I don't think there's been a formal announcement from the AFDA yet, but WFDF have released the 2009 version of the rules of ultimate. Officially speaking they come into effect tomorrow (March 14, 2009), but they won't get adopted in Australia until someone (governing body, league director, tournament director) says so. I imagine it won't be until after Nationals at the earliest.
Personally I think an "annual update" of the rules isn't really necessary. There's still people getting around that don't quite have the 2008 rules down pat. But then again there's people playing that don't have any version of the rules down pat, so that kinda makes it a moot point. Regularly changing rules are the biggest arguement there is for a mandatory rules quiz for players. Personally speaking I think there should be a rules quiz as part of registration for Nationals.
But I digress.
The 2008 rules only saw some minor changes. The only one I can remember right now is removing the 'middle' call after a pull lands out of bounds. But this time around there are what I think are some massively significant changes.
1. Marking infractions don’t stop play. After a second infraction, the marker resets the count to 0 and continues.
2. Play doesn’t stop for a travel where the thrower hasn’t thrown the disc, the stall halts and the thrower goes back to the correct pivot point as indicated by the defence.
3. Calling a time-out when you don’t have any left is not a turnover. Add 2 to the stall count instead.
4. Players may ask non-players for their perspective on a call.
5. There is a new infraction called “Contact” for when the marker touches the thrower or the disc but not in the act of throwing – this should not be treated as a foul as it is not affecting possession, but treated as a marking violation.
6. If a call during or after the throwing motion did not affect possession, then it should be ignored. For example, if a thrower is fouled in the act of throwing, but the disc flies perfectly to the receiver who then drops it on their chest, the turnover should stand.
7. In order to throw after landing but before establishing a pivot, a thrower must maintain contact with the ground throughout the throwing motion.
...they're the listed "Significant Changes", but I think there's some "Minor Changes" worth highlighting...
8. Allowed play to be stopped if play is obstructed by non-players or objects on the sideline.
9. Allowed non players to return an out of bounds disc to within 3 metres of the field.
10. Added new “Indirect foul” to deal with contact that does not relate to an attempt to catch the disc
Source - WFDF Rules of Ultimate 2009 Summary Of Changes
On first glance, I thought that all makes sense and the changes are a logical progression.
On a proper read through, I thought, "Wow, this is gonna remove heaps of stoppages at elite level."
Then I read through again and thought a bit more about it. My reaction now is that the application of these rules is going to be a fucking mess. I'm thinking at a league-or-weekend-tournament level. There are going to be so many players who stop for stuff that aren't stoppages any more, and will bleat about their ignorance, therefore creating a stoppage anyway.
Whenever we introduce these rules in Australia, there is going to have to be a fierce "re-education" campaign to get the message out there. I'm even considering establishing a requirement for the captain of uni teams to do a rules quiz prior to Uni Games, but have no idea how to enforce it.
But for now, I urge you all to read the new rules. Or at least the summary of changes. Then send the link to all of your team mates.
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