Boccia England have received notice that BISFed have released a new version of the International Boccia Rules. Rule revisions are conducted every quadrennial, in line with the Paralympics. The new full rules can be viewed here and we have summarised the main changes below. 

These rules will be implemented at the next Boccia England competition. To find out when our competitions are taking place, please click here. Please note that Boccia England have no immediate plans to introduce; 

  • Male/Female split in individual divisions under 3. Types of Play.   
  • Ball licensing guidelines, please see our previous statement here. 
  • Pre match ball checks. 

To help bring athletes, volunteers, and coaches up to speed with any changes Boccia England will be hosting online training sessions.  

Please note that BISFed have also released a new version of the Competitions and Ranking Manual. Boccia England will review this document and inform members of updates when relevant.  BISFed are also due to release a Classification Rules update which we will inform you of in due course. 


New rule summary changes: 

3.2 Pair Matches 

Pair BC3 - Competitors must be classified as BC3 Athletes. Each Pair must have one male and one female Athlete. Each Athlete is assisted by a Ramp Operator who must abide by the Ramp Operator Rules (ref.: 3.5) Also, one Coach or one Coaching Assistant (CA) may accompany each Pair to the Court. During each End, the Coach/CA must sit by the score table in the designated Coach section.  

Pair BC4 - Competitors must be classified as BC4 Athletes. Each Pair must have one male and one female Athlete. Foot players may be assisted by a Sport Assistant who must abide by the Sport Assistant Rules (ref.: 3.5). Also, one Coach or one Coaching Assistant (CA) may accompany each Pair to the Court. During each End the Coach/CA must sit beside the score table in the designated Coach section. 

3.3 Team Matches 

Competitors must be classified as BC1 or BC2 Athletes. A Team must play the match with three Athletes and each Team must have, at least one male Athlete, and one female Athlete, one of whom must be a BC1 Athlete. There are no substitutes. (Substitutions might be allowed at youth events; if allowed, this will be indicated in that Competition’s Technical document.) 

3.6 Coach  

One Coach or Coaching Assistant per side is allowed to enter the Warm Up area, the Call Room and the FOP for each Division (ref.: 7.2, 8.2). This includes the Individual Division. 

Assistive Devices - updates 

5.2 A fixed or temporary accessory attachment on the ramp may not be used for sighting/aiming/orienting the ramp. This includes hoops, rings, and holders. Any side rail or other protrusion must not exceed the height (diameter) of the ball. The end/top rail must not exceed the height of the side rails. 

5.4 5.4 There is no restriction on the length of the pointer used by the Athlete to release the ball from the ramp (ref.: 15.5.4.) The pointer must be attached directly to the Athlete. (head, mouth, arm, leg, etc.). Pointers must have direct contact with the ball (and the Athlete) when releasing the ball. The release of the ball must be caused by the force of the Athlete using the pointer. Lifting or lowering a gate is not legal. Strings, ribbons, cloth strips, etc., are not pointers. Approved pointers will receive validation stickers. 

5.5, 13.5 Two-way swing – clarification on when the ramp must be swung. 

5.5 After the Referee presents the Jack, and before propelling the Jack, the Athlete propelling must clearly swing their ramp at least 20 cm to the left and 20 cm to the right – hereinafter referred to as “the two-way swing” (ref.: 15.5.9). (This ensures that the Ramp Operator cannot assist in lining up the first shot, while the Referee is otherwise occupied.)  

For tie-break Ends, in both Individual and Pair play, each Athlete must make the two-way swing prior to propelling their first ball (for Pairs, this is a simultaneous swing), but only after the Referee indicates it is their turn (ref: 13.5). The ramp must also undergo the two-way swing before propelling any penalty ball. Athletes that have balls remaining must reorient the ramp before releasing their ball by making the two-way swing when they or their teammate returns from the playing area (for Pairs, this is a simultaneous swing - both Athletes MUST swing their ramp prior to the release of the ball). If the Athlete has no balls remaining, he/she does not need to make this swing (ref.: 15.5.10). It is not required to swing the ramp between the other plays. 

6.4 Adaptations to wheelchairs.  

6.4.1 Athletes are permitted to use postural supports on their competition wheelchair for the purpose of supporting stabilisation of the body. These supports may include pelvic straps, chest straps or harnesses, ankle straps, pommels, leg/foot straps, thoracic supports. This type of support must be reviewed, approved and documented during the Classification process.  

6.4.2 Any additional device added to the Athlete’s sport specific wheelchair will be reviewed by both Referees and Classifiers. NO additional device may be added to the sport wheelchair that will provide additional stability, or control or direct the Upper Limb/Lower Limb (UL/LL) when propelling the ball. 6.4.3 A Referee or Classifier has the authority to ask the Athlete to remove any added undocumented device, that is deemed to give the Athlete an unfair advantage when propelling the ball into the playing area (e.g., an external guide that assists the direction of a throw/kick/release). 

10.1 On Court Warm Up  

Once on court, the Athletes will position themselves in their designated throwing boxes. The Referee will indicate the start of a 2-minute warm up during which time each Side may propel all their balls, (including the Jack). During the warm up time Athletes, SA, RO, and equipment must not breach the opponents’ throwing boxes. A ramp may NOT overhang the side-lines to infringe on an opponents’ space during warm up. 

The warm up is finished when both Sides have played all their balls or when 2 minutes have expired, (whichever comes first.) 

Equidistant scoring balls – clarification  

10.12 When determining which Side is to play next, if two or more scoring balls of different colours are equidistant from the Jack, and the score is equal (1:1; 2:2) it is the Side that threw last that must play again. The Side to play will then alternate until either the equidistant relationship is disturbed, or one Side has played all of its balls. If scoring balls are equidistant but the score is not equal (2:1), the Side with the fewer equidistant balls will play. Play will then continue as normal. If a newly played ball disturbs the equidistant relationship, but remains to make a different but still equidistant scoring relationship, that same colour must play again. 

10.14 Dropped ball  

If an Athlete drops a ball, it may be replayed. Balls that land in the playing area are "balls in play" Balls that stay behind the throwing line, even in the opponent’s throwing box, are "dropped" and may be replayed. There is no limit to the number of times a ball may be replayed and the Referee is the sole arbiter. In this case, time will not be stopped. 

Move out of the way 

10.5.1 All Athletes must be “Out of the Way” to allow opponents free access to the playing area. Getting “Out of the Way” must be done quickly, and if the Referee decides access is being denied, a yellow card may be given to the offending Athlete (ref 15.9.4 or 15.9.5). In the BC3 Division ROs and equipment (including the ramp and RO’s chair) must be “out of the way”. 

Tie Break

13.3 If the score is tied after regulation number of Ends in a match (and after any penalty balls have been played; the Referee will perform a coin toss before announcing the “One Minute”. The Side that did not make the coin toss call in the Call Room, will make the call for the tie break. The winner of this coin toss decides which Side will play the first coloured ball. The Referee will then retrieve the Jack (or penalty ball) from the floor of the playing area and make the “One Minute!” call. 

One Ball Penalty 

The target box for penalty balls has increased in size to 35cm x 35cm. This relates to rule 15.2.1. 

Technical time outs - clarification 

19.1 Once per match, if any equipment breaks, time must be stopped and the Athlete will be given a one ten (10) minute technical time out to repair their equipment. In a Pairs match, an Athlete may share a ramp with his/her teammate if necessary. A replacement ramp may be substituted between Ends (the Head Referee must be notified of this). Repair items, including a replacement ramp, may come from outside the FOP. An Official (Liner, Timer, Referee…) must accompany the personnel doing the repair. If the equipment cannot be repaired the athlete must carry on playing with the broken equipment or forfeit the match (ref.: 11.8). 

Protests - Protests will be settled immediately. 

20.1 During a match a Side may feel that the Referee has overlooked an event or made an incorrect decision, which affects the result of the match. At that time, the Athlete/captain of that Side may draw the Referee's attention to this situation and seek clarification. The time must be stopped (ref.: 17.10).  

20.2 During the match an Athlete/captain may request a ruling from the HR, whose decision is final and the match continues. No further protests can be made. If overhead cameras are in use, the HR may use such evidence in reaching a decision