TOPICS: What happens when a player moves a boule or the jack while measuring? When and how far may a team move the circle back before throwing out the jack for the next end? If the jack is too short, may the other team move the circle backwards before placing the jack for the next end?

Hello Friends,

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Forest asks (as did Philippe separately): “FIPJP rules have recently been modified concerning the movement of a boule while measuring (Article 28: The team, whose player displaces or disturbs the jack or one of the contested boules, while effecting a measurement, loses the point.) Up to now a player who gently bumps a boule (“it rocks in place but doesn’t change location”) has been held not to have displaced it. The new rule raises the following questions:

(1) The FIPJP rule regarding measurement is preceded by the wording “in an umpired game”. Since League games are not considered “umpired”, does this rule apply? (2) If the rule does not apply, may a player gently bump a boule while measuring without moving it and not be penalized? (2) Should a member of both teams observe a measurement to judge whether a boule has been displaced (moved)? (3) May a team member be allowed to hold a boule in place while being measured?”

My responses:
Answer 1) Forest cites Rules Art.28 above. The most recent edition of FIPJP Rules does NOT indicate the wording “in an umpired game” preceding the rule text in Art.28. So the rule applies to all games, with or without an arbitre present.

Answer 2) Yes, a member of both teams should observe the measurement of boules, to be sure that neither boule nor jack are disturbed. AND…Art.26 indicates that “During the time that an umpire is measuring[,] the players must be at least 2 metres away.” I am of the opinion that the same courtesy should be afforded to anyone who is making the measurement. Again, just my opinion in this case.

Answer 3) The rules do not specify whether another team member is allowed to hold a boule in place during measurement. To me, it seems foolhardy to even attempt such a gamble with a round object on an uneven surface. If the person measuring has a proper rigid tape-measure, then extra hands ‘preventing the objects from moving’ should be unwarranted.

Add’l comment) Art.26 indicates that measuring of a point is the responsibility of the player who last played, or their team-mate. Pragmatically speaking (writing), I would suggest that in the absence of an umpire, the person with the steadiest hands and best eyesight should do the measuring. If that steady hand happens to belong to an opponent of the team that last threw, and is doing you a favor by measuring, and he/she accidentally moves the boule/jack, then you should grant that person amnesty regarding the consequence.

Paul asks: “There seems to be some confusion (difference of opinion at least) on when the circle can be moved back from the marked jack, which team is allowed to move the circle, and how far back from the end line is permissible.”

My answer: “Ask the Umpire – Edition 5” contained the following from FIPJP Rules Art.7:
If the jack has not been thrown in accordance with the rules … the opposing team will place the jack in a valid position on the terrain. They may also move the circle back, in accordance with the conditions defined in these rules, if the first team’s positioning of the circle did not allow the jack to be thrown the maximum distance. [GC: max distance to pull the ring back is 10 meters from the end string line, PLUS the 50cm “buffer” as described in Art. 7, item 3 as above.]

So to expand upon Paul’s words above”…moved back from the marked jack”, it needs to mean “marked jack” from the previous end’s location.
A) If Team A won the previous scored point(s), and there isn’t least 10.5m (10m + 0.5m buffer) to the back string line, BEFORE TOSSING THE JACK, they have the option of pulling the ring backwards along the axis of that previous end’s direction to a maximum distance of 10.5m from the back string line. They may then toss the jack to any valid (legal) position.
B) If Team A fails to toss the jack to a valid position from a ring in a shortened legal area (i.e. less than 10.5m), then BEFORE PLACING THE JACK, Team B has the option of pulling the ring backwards along the axis of that previous end’s direction to a maximum distance of 10.5m from the back string line. They may then place the jack at any valid (legal) position.

At no time is it legal to move the ring forward to shorten the playing area.

For even greater minutiae, please read all of Article 7.

On a tangential note, one may place the ring right-up next to string lines. They need only be 1.5m from an obstacle or from a circle in an adjacent game. In Edmonds there are no fixed adjacent terrains and no obstacles*. So the exceptions are of no consequence unless EPC makes closely adjacent terrains out in the ball field.

* The wooden borders at EPC are not ‘obstacles’.

Thanks for your reading and participation in this forum. Please address more questions or comments to

Happy petanqueing!

G Conyers

The preceding rules interpretations are offered by EPC member Greg Conyers, NW Regional Umpire. They represent Greg’s interpretation of current petanque rules. Other umpires’ opinions may differ.