Wheelchair Rugby Rules Summary
THE DOCUMENT BELOW IS NOT THE OFFICIAL RULES OF WHEELCHAIR
RUGBY. THIS DOCUMENT HAS BEEN CREATED AS A SUMMARY ONLY. FOR
A COMPLETE DESCRIPTION OF THE GAME, INCLUDING RULES, CONSULT THE
RULES FOR THE SPORT OF WHEELCHAIR RUGBY
Field of Play and Equipment
Wheelchair Rugby is played on a regulation hardwood basketball
court measuring 28m by 15m. The court is marked with boundary
lines, a centre line, a centre circle, and two key areas.
centre line divides the court into a front court and back court
area. A teamís back court includes their goal line and key; teams
score in their front court, which includes the opponentís goal
line and key area. The centre line is considered to be part of the
key areas are located on the two end lines. They are 8m wide and
1.75 metres deep. The part of the end line that is in the key area
is called the goal line. The ends of the goal line are marked by
Wheelchair rugby is played with a regulation volleyball.
athletes compete in manual wheelchairs. There are detailed rules
specifying the permitted design and construction of chairs. These
rules are designed to ensure the safety of the players, and to
prevent anyone from gaining an unfair mechanical advantage based
on the design of their chair.
Players and Officials
team consists of up to twelve players. Teams are mixed; men and
women can play on the same team.
players have a classification. The classification is a measure of
their functional physical ability, and ranges from 0.5 (the
lowest) to 3.5 (the highest). Players with different
classifications play different roles on the court. Classification
is conducted by doctors, physiotherapists, and other trained
team can field four players at one time. The total permitted
classification point value of all players on the court is 8.0 per
team. This requires teams to field a mix of players with different
classification point values.
team has one or two designated Captains who are responsible to
communicate with the game officials.
game is supervised by two Referees, who are responsible to ensure
that the game is decided fairly and within the rules. They are
assisted by three table officials: a Scorekeeper, a Timekeeper,
and a Penalty Timekeeper. A third referee, the Technical
Commissioner, supervises the work of the table officials.
Timing, Scoring, Starting and Stopping
game consists of four eight-minute quarters. The game clock is
started when the ball goes into play and is stopped at each
stoppage in play.
There is a one-minute break between the first and second quarters,
a five minute break at half time, and a one minute break between
the third and fourth quarters. It takes about one hour and fifteen
minutes to play a typical game from start to finish.
team with the highest number of points at the end of four quarters
is the winner. If the score is tied, an over-time period of three
minutes is played. The team with the highest number of points at
the end of the over-time period is the winner. If the score is
still tied, additional periods of over-time are played until one
game starts with a tip-off. Two players, one from each team, enter
the centre circle and line up on either side of the centre line.
The referee tosses the ball into the air between the two players,
who try to tip it towards a team-mate. The game clock begins the
moment the ball is touched by a player. During the tip-off, the
two players in the centre may touch the ball but they may not take
possession of it until it has been touched by another player, or
until it has touched the floor.
alternating process is used to determine possession of the ball at
the start of the second, third, and fourth quarters. The team that
does not gain possession after the tip-off is awarded the first
alternating possession. Each period of overtime begins with a
goal is scored when a player carries the ball across the opposing
teamís goal line. Two wheels of the playerís wheelchair must cross
the line, and the player must have possession and be in control of
the ball at the time. The ball may be held in the hands, on the
lap, or against the playerís chair.
throw-in is used to begin play after a goal or other stoppage. The
in-bounding player takes a position outside the court on the end
line, after a goal, or on the side line, after a stoppage in play.
No more than ten seconds can pass from when in-bounding player
receives the ball from the referee until the ball is touched by
another player on the court.
in-bounding player may not enter the court until he has released
the ball. He may not touch the ball after releasing it until it
has been touched by another player on the court.
ball is considered in play from the time the referee gives it to
the in-bounding player and blows his whistle. The ball becomes
live when it is first touched by a player on the court; the game
clock starts at this time. When the referee blows his whistle to
signal a goal or other stoppage in play, the game clock stops and
the ball becomes dead.
team has four time-outs, which they may use during the four
quarters of regulation play. Either team may call for a time-out
when the ball is dead; when the ball is in play, only a team on
which a player has possession of the ball may call for a time-out.
The coach of a team can only call for a time-out when the ball is
dead. Time-outs are a maximum of one minute in length; the team
that calls the time-out may choose to begin play before the minute
referees may call a time-out at any time during the game to
respond to a fallen or injured player, a damaged wheelchair, an
equipment malfunction, or any other situation affecting the game
or the safety of the players. If there is a safety concern, play
is stopped immediately. In other situations, if a team is in a
position to score the referee will normally wait until a goal has
been scored or until the scoring opportunity no longer exists.
time-out is called due to an equipment malfunction, the affected
team has one minute to correct the problem. If they cannot correct
the problem within one minute, they must either substitute a
different player or call a time-out.
Playing the Ball
location of a player is determined by the location of the four
wheels of the wheelchair. The location of the ball is determined
by the location of the player, if the ball is carried; by the
location of the ball itself, if the ball is touching the floor; or
by the last position where the ball touched a player or the floor.
The side lines, end lines, goal lines, and cones are considered to
be out-of-bounds. A referee may be considered in-bounds or
out-of-bounds depending on his position on the floor.
Players may play the ball with their arms and hands, or may carry
it on their lap or their chair. If the ball is carried on the lap,
at least three-quarters of the ball must be visible. To pass the
ball, players may throw it, roll it, bat it, or bounce it. Kicking
the ball is not permitted.
player is considered to have control of the ball when he has
possession of the ball, when he has a hand firmly on the ball
preventing an opponent from moving it, or when he is in the act of
bouncing the ball. A team is considered to have control of the
ball when one of their players has control of the ball. Once a
team has control of the ball, they continue to have control until
a player from the other team gains control or until the ball
held ball exists when players from opposing teams have control of
the ball at the same time. This can occur when one player has
possession of the ball and another player places a hand firmly on
the ball, preventing the first player from moving it. When a held
ball occurs, the referee stops the play and awards possession
according to the alternating process. The team that has the next
alternating possession is given the ball to in-bound.
Violations are committed by the team that has possession of the
ball. When a team commits a violation, they lose possession of the
ball. The referee stops the play and gives the ball to the other
team to in-bound.
player who has possession of the ball is not permitted to touch
the floor with any part of his body, or with any part of his
wheelchair except the four wheels and the anti-tip device. Any
other contact with the floor will result in a Physical
player who has possession of the ball must dribble or pass the
ball at least once every ten seconds. Failure to dribble or pass
the ball will result in a Ten Seconds Ė No Dribble
player whose team has control of the ball cannot remain in the
opposing teamís key area for more than ten seconds. Staying in the
key for longer will result in a Ten Seconds in the Key
team which takes control of the ball in their back court area has
fifteen seconds to advance the ball into their front court. If the
ball does not enter the front court within fifteen seconds, a
Fifteen Second violation will occur.
team which has control of the ball in their front court area is
not permitted to return the ball to their back court. If the team
causes the ball to re-enter the back court, a Back Court
violation will occur. This violation is only called if a player
from the team is the first to touch the ball after it has
re-entered the back court; if the opposing team touches the ball
first, play will continue.
ball must remain in-bounds at all times. If a player causes the
ball to go out of bounds, an Out of Bounds violation
occurs. Following an out of bounds violation, the ball is given to
the team that did not cause the ball to go out of bounds. A player
who has possession of the ball who leaves the court without
scoring a goal has committed an out of bounds violation.
team which has possession of the ball uses the side line or end
line to position their players so that no player on the other team
may challenge the ball carrier, a Stalling violation will
occur. This violation will be called if the stalling continues for
more than fifteen seconds. If any player on the defending team is
able to approach the ball carrier, a stalling violation will not
Fouls may be committed by either team. There are four types of
fouls: common fouls, technical fouls, flagrant fouls, and
Common fouls occur when a player violates the rules during a
genuine attempt to play the game. The sanction for a common foul
is a loss of possession, if the foul is committed by a player on
the offensive team, or a one-minute penalty, if the foul is
committed by a player on the defensive team. A player who is
serving a one-minute penalty for a common foul is released from
the penalty box after one minute of time has elapsed on the game
clock, or if the opposing team scores a goal.
defensive foul is committed when the offensive team is in an
imminent scoring position, the referee may award a penalty goal in
lieu of a one-minute penalty. A player serving a penalty is not
released if a penalty goal is awarded.
Charging foul occurs when one player strikes another player
with excessive speed or force, risking injury to the player.
Contact Before the Whistle foul occurs if one player makes
deliberate or advantageous contact with another player while the
ball is dead. Each team will receive one contact warning in each
half before this foul is called.
Out-and-In foul occurs when a player who has possession of
the ball leaves the court on the goal line and then returns to the
court without scoring a goal. This usually occurs when a player
gets one wheel over the goal line and then returns to the court.
Four in the Key foul occurs when the defending team has four
of their players in their own key area. The foul is charged to the
last defending player who entered the key.
Holding foul occurs when a player grasps or holds the body or
wheelchair of another player with a hand or any other part of the
body, or leans on another player, preventing that player from
Leaving the Court foul occurs when a player who does not have
possession of the ball exits the court anywhere, except on the
goal lines, to gain an advantage. A player who does not have
possession of the ball may leave the court as a result of contact
or to avoid a dangerous situation; however, when he returns to the
court he must not have gained any positional advantage.
Leaving the court also occurs when a player who does not have
possession of the ball exits the court on his goal line while the
opposing team has possession of the ball, or on the opposing
teamís goal line when his team has possession of the ball.
Pushing foul occurs when a player who has made legal contact
with an opposing player applies a continuous force to his wheels
to push the other player from a legal position into an illegal
position, or when a player uses his hands to physically push an
opponent or an opponents wheelchair. Pushing also occurs when a
player uses such a push to assist his team-mate in defending or
scoring a goal.
Illegal Use of Hands foul occurs when a player using his
arms or hands to contest for possession of the ball strikes any
part of another player.
Spinning foul occurs when a player strikes another playerís
wheelchair anywhere behind the axel of the rear wheel, causing the
wheelchair to rotate horizontally or vertically so that the
playerís safety is at risk.
player who is in-bounding the ball must be given one metre of
clear space from the side line or end line to allow him to
re-enter the court. A One Metre foul occurs when a player
from either team enters this one metre area before the in-bounding
player has released the ball.
Trap foul occurs when a player who has possession of the ball
is held by two opposing players such that he is unable to move
more than one-half a chair length in any direction. A trapped
player must either free himself, or pass the ball to a team-mate
who is not trapped, within ten seconds.
Technical fouls occur when a player or coach acts in a
disrespectful or unsportsmanlike fashion, or violates the rules
governing the administration of the game. There are a variety of
situations that may lead to a technical foul. Common reasons for
technical fouls include:
Using disrespectful or abusive language to officials,
spectators, or other players.|
Delaying the game, for example by preventing the ball from being
promptly put into play.|
Preventing an in-bounding player from returning onto the court
after a throw-in.|
Not proceeding directly to the penalty box when directed by the
Playing with an illegal chair.|
Using an unjustifiable excuse to obtain a stoppage in play, for
example by a trivial request for an equipment check.|
Playing with more than the maximum classification point value of
sanction for a technical foul committed by a player is a
one-minute penalty. The sanction for a technical foul committed by
a teamís bench personnel is a one-minute penalty, to be served by
a player selected by the teamís coach.
Foul occurs when a player commits a common foul with reckless
disregard for safety. An example is committing a spinning foul
against the ball carrier at the goal line, when there is no
realistic possibility of making safe or legal contact. The
sanction for a flagrant foul is a common foul plus a technical
foul, to be served consecutively. A penalty goal may be awarded in
place of the common foul, but the offending player must still
serve the one-minute penalty for the technical foul.
Disqualifying Foul is any foul that is blatantly
unsportsmanlike or dangerous. Examples include fighting, striking
or attempting to strike a fallen player, or continuous abusive and
offensive language. A player who commits a disqualifying foul is
immediately ejected from the game and must leave the playing area.
The playerís coach must designate a substitute to serve a
one-minute penalty for the disqualified player. This penalty is
served for a full minute; the player is not released if the
opposing team scores.