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Refereeing Regulations

This is version 1.6 of the World Croquet Federation's Regulations for Refereeing, which have been incorporated by reference into Croquet England's Tournament Regulations. They are published on the WCF Website in PDF format. They refer, and are linked below, to the 7th Edition of the Laws of Association Croquet and 6th Edition of the Rules of Golf Croquet.

Table of Contents



R1 Definitions

R2 Powers and duties of the Tournament Referee

R3 Powers and duties of an Active Referee

R4 Powers and duties of an Inactive Referee

R5 Restrictions on using information obtained earlier

R6 Appeals

R7 Players performing the functions of referees

R8 Other regulations


The following Regulations were developed first by the International Laws Committee [ILC] and adopted in 2010 by many of the major croquet nations for Association Croquet. The WCF GC Rules Committee then modified these regulations in 2011 so that they could also apply to Golf Croquet. The WCF AC Laws Committee, which replaced the ILC, now maintains them jointly with the WCF GC Rules Committee. The WCF is grateful to both these committees for their work.


In the following Regulations, the initials AC and GC refer to Association Croquet or Golf Croquet respectively. Where the text of a paragraph or sub-paragraph is prefaced by AC or GC, it applies only to that code. Otherwise, the Regulations apply equally to both codes.

R1 Definitions

R1.1 Organising Body: The body responsible for organising a tournament or event.

R1.2 Tournament Referee: The official with responsibility for hearing appeals and nominating Authorised Referees and allocating them to act as a Referee on Request or Referee in Charge. The Tournament Referee is also an Authorised Referee.

R1.3 Qualified Referee: A person on an official list of referees, but not necessarily an Authorised Referee for a tournament or event.

R1.4 Authorised Referee: A Qualified Referee nominated or permitted under these Regulations to assist players by making decisions on Laws or Rules and facts. An Authorised Referee can perform one of the following roles:

R1.4.1 a Referee on Request, who generally may act only at the invitation of a player. A Referee on Request is said to be an Inactive Referee when first authorised. The referee becomes an Active Referee by responding to a request by a player to exercise a power or a duty or, exceptionally, by intervening in a game under R4. An Active Referee becomes an Inactive Referee again on quitting the court believing that the powers and duties arising from the request have been discharged or, after intervening under R4, when all relevant matters have been settled.

R1.4.2 a Referee in Charge, who is allocated to a game and is therefore always an Active Referee for that game and may intervene in it whenever the referee considers it necessary. A referee may be allocated as a Referee in Charge to more than one game at the same time and, under those circumstances, may be referred to as a Supervising Referee.

R2 Powers and duties of the Tournament Referee

R2.1 Tournament Referee

The Organising Body must arrange for the Tournament Referee to be appointed.

R2.2 Appointment of Deputy Tournament Referees

R2.2.1 The Tournament Referee must appoint a Deputy Tournament Referee whenever the Tournament Referee becomes unavailable.

R2.2.2 If play occurs at more than one venue at the same time, a Deputy Tournament Referee must be appointed for each venue where the Tournament Referee is not present. As an alternative, the Tournament Referee may arrange for appeals to be made by telephone.

R2.2.3 A Deputy Tournament Referee has the powers and duties of the Tournament Referee when the latter is not present.

R2.3 Nomination of referees

The Tournament Referee has the power to nominate Authorised Referees from an official list of Qualified Referees and to nominate other suitable persons if there are not enough Qualified Referees available. These powers are subject to any conditions published by the Organising Body.

R2.4 Allocation of referees

R2.4.1 The Organising Body has power to direct whether Authorised Referees may act as Referees on Request or Referees in Charge.

R2.4.2 Subject to any such direction, the Tournament Referee may allocate Authorised Referees to act as:

R2.4.2.1 a Referee on Request either generally or for one or more specified games or courts; or

R2.4.2.2 a Referee in Charge for one or more specified games or courts.

The Tournament Referee may also carry out such duties.

R2.4.3 Irrespective of any such direction, the Tournament Referee has the power to act as a Referee in Charge of a game or allocate another Authorised Referee to do so.

R2.4.4 The Tournament Referee must ensure that the players are told of any referee allocated to their game or court and whether that referee is a Referee on Request or Referee in Charge.

R2.4.5 If no referee has been allocated to a game, any Authorised Referee may act as a Referee on Request for that game.

R2.5 Checking courts and equipment

The Tournament Referee must ensure that the courts and equipment are checked for conformity with the Laws or Rules, regulations and advertised conditions. Hoop settings must be checked at the start of each day and may be checked between games.

R3 Powers and duties of an Active Referee

An Active Referee has the following powers and duties subject to the restrictions in R5 on using certain information.

R3.1 General powers and duties

R3.1.1 An Active Referee has power to decide all questions of fact and Law or Rule. However, a referee who is asked to rule on a matter for which the referee is insufficiently qualified should seek advice from or refer it to another Authorised Referee who is able to deal with the matter.

R3.1.2 An Active Referee must try to ensure that a match is played in accordance with the Laws of Association Croquet or Rules of Golf Croquet as appropriate and any applicable regulations and tournament or event conditions.

R3.1.3 An Active Referee should go onto or remain on the court only when necessary and should be mindful of any double-banked game.

R3.2 State of the game

R3.2.1 An Active Referee has the power to ask the players for information on the state of the game. The referee must do so when that information is required to make a decision but should otherwise avoid questions which might suggest a line of play. The players are obliged to answer to the best of their knowledge.

R3.2.2 An Active Referee who has reason to think that there is any disagreement about the state of the game must investigate and settle the matter before play continues. This applies especially to a referee who is appointed to be a Referee in Charge for a game that is already in progress.

R3.2.3 [AC: Subject to Law 23.3, an Active Referee must ask about any apparent discrepancy between the position of a clip and the course of play that the referee notices.]

R3.3 Ruling on a past incident that is in dispute

The following regulations apply if an Active Referee is asked to rule on an incident that has already occurred.

R3.3.1 The Active Referee must tell the players anything that the referee has seen that may affect a decision. The referee must hear what both sides have to say and may question them. The referee has the discretion to hear other witnesses. The referee will then give a decision to the best of the referee's ability.

R3.3.2 The Active Referee may declare a fault only on the basis of:

R3.3.2.1 facts about the stroke agreed by the striker and the opponent;

R3.3.2.2 the evidence of the striker;

R3.3.2.3 the referee's own observations of the stroke, its effects and its outcome; or

R3.3.2.4 the evidence of well-placed neutral witnesses, excluding the opponent, whom the referee chooses to consult believing that they have sufficient understanding of relevant Laws or Rules. The referee may not declare a fault solely on the evidence of the opponent.

R3.3.3 As a last resort, the Active Referee may give a compromise decision. This may involve arbitrary adjustment of:

R3.3.3.1 the positions of the clips and balls.

R3.3.3.2 the number of [AC: bisques] [GC: extra strokes] outstanding.

R3.3.3.3 the amount of time remaining.

R3.3.3.4 the order of play.

Exceptionally, the referee may direct that the game is to be restarted.

R3.4 Forestalling

R3.4.1 An Active Referee who observes or suspects that an error or interference is about to occur must forestall play subject to [AC: R3.4.2] and [GC: R3.4.3].

R3.4.2 [AC: an Active Referee must not forestall play while Law 23.3 applies].

R3.4.3 [GC: an Active Referee:

R3.4.3.1 who believes that a hoop is about to be contested or run out of order must not forestall play except in accordance with Rule 15.4; and

R3.4.3.2 must not draw attention to the fact that a ball may be an offside ball.]

R3.5 Before watching a stroke

If about to watch a questionable stroke, an Active Referee has the power to:

R3.5.1 ask the player what stroke the player intends to play. The player must answer the question.

R3.5.2 choose the position from where to watch the stroke.

R3.5.3 ask another Authorised Referee to watch the stroke from a different position and provide an opinion on the stroke to the Active Referee who remains responsible for judging the effect or fairness of the stroke.

R3.5.4 tell the striker when the stroke may be played. If the striker plays before the Active Referee is ready, the referee may direct the stroke to be re-played.

R3.6 Referee giving information to players

An Active Referee may give information to a player subject as follows.

R3.6.1 An Active Referee who is asked about the state of the game at any time should tell the player what the referee knows [AC: subject to R3.7 below].

R3.6.2 An Active Referee must state the Law or Rule on any matter if asked by a player and may choose to volunteer such information.

R3.6.3 An Active Referee may choose to explain the reasons for a ruling, and must explain the reasons as fully as possible to a player who asks for an explanation.

R3.6.4 An Active Referee may not otherwise give information or advice to a player. [AC: A referee must not state whether a ball has been moved or shaken when a wiring lift may ensue unless asked by a player or unless a fault has occurred.]

R3.7 [AC: Testing for a wired ball

An Active Referee must be aware of the following Laws:

R3.7.1 A decision whether one ball is wired from another may not be given unless the striker is claiming a wiring lift. The Active Referee must confirm that the claimant has not played a stroke in this turn and that the adversary is responsible for the position of the relevant ball. (Law 16.5.2)

R3.7.2 When judging whether one ball is wired from another, the benefit of any doubt is given to the claimant. (Law 16.5.3)]

R3.8 Adjusting court settings or repairing damage

An Active Referee may arrange for the settings of the court to be adjusted or for special damage to be repaired, where the Laws or Rules permit it. In doing so, the referee must:

R3.8.1 consider the effect on any other game on the court.

R3.8.2 [AC: act consistently with Law 4.5 (which forbids some types of adjustments), and Laws 5.1.4 and 5.2.3 (which place restrictions on adjusting a hoop or the peg).]

R3.8.3 [GC: act consistently with Rule 2.5 (which permits adjustment of missing or misplaced equipment) and Rules 3.1.3 and 3.2.3 (which place restrictions on adjusting the peg or a hoop).]

R4 Powers and duties of an Inactive Referee

An Inactive Referee is permitted to intervene in a game without having been invited, and is required to do so, only in the following cases:

R4.1 to ensure that play is lawfully continued after an error or interference is claimed or admitted, but only if the players appear unable to deal with the issue themselves and no Active Referee is present. If an Active Referee is present, an Inactive Referee who has relevant evidence should volunteer to be a witness.

R4.2 on hearing a player give erroneous information on the Laws or Rules to the opponent.

R4.3 [AC: if a ball is pegged out in breach of Law 43.]

R4.4 [GC: if personally watching the game, by forestalling play

R4.4.1 before a wrong ball is played; or

R4.4.2 immediately after a wrong ball has been played; or

R4.4.3 immediately after both sides have contested a hoop out of order in their respective last strokes.]

R5 Restrictions on using information obtained earlier

R5.1 The following restrictions apply to an Active Referee who is a Referee on Request or a Referee in Charge who has been allocated to a game after it has started. They override the powers and duties specified in R3.

R5.1.1 A referee may not use, or draw attention to, knowledge about the state of the game the referee acquired while inactive.

R5.1.2 The same applies to knowledge acquired while the referee was an Active Referee on a previous occasion, but only if at least one stroke has been played since the referee acquired the information.

R5.2 These restrictions do not apply to knowledge relating to an issue:

R5.2.1 to which a player has drawn attention; or

R5.2.2 for which an Inactive Referee could intervene under R4; or

R5.2.3 which would be apparent to a referee who had not previously seen the game.

R6 Appeals

R6.1 Grounds for an appeal

An appeal may be made by a player against a decision of a referee only in respect of:

R6.1.1 a question concerning the interpretation or application of a Law/Rule, a regulation or a tournament or event condition; or

R6.1.2 [AC: a ruling under Law 63; or]

R6.1.3 [GC: a ruling under Rule 15.5; or]

R6.1.4 a compromise decision under R3.3.3.

R6.2 Power to hear an appeal

The Tournament Referee or a Deputy Tournament Referee has the sole power to hear and decide an appeal, except that if such an official is a party to an appeal, either as a player or referee, another referee must be appointed to do so.

R6.3 Appeals are final

The decision on an appeal is final for the game.

R6.4 Limit of claims

A player who has played a stroke after a ruling was given cannot appeal against that ruling. Likewise, a player cannot appeal after:

R6.4.1 [GC: an opponent has played a stroke.].

R6.4.2 [AC: the opposing side has played two strokes. However, in a singles game, if the player is absent and performing official duties, the player may appeal before the first stroke of the player's next turn.]

R6.5 Reporting of Appeals

If a situation that is subject to appeal does not seem to be covered by the Laws or Rules or an official commentary, the Tournament Referee must report the facts and the decision to the appropriate national association for reference to whichever of the WCF AC Laws Committee and the WCF GC Rules Committee is appropriate.

R7 Players performing the functions of referees

R7.1 Players who are Qualified Referees

Unless the Tournament Referee or the Organising Body has directed otherwise, players competing in a tournament or event who are Qualified Referees may act as Referees on Request.

R7.2 Other players

Unless the Tournament Referee has directed otherwise, all experienced players competing in a tournament or event may act as follows, but only if requested by the striker or the opponent:

R7.2.1 to watch a stroke to decide:

R7.2.1.1 where a ball crosses the boundary; or

R7.2.1.2 [AC: whether a ball hits the peg or another ball; or]

R7.2.1.3 [AC: whether a ball is moved or shaken, but only if specifically asked].

R7.2.2 to decide whether a ball:

R7.2.2.1 is on or off the court; or

R7.2.2.2 protrudes out of or into the jaws of a hoop.

R8 Other regulations

R8.1 The presence of a referee does not relieve a player in a game of the duty to draw attention to an irregularity that the player thinks the referee may have overlooked.

R8.2 [AC: The Organising Body may modify these Regulations in accordance with Law 62.]

R8.3 Only an Authorised Referee may intervene in a game under R4 (see R1.4.1). However, any Qualified Referee may report a problem to the Tournament Referee or a Deputy Tournament Referee.