hand of the umpire. A reasonable amount of time will be given for the players to line up.
RESUMING THE GAME AFTER AN INTERVAL
13. When the game resumes after an interval the ball will be put back into play at the place it would have been if the game had been continued without a time out. This is in accordance with Field Rule No. 9, 10, 12 or 23. If the ball had touched the boards without leaving the field at the end of the prior period, it would be put back into play according to Field Rule No. 12 as if it had passed over the boards. The umpire need not wait for players who are late.
BROKEN OR BURIED BALL
14. If the ball is damaged or buried, the umpire will stop the game and throw in a new ball as described in Field Rule No. 23.
NOTE: If possible, the game should be stopped when the ball is in a neutral position and new ball thrown in.
CARRYING THE BALL
15. A player shall not carry the ball or hit it with anything except his mallet. He may stop it with any part of his body. If a ball is caught by either a player or his horse in such a way that it cannot be returned to the field immediately, the umpire shall blow his whistle and start the game again at the place where the ball started to be carried.
RIGHT OF WAY
16. No player shall cross an opposing player who is travelling on the line of the ball, (understanding that the "line of the ball" means the line which the ball has travelled, and its extension), except at a distance where there is no risk of collision or danger to either player involved. If the line of the ball changes unexpectedly, (for example: glancing off a mount), the player who had the Right of Way must be given an opportunity to continue for a safe distance.
a. Two players, having followed the line of the ball, while attempting to ride one another off, have the Right of Way over any single player coming from any direction.
b. The player who follows the line of the ball on off-side of his horse, has the Right of Way over a player attempting to hit or meet the ball on his near-side.
c. A player on the off-side who meets the ball on the exact line of the ball, has the Right of Way over an opposing player following the line of the ball at an angle to the ball, except when he meets two players as in sub-paragraph (a).
d. No player shall cross the line of the ball in front of a player who has possession of the ball except at a distance where there is no possibility of collision or danger to either one of the players. If a player properly enters the line of the ball, another player cannot run into him from behind, but must take the ball on his near-side.
e. When two or more players are following the ball in the general direction the ball is travelling, the player that has the Right of Way is the one who travels at a lesser angle to the line of the ball. In case more than one player has the same angle, the player that has the line of the ball on his off-side has the Right of Way. The same rule applies in the case of players that come to meet the ball.
f. Any player who follows the line of the ball at an angle to its course has the Right of Way over any other player who meets the ball at the same angle.
g. No player shall be considered to have a right to the ball because he was the last one to hit it, if after hitting it, he deviates from the exact direction that the ball has travelled.
h. The right to the ball belongs to the player who hits from his off-side. If a player places himself on the near-side to hit the ball, and in this manner endangers any other player, he loses his right to the ball and must give way to a player who has placed himself in a position where he doesn't represent a danger to either player. (For example: The first player had been hitting the ball from the off-side. If two players are coming from opposite direction to hit the ball, they should hit from the off-side of their horses).
i. If one of several players is following on the line of the ball, and for any reason, the ball suddenly changes direction, creating a new line, the player who has been following the original line has the Right of Way, if he continues on the original line for a short period of time.
j. A player is considered to have entered along the established path that the ball has already travelled as opposed to the projected path that the ball has yet to travel, once the ball is ahead of his stirrup. This is true even if he entered the projected path first and the ball subsequently passes his stirrups. However, he may not slow down to allow the ball to pass his stirrup and pose no risk of collision or danger to other player/s.
k. If the line of the ball is on the near side of both players and they are not riding level, the player nearer the line of the ball must play it on his off-side and allow his opponent a near-side play.
l. A player in possession of the ball on the Right of way with an opponent in a position to attempt a defensive play must not walk or stop. Should the player walk or stop, the umpire must blow the whistle and throw the ball in towards the nearer sideboards or sidelines.
17. No player shall ride dangerously. For example:
a. Bumping at an angle that endangers a player or his horse or bumping a player behind the saddle.
b. Zigzagging in front of another player in such a manner as to force that player to pull up or risk a fall.
c. Riding horse over the legs of another horse risking a fall, etc.
d. Riding an opponent across or into the Right of Way of another player or players at an unsafe distance.
e. Riding towards an opponent in such a manner as to intimidate him or oblige him to change course or miss his stroke even though in reality no foul or cross was committed.
f. Two players from the same team cannot bump an opponent at the same time.
NOTE: While exercising their discretion in determining what is rough riding, umpires will consider the following:
i. Relative speeds of the two mounts. It is very dangerous to bump an opponent if you are not moving at approximately the same speed as he is moving, whether it be slower or faster.
ii. Relative size of the two mounts.
iii. Relative positions of the mounts.
iv. State of exhaustion of the mounts involved.
v. Lack of readiness of an opponent for the bump. Whenever a horse is knocked off balance, whether he falls or not, a dangerous bump has occurred, and the mere fact that some of the dangerous factors listed above were absent does not mean that a foul should not be called.
b. The rules give the umpire the opportunity to call a foul on either the player striking the ball or the opponent riding into the play. If in the opinion of the umpire the player striking the ball started his stroke while clear of an opponents mount, but did in fact hit into the legs of an opponent's mount as a result of the opponent riding into the stroke, then no foul is called on the player hitting the ball. Furthermore, if in the opinion of the umpire, the opponent dangerously rode into the stroke of the player on the ball, the umpire may call a foul on the opponent. By the same standard, if the player on the ball dangerously strikes into the mount of an opponent who was with him when he began his stroke, the striker may be called for a foul.
Two situations where the umpire would usually call a foul on the opponent for riding into the player’s on-going swing are:-
i. Where the opponent endangers his own mount by causing it to be struck by the players mallet and,
ii. Where the opponent endangers a player who is leaning way out making a shot (usually but not necessarily a back shot) by riding up fast from behind at the last minute between the ball and the mount of the player making the shot, causing the player making the shot to be hit from behind by the head of the opponent’s mount. Ordinarily, no foul would be called against the opponent who attempts to legitimately ride off another player on the same side as and at the same time as the player is merely dribbling the ball or for merely spoiling a player’s shot by safely riding him off on that side. Also ordinarily no foul would be called against a player who attempts an under the neck shot at a ball which is under his mount’s neck even though his follow through might extend across the path of the mount of an opponent who had been attempting to ride him off off on the other side when he began his stroke. If, however, his mallet actually strikes the opponent or the opponent’s mount, a foul would usually be called, or, if the ball was in the path of the opponent’s mount, it would be a foul to try to hit it.
ROUGH OR ABUSIVE PLAY
18. (a) No payer can seize with his hand or strike or push with his head , hi hand, arm or elbow another player but a player can push with is arm from above the elbow, as long as the elbow is kept close to his side.
(b) No player may physically abuse another player or the player’s own or another player’s pony.
(c) A player deliberately striking another player or another player’s pony with hand, whip or stick shall be ejected from the remainder of the game worth no substitution in accordance with penalty 10 and the incident shall be reported by the umpire to the appropriate disciplinary committee.
MISUSE OF THE STICK
19. (a) No player may hook an opponent’s stick, unless he is on the same side of the opponent’s pony as the ball, or in a direct line behind, and his stick is neither over or under the body or across the legs of an opponent’s pony, nor may any player hook or strike at an opponent’s stick unless all of the opponent’s stick is, below the opponent’s shoulder level. The stick may not be hooked or struck unless the opponent is in the act of striking the ball.
Note: The act of striking the ball is defined as the final downward motion of the stick head towards the ball. A preparatory or upward swing of the stick is not included in the act of striking the ball.
(b) No player may reach immediately over and across or under and across any part of an opponent’s pony to strike at the ball, nor may he hit into or amongst the legs of an opponent’s pony.
(c) No player may intentionally strike another player or his pony or another player’s pony with his polo stick.
(d) No player may use his stick dangerously, or hold it in such a way as to interfere with another player or his pony such as : -
i. Taking the full swing at the ball from the throw-in or in a melee in such a way as to endanger other players or ponies.
ii. Striking at the ball in the air in such a way as to endanger other players or ponies.
iii. Taking a full swing under a pony’s neck in such a way as to endanger another player or pony riding alongside.
iv. Striking an opponent’s stick in such a way as he may cause injury to that player or his pony.
v. Striking the ball after the whistle.
vi. “Windmilling” or “helicoptering”.
LOSS OR BREAKAGE OF EQUIPMENT
20. (a) If a player loses his headgear the umpire shall stop the game as soon as an opportunity occurs that favours neither team
(b) In the event of broken tack or equipment:-
i. The game shall be stopped immediately if the breakage presents a risk to player or pony such as:-
a. Broken girth.
b. Broken martingale
c. Broken rein, if single
d. Broken or loose bit.
e. Loose bandages or boots.
ii. The game should not be stopped immediately, but as soon as an opportunity occurs that favours neither team for breakage of a non-dangerous nature such as:-
a. Lost or broken stirrup leather or iron.
b. Lost or broken curb chain.
c. Lost bandages or boots.
iii. When time is given for lost or broken equipment, the player may return on another pony.
21. No dismounted player can hit the ball or intervene in the game.
ACCIDENT OR INJURY
22. (a) If a horse falls, or a horse or player is injured, or in the case of damage to the equipment of a horse, which in the opinion of the umpire can be of significant danger to the player or other players, the umpire can stop the game. What constitutes a fall is left up to the judgment of the umpire.
(b) If a player falls off a horse, the umpire need not stop the game unless he feels the player is injured or is endangered.
(c) When a game has been stopped according to (a) above, the umpire will resume the game in the manner described in Field Rule 23. immediately when the player is ready to go back into the game. The umpire need not wait for any other player who is not ready to start.
(d) If a player is injured, he will be given 15 minutes to recuperate. If the injured player cannot play after 15 minutes, the umpire will start the game with a substitute in his place. However, if the injured player eventually recovers, he can go back into the game to replace the substitute with the permission of the umpire when the ball is dead.
(e) If a player be disabled by a foul so that he is unable to continue, Penalty 10(a) may be exacted, or the side which has been fouled shall have the option of playing a substitute. Penalty 1, 2 or 3 shall be exacted in any case.
RESTARTING THE GAME WHEN THE BALL HAS NOT GONE OUT OF THE FIELD
23. If for any reason, the game has to be stopped and the ball has not gone out of bounds, it will be started again in the following manner; The umpire shall stand at the point where the ball was when he blew his whistle and face the closest lateral line but at least 20 meters from the boards or sideline. The two teams will take their positions on opposite sides of the imaginary line parallel to the goal. No player shall be closer than five yards to the umpire. The umpire will throw the ball strongly between the teams towards the closest sideline. The players must remain stationary until the ball has left the umpire's hand.
DECISION LEFT TO THE UMPIRES’ DISCRETION
24. If during a match, there is an incident or an issue that is not covered by these rules, such an issue shall be decided by the umpire or umpires. If the umpires cannot reach a decision, the decision will be left to the referee. There are varying degrees of dangerous play, or play which does not conform to the rules which gives the advantage to the team that attempts to abuse the rules. The umpires in their judgment must control these situations. When more than one foul is committed, the penalty to be applied is left to the discretion of the umpires and will be submitted to the referee only in cases where the umpires are not in agreement as to the severity of the penalty.
For undue repetition of careless or deliberate fouls by one or both teams, the umpire should exact a more severe penalty for each occurrence until conduct in the best interest of the game resumes.
SELECTION OF PENALTIES
a. There are degree of dangerous play and unfair play which give the advantage to the team fouling. The penalty to be inflicted is left to the discretion of the umpires and shall only be referred to the referee in the event of the umpires disagreeing on the penalty.
b. (i) Personal fouls involving unsportsman like conduct such as, but not limited to:-
a. Disrespect towards the officials.
b. Arguing with the umpires or other officials.
c. Foul or abusive language to anybody on the field.
d. Appealing for fouls verbally or with a stick.
(ii) Must, at a minimum, be penalised progressively as follows:-
e. Penalty for first offence.
f. A more severe penalty if a penalty has been previously called.
g. Penalty 10 (player excluded) will be awarded with a player being suspended from the reminder of the chukker.
h. Penalty 10 (player excluded) will be awarded with a player being suspended from the game.
i. This does not preclude the umpires imposing Penalty 10 (player excluded) at the first offence.
c. If in the opinion of the umpire, a player commits a dangerous or deliberate foul in the vicinity of goal in order to save a goal Penalty 1 (goal) will be awarded.
TAKING OF PENALTIES
a. Once the umpire has said “play” just touching of the ball with the mallet, even if only to tee up the ball, constitutes the ball being hit.
b. When taking penalties 2,3,4,6 or 5(a) within the 60 yard line, the hitter and his team members, after the initial hit at the ball may not hit or hit at the ball with more than a half stroke, nor may they hit the ball in such a way that the umpire considers to be dangerous, until the ball has been hit or hit at by an opponent or the whistle blows.
c. Teeing up building a tee is not allowed, one player only may reposition the ball.
d. In all free hits, the ball shall be considered in play the moment it has been either hit or hit at and missed. The player shall hit the ball, or hit at it, in the first attempt, the striker is not allowed to go over the ball, or circle during the final approach, or do an excessively long preparation run.
e. In all free hits, none of the players of the fouling side can place himself behind the ball. “Behind the ball” should be interpreted as being behind the line parallel to the back line and running through the point from which the penalty is being taken. Any attempt by a defender to approach the striker from behind that line shall be penalised.
The committee also recommends the following :-
a. The new IPA Rule Book should be reframed in keeping with the format of the FIP Rule Book.
b. IPA should play a greater supervisory role in the conduct of tournaments at all centers so as to more responsive to the needs and demands of the players and the teams.
c. IPA should take concrete measures to improve the standard of umpiring.
(Maj. Gen B S Suhag)
(Maj. Gen M S Sandhu)
(Brig V P Singh)
PENALTY NO 1 – PENALTY GOAL
1. (a) If in the opinion of the umpires, a player commits a deliberate or dangerous infraction to save a goal, in the vicinity of the goalmouth, the goal will be awarded to the team which has been fouled.
(b) Once the game resumes, the ends will not be changed and the ball will be thrown in from the point where the infraction was committed towards the nearest sideline.
PENALTY NO 2 - THIRTY YARD PENALTY
2. (a) A free hit at the ball from a point situated 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the center of goal line of the team which committed the infraction, or if preferred, from the point where the infraction was committed. (This is at the option of the captain of the team that was fouled). The entire team that committed the infraction to remain behind its backline and at least 30 yards from the ball but outside the goal until the ball is hit or hit at. Once the ball is put into play, no one from the defending team may come on the playing field from between the goalposts. The players from the team that executes the penalty shall be behind the 30 yards line, or where the ball is placed.
(b) If, in executing Penalty No. 2, in the opinion of the umpire, the free hit would have resulted in a goal, but was stopped by the team which committed the infraction, (by coming from between the goalposts or by crossing the backline before the ball had been hit), the shot shall be considered as a goal for the team that had been fouled.
PENALTY NO 3 - FORTY YARD PENALTY
3. (a) A free hit at the ball from a point situated 36.60 meters (40 yards) from the center of the goal line of the team committing the infraction. The whole team that committed the infraction shall remain behind its backline, but outside the goal until the ball is hit or hit at.
(b) If, in executing Penalty No. 3 in the opinion of the umpire, the free hit would have resulted in a goal but was stopped by the team which committed the infraction (by coming from between the goalposts or by crossing the backline before the ball had been hit) the shot shall be considered as a goal for the team which had been fouled.
PENALTY No. 4 - SIXTY YARD PENALTY
4. A free hit at the ball from a point situated 54.90 meters (60 yards) from the center of the goal line of the team which committed the infraction. No one from the team that committed the infraction can be less then 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball. The team that was fouled may place themselves wherever they wish.
PENALTY NO. 5 - FREE HIT
5. (a) A free hit at the ball from where it was when the infraction was committed but at least four meters from the boards or from the sidelines. No one from the team that committed the infraction can be at a point less than 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball. The team that was fouled may place themselves wherever they wish.
(b) A free hit at the ball from the center of the field. Players from the team that committed the infraction must be no less than 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball. The team that was fouled may place themselves wherever they wish.
PENALTY No. 6 - SIXTY YARD PENALTY
6. A free hit at the ball from a point situated 54.90 meters (60 yards) from the backline at the place where the ball went over the backline but at least four meters from the boards or the sidelines. No one from the team that committed the infraction can be closer than 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball; whereas the team that was fouled can place themselves wherever they wish.
PENALTY NO. 7 - ANOTHER HIT
7. (a) If the team that committed the infraction does not act correctly in executing Penalty No. 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6, another free shot at the ball will be given to the team that was fouled or against whom the infraction was committed, unless it has scored a goal or a goal is awarded.
PUTTING THE BALL BACK INTO PLAY BY THE DEFENDERS
7. (b) If the fouled team does not execute correctly Penalty No. 2 or 3, it will be conceded to the defenders by putting the ball into play from the middle of the goal in front of the goal line. No one from the attacking team can be closer than 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball until the ball has been hit or hit at, whereas the defenders can place themselves anywhere they wish.
PUTTING THE BALL INTO PLAY FROM THE 30 YARD LINE
7. (c) If the attacking team does not correctly execute the Field Rule No. 10, the defenders will be allowed to put the ball into play from the 30 yard line, in front of the place where the ball was first put into play (or should have been put into play). No one of the attacking team can be closer than 27.45 meters (30 yards) from the ball until it has been hit or hit at, whereas the defenders can place themselves anywhere they wish.
NOTE: If in executing Penalty No. 7 (b) or (c) a foul is committed by the attacking team, the defending team shall be awarded a Penalty No. 5 with the ball placed at the Umpire’s discretion. (d) When both teams simultaneously break the rules regarding the execution of Penalty No. 2 or 3, another shot at the ball will be allowed from. the same place and the same circumstances as before.
PUTTING THE BALL INTO PLAY BY THE UMPIRE
8. In case of an unjustified delay in putting the ball into play, the umpire will order the ball be put into play, immediately and if his instructions are not followed, he will blow the whistle and will throw the ball perpendicular to the backline from the point where it should have been put into play with both teams aligning themselves in the same position as if it had previously been put into play.
9. (a) For violation of Field Rule No. 3 the umpire shall rule that a horse must be removed from the field and will not be permitted to re-enter the game.
9. (b) For violation of Field Rule No. 4 the umpire shall rule that a horse be removed from the field and will not allow it to return to the game again until the reason for the infraction is eliminated.
9. (c) For violation of Field Rule No. 5 the umpire shall order that the player in question leave the field and will not allow him to return to the game again until the cause for the infraction has been eliminated.
PLAYER ORDERED OFF
10. (a) If a player is disabled by a deliberate foul to the extent the umpire permits or orders his retirement from the game, the Captain of the team fouled shall designate the removal of a player from the fouling team whose handicap is nearest above that of the disabled player. If the disabled player's handicap is higher than that of any player on the fouling team, any member of that team may be designated. In the event of a handicap game, there shall be no change in the handicap from as it was at the commencement of the game. In the alternative the team fouled shall have the option of playing a qualified substitute.
10. (b) The Umpire may exclude a player for all or any portion of the remaining periods of a game in case of a deliberate, dangerous foul or conduct prejudicial to the game, and he may, or may not, allow a substitution for the removed player during the exclusion. In the event substitution is allowed, that player shall be of even or less handicap and there shall be no change in the handicap from as it was at the commencement of the game.
The field should be clearly marked at the centre with a T and at all boundaries where there are no side boards and the edges and centre of the 30, 40, and 60 yard lines at each end of the field.
a. The surface of the field should be grass cut smooth and short enough for the ball to roll straight and easily.
b. The referee, the time keeper and the scorer should be provided a suitable (preferably elevated) vantage point along the side at the centre of the field so that their vision of the game will not be impaired.
Standard Equipment for Players
Although not required by rules other standard equipment usually includes knee-length brown boots, white breeches and protective knee guards.
Equipment for Umpires
Too often there is a wide variance in uniforms worn by umpires. For case of identification and safety reasons, the following uniform is preferred for umpires.
a. Canary or white breeches (not jeans or chaps)
b. Black and White vertical stripe shirt, long or short sleeved.
c. Suitable cap or hat is optional. (A cap is to be preferred). Straw or flat wide brimmed, "Cowboy" or planter style hat should not be worn for safety reasons. A wide brimmed hat may blow off either scaring a horse or causing unnecessary delay while it is being retrieved.
d. Good audible whistle and ball bag for each umpire, pick up sticks are optional.
e. For goal judges : white surcoat or shirt.
Changing of Mounts
It is mandatory to bandage, gaiter or put Boots on all four legs of a mount. Any type of bridle or saddle or none at all may be used provided the tack is not dangerous and the mount is under proper control. However, English tack is generally used. Two sets of reins are advisable for safety
A player should never be allowed time out for the purpose of replacing a dropped or broken mallet.
Latest Change in Rules
The Handicapping and Rules Committee of the Indian Polo Association in their meeting held on 27 Jul 2011 had amended the following field rules of polo.
a. 60 yard penalty will be one time hit. No tapping is allowed.
b. 40 yard penalty is now defended.
c. Hooking the preliminary swing of the back hander is now allowed.
The above rules will be effective with immediate effect.