Ten Critical FPUSA Rules

Our very own Club Umpire, Allen Cassady, has released a revised version of his famous “Ten Critical Rules”. This is a wonderful synopsis of what you should know about how to play the game.

Ten Critical FPUSA Rules


When it’s your team’s turn to play:

1. Filling a Hole: When it’s your turn to play, you or a teammate may smooth one hole made by a previously thrown boule. You may not smooth a ball track, remove or stamp down an obstacle, sweep in front of your target boule, or smooth an area as a landing spot.

2. Marking the Circle: Mark the circle before you throw the jack. In an umpired game, failure to mark the circle can result in a yellow card warning for the first violation and disqualification of a boule for the second violation, though an umpire may just caution you informally for the first violation and save the yellow card for the second violation.

3. Foot Faults: Keep both feet entirely within the circle; keep both feet on the ground until your boule lands.

4. Time Limit: Take no more than one minute to throw your boule after the opponent’s throw has landed and stopped. If a measurement is required, the one minute begins when the measurement is decided. However, if time is taken to examine the situation prior to the measure, that time will be deducted from the one minute allowed.

5. Jack Knocked Out of Bounds: If your throw knocks the jack out of bounds, pick up the circle and carry it to where the jack had been marked so that it may be placed around the mark; or, if the jack had not been marked, place the circle where the jack went out of bounds. Apply the rules for counting points when the jack is dead. The team that was the last to score throws the jack to start a new end.

6. Picking Up The Circle: If you have played the last boule of the end, pick up the circle, carry it to the other end, and drop it around or behind the jack where it will not disrupt the measuring of boules and the counting of points. Remember that you are not necessarily the player responsible for the correct placement of the circle—that is the responsibility of the team that won the end and is usually performed by the player who will throw the jack.

7. Placing the Circle: If you are throwing the jack to begin a new end, place the circle around the jack where it ended up in the previous round or, if you choose, step back the circle to give you room to throw the jack the maximum allowable distance. The jack doesn’t have to be in the center of the circle, just within it.

8. Measuring: The team that just played makes the first measure, then the other team may measure. Don’t intrude on the opponent’s measure. If you have doubts concerning their decision, wait until they step away, then step forward and make your own measure. For this purpose, each team must have appropriate measuring instruments. At minimum, each team should have a 2m or longer tape measure. In addition, a 1m folding measure with a sliding extension is highly recommended. If an umpire is called to measure, players must stand at least 2 meters away while the umpire is measuring.

When it’s your opponent’s turn to play:

9. After Throwing and Gaining the Point: You and your teammates must immediately proceed to a valid standing area so that the opponents, now in their 1-minute time limit, have clear room to examine the situation and plan their next play.

10. Where to Stand: Stand beyond the jack, at least 2 meters from the line of play, when an opponent is playing. The line of play extends beyond the jack, so you cannot stand on the other side of the jack in line with the opponent’s next throw. You may also stand behind the circle, but standing beyond the jack gives you a better view and prepares you to examine the results of your opponent’s throw and plan your next play. Just don’t stand between the circle and the jack. Stand still and don’t talk during the regulation time allowed for the opponents to plan and execute their next play. When a teammate is playing, you may stand anywhere you wish.

Allen Cassady – Club Umpire!

Allen Cassady traveled to Morganton, NC (the site of the tournament) and met up with Gary Jones (National Umpire, Carolina Petanque) and passed both his written and practical tests to become certified by FPUSA as a Club Umpire! Congratulations Allen! We’re all quite proud of you! Here is Allen’s version of the story:

As some of you know, I’ve been pursuing an FPUSA umpire certification. I took the exam yesterday in Morganton, NC, under National Umpire Gary Jones. I passed the exam and will now be certified as an FPUSA Club Umpire, effective January 1.

“Club Umpire” is the entry level of FPUSA umpiring. The next higher levels are “Regional Umpire” and “National Umpire.” A Club Umpire is authorized to officiate alone at club level events, but not at FPUSA sanctioned regional and national events, where a Club Umpire would serve as an assistant umpire under an experienced higher-level umpire. To qualify for the next higher level of Regional Umpire, I will have to serve at least three years as a Club Umpire, officiate in a minimum number of events, be nominated by an FPUSA official, and pass the Regional Umpire examination.

The Club Umpire examination consisted of a written test of 25 multiple-choice questions and a practical test to demonstrate measuring ability, included the requirement to measure with one knee on the ground. Gary set up a number of jack and boule situations that tested the ability to measure with four different measuring instruments–calipers, folding rule with extension, 2m tape measure, and 10m or longer tape measure. I passed all of those tests.

On the 25-item written examination, I answered 24 correctly, missing on one. I had concentrated my studies on the playing rules and answered all playing rule questions correctly, but tripped up on one of the administrative rules. The question I answered incorrectly dealt with who must approve when two teams assigned to a specific terrain for their game want to switch to a different terrain. I reasoned that because the organizing committee assigned the terrains, any change must be approved by the organizing committee. But the correct answer was “the umpire.”

The one requirement left is that I must have been an FPUSA member for two years. I will complete that requirement on January 1, when the FPUSA Sports Director will send me my Club Umpire certificate and badge.

Thanks to all of you who had to tolerate my one-knee-on-the-ground practice measurements.



Allen and Heidi representing Classic City Petanque in Morganton, NC