Today, the World Flying Disc Federation announced the latest rule changes for 2013, marking the first rule change in four years. The 2009 version of the rules will continue to be used in WFDF play until January 1, 2013, when the new rules will go into effect.
The new rules contain some interesting changes intended to bring the WFDF rules more in line with the USAU rules, facilitate better self-refereeing, and allow play to flow more smoothly.
Change to Stall Count (9.1)
The gap between “Stalling” and “One” has been removed. This means that at the start of the stall count, may now say “One immediately after they say “Stalling”. e.g.: “Stalling One”, pause, “Two”, pause, “Three”…
This is a welcome change to bring the stall count more in line with USAU rules. In my experience, most players were not aware of the pause after “Stalling” in the old rules and persisted in starting the count immediately saying “Stalling”. This should bring the rules in line with contemporary gameplay.
Change to Continuation (16.3)
Regardless of when a call is made, if the players involved from both teams agree that the foul, violation, or call did not affect the outcome, the play stands. e.g.: The thrower attempts a pass just after a Pick is called. The receiver drops the pass. The Pick call did not affect the receiver’s attempt to catch the pass (i.e. they didn’t slow down when they heard the pick call) there fore the turnover stands. Play must restart with a check.
This is a huge change to the continuation rules, making them very similar to USAU rules. Previously, players were able to use calls as “get out of jail free” cards, as any incomplete passes after a call would simply return to the thrower. Under the new rules, any calls that do not affect the outcome of a play will cause the play to stand, meaning that throwers will have to show more restraint when they hear a call.
Thrower calling Marking Infractions (15.5)
Only the thrower can call a Marking Infraction. However, any opposing player may still call a Travel Infraction. Marking Infractions called by non-throwers will have no affect. Marking Infractions include: “Fast Count”, “Double Team”, “Straddle”, “Disc Space”, “Contact”…
This is a very logical change to what, quite frankly, was a very head-scratching rule. In the 2009 version of the rules, any opposing player was technically able to call infractions like “Fast Count” or “Straddle”, even if they had little to no perspective to see the infraction being committed. The 2013 version of the rules allows only throwers to call these infractions.
Delay of Game (8.6.2, 10.1.4)
If a player is delaying play unnecessarily, a verbal warning must first be given (“Delay of Game”) and then the player must be given a chance to start play. If they do not, the opponent may check the disc in without consent (after a stoppage) or start the stall count before a pivot is established (after a turnover).
Although serious delay of game situations rarely happen, the fact that the earlier versions of the WFDF rules did not contain any penalties for delaying the game was a bit unsettling. Under the old rules, there were no repercussions for intentional game delays, something that could have given way to abuse for teams nearing a time cap. It is comforting to know that there are now consequences in writing should any player or team knowingly or unknowingly delay the game.
Stall count maximums (9.5)
The stall count maximums have been simplified:
- After an uncontested breach by the defense the stall count is reset to one (1).
- After an uncontested breach by the offense the stall count restarts at maximum
- After a contested stall-out the stall count restarts at maximum eight (8).
- After all other calls the stall count restarts at maximum six (6).
Removed ‘Double Turnovers’ (13.6)
After a turnover, if the player in possession places the disc on the ground, or intentionally drops the disc, it is no longer a ‘Double Turnover’. Instead the player must re-establish possession.
We’ve all suffered that inevitable mental lapse where we’ve made a great D, caught the disc, and then gingerly placed the disc on the ground for our favorite handler to pick up. Under the new rules, this will rightly no longer be a turnover.
In addition to the above major changes in the rules, the WFDF has both simplified a number of definitions and slightly changed some existing rules. Some of the notable changes:
- Changed the brick mark distance from 20 metres to 18 metres (2.5)
- Brings the distance in line with USAU rules
- Removed the need for a stoppage if the disc’s position is altered when stopping it from rolling (8.5)
- Added ability to signal (by extending one hand over the head) when goal line option will be taken after turnover in the defending end zone (13.11)
- Clarified that play should stop after a “goal” call is made (14.1.1)
- Note: this should prevent any turnovers from players who have scored and then spiked the disc, having the goal later called back
- Clarified what occurs after a player stops play incorrectly. Any subsequent play stands and play restarts with a check from the point where play stopped (15.8)
- Added the requirement for the defender to be within 3 metres of their opponent when calling a pick (18.3.1)
- This will be a much-welcomed change by many players. The previous version of the rules simply stated that the defender should be “guarding [their mark] closely”
- Allowed injured player to use a time-out instead of leaving the field after an injury that is not the result of contact with an opponent (19.1.3)
- Allowed any player to call a time-out between points, not just the captain (20.5)
Overall, the rule changes are logical and straightforward and should be welcomed not only by players accustomed to the USAU rules, but also by those who have played their whole careers under WFDF rules. The first WFDF-sanctioned event to use the new rules will be the European Championships of Beach Ultimate in Calafell, Spain, June 27-30, 2013.