Foam & Cloth Dodgeball Rules
These are official WDBF rules for foam & cloth format Dodgeball.
World Dodgeball Federation Foam Style Rules
Date Last Revised: September 2022
Authored by: WDBF Rules Committee
Part 1: Definitions
Live Ball: A live ball is a ball that has been thrown and can get a player out.
Dead Ball: A dead ball is a ball that can no longer get a player out.
Dead Object: A dead object is anything that is not an active player in bounds or a live ball.
Active Player: A player on the roster who is participating in a set.
Live Player: A live player is an active player that is not out.
Out Player: An out player is an active player that has been deemed out.
Entering Player: An entering player is an active player that is in the process of reentering play.
Exiting Player: An exiting player is an active player that is deemed out and in the process of returning to the queue.
Possession: A ball is in possession of a team if it is within a team’s half of the court. The ball does not have to be within the boundary lines to be in possession.
Control: A ball is in control of a team if it is held by a live player.
Short-handed: Starting a set with 1 less player on court.
Part 2: The Game
Section 1: Facilities & Equipment
Rule 1 Playing Area
The Playing Area is a flat rectangular area that includes the playing court, free space, queue area, penalty area, and substitution area. It should be enclosed by barriers or netting on all four sides to prevent balls from exiting.
The playing court is a rectangle with dimensions of 18 meters in length by 9 meters in width, surrounded by free space, which is a minimum of 1 meter wide on all sides.
The space above the playing court must be free from any obstructions. This area shall be a minimum of 4 meters in height from the playing surface.
1.2 Playing Surface
The surface must be flat and horizontal. It must not present any danger to any participants of a match. It is not allowed to play on a rough or slippery surface.
1.3 Lines on the Court
- 1.3.2 All lines are 5 cm wide. They must be of the same color, which is different from the color of the floor or any other lines. The neutral zone and attack lines for the Cloth Playing Format must use a different color than the boundary lines (see Diagram 3).
In competitions where only the Cloth Playing Format is used, the lines shall be of the same color as the boundary lines, and the attack lines for the Foam Playing Format can be omitted (see Diagram 2).
In competitions where only the Foam Playing Format is used, the neutral zone and attack lines for the Cloth Playing Format can be omitted (see Diagram 3).
- 1.3.3 Boundary Lines
The boundary lines consist of two side lines and two back lines that mark the playing court. Both side lines and end lines are drawn inside the dimensions of the playing court.
- 184.108.40.206 For Women’s competitions when using the Foam Playing Format, there shall be a back line whose rear edge is drawn 1 meter from the rear edge of the back lines.
1.3.3 Center Line The axis of the center line divides the playing court into two equal courts. It shall extend 1 meter outside of the side lines.
- 1.3.4 Attack Line On each court, an attack line is drawn, whose rear edge is
- (1) 3 meters back from the axis of the center line when using the Foam Playing Format.
- (2) 5.5 meters back from the axis of the center line when using the Cloth Playing Format.
- 1.3.5 Neutral Zone Line On each court, a neutral zone line, whose rear edge is drawn 2 meters back from the axis of the center line, marks the neutral zone.
- 1.3.6 Ball Markings On the center line 5 ball markings are drawn with a distance of 1.5 meters between each other and the side lines.
1.4 Zones and Areas
- 1.4.1 Fair territory The fair territory is the area from the back line to, but not including, the neutral zone line on each court, enclosed by the side lines.
- 1.4.2 Neutral zone The neutral zone is the area between, but not including, the two neutral zone lines on the playing court, enclosed by the side lines.This area is only used when using the Cloth Playing Format.
- 1.4.3 Queue Area The queue area is an area of 5 meters in length and 1 meter in width, located 1 meter away from the side line of the court and its rear edge aligning with the rear edge of the back line. It is placed on the right-hand side of each court facing from the center line to the back line.It shall be marked with lines.
- 1.4.4 Penalty Area The penalty area is 1 meter in length and width, extended from the queue towards the direction of the center line.
It shall be marked with lines.
- 1.4.5 Substitution Area The substitution area is located behind the queue area and penalty areas and extends to the end of the playing area.The sides shall be marked with lines by extending the lines of the queue area and the penalty area.
- 1.4.6 Playing Area The playing area is the area enclosed by the boundary lines and includes each teams fair territory and the neutral zone.
Rule 2 Balls
Dodgeball is played with
- (1) 5 balls, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) 6 balls, when using the Foam Playing Format.
The ball shall be spherical in shape.
They must have the same standards regarding circumference, weight, pressure, type, color, etc.
Official WDBF competitions must be played with balls approved by the WDBF.
2.3 Cloth Balls
All balls shall be made of a textured no-sting cloth with a 2-4mm layer of foam directly underneath and a butyl bladder covered by webbing inside.
Its circumference is 17.8 cm (7 in).
Its inside pressure shall be 1.6 to 1.8 psi (110 to 125 mbar or hPa)(0.112 to 0.126 kg/cm2).
2.4 Foam Balls
All balls shall be made out of polyurethane (PU) coated foam.
Its diameter is 17.8 cm (7 in), and its weight is 134-146 g (4.7-5.1 oz).
Rule 3 Scoring and Timing Devices
3.1 There is one official timing device for the running half time on one side of the court.
3.2 There is one official scoring device on one side of the court.
Section 2: Participants
Rule 4 Team
4.1 A Team may have a minimum of 6 players and no more than 12 players on roster at the start of each match.
4.2 6 active players per team participate in a set. These 6 players must remain within the confined areas of court, player out queue or penalty area.
4.3 Any player from the team roster not active at the start of a set must remain within the substitution area.
4.4 A Team may have up to 3 designated Ball Retrievers at the start of each set.
4.5 Any player not active at the start of a set may be designated as a Ball Retriever.
4.6 Ball Retrievers may enter any of the designated areas within the playing area other than the playing court to retrieve a ball up to the center line of their respective team’s side during a set.
4.7 Ball Retrievers may only leave the playing area during a set to retrieve a ball(s).
Rule 5 Team Leaders
5.1 A Team may have no more than two designated Leaders (Coaches, Assistant Coaches, or Managers) within the playing area during a match.
5.2 Team Leaders must remain within the confined areas of the player out queue, substitution and penalty area.
5.3 Team Leaders may not enter the court or officiating area without justification from the official except during timeouts and halves.
Rule 6 Uniforms
6.1 All Players on a team must wear uniforms identical in color and design.
6.2 Each Player must be identified by name and a unique number (0-99) on the back of the uniform.
6.3 Each Player must be identified by a unique number on the front of the uniform.
6.4 Captain(s) of a team may have identifying marks on the uniform.
6.5 All Ball Retrievers must be clearly identified through a uniform
6.6 Ball Retrievers may not wear a uniform similar in nature to the team in which they represent.
6.7 All Team Leaders must be neatly attired or dressed in a team uniform.
6.8 All Referees must be clearly identified through a uniform.
Rule 7 Player Equipment
- 7.1.1 Headbands and protective helmets are the only permitted headgear for players.
7.2 Casts and Prostheses
- 7.2.1 Protheses may be worn. All casts, braces and splints with exposed hard surfaces must be padded.
- 7.2.2 No player will be allowed to play, should a match official determine that their equipment poses a risk to the safety of other players or that the use thereof changes the fundamental nature of the game or give the player any other advantage.
- 7.3.1 Gloves must not be worn except when medically necessary. The medical need must be proven by the player.
- 7.3.2 Any medically necessary gloves must not enhance the ability of a player in the game.
- 7.4.1 Exposed jewelry, judged as dangerous by the match officials, must be removed and may not be worn during the match.
- 7.5.1 Goggles or sporting glasses may be worn and must be secured with head straps.
- 7.6.1 Shoes must be worn at all times.
- 7.6.2 All shoes must be made of canvas, leather or similar material with a rubber non-marking sole.
- 7.6.3 Shoes, judged as unsafe by the match officials, must not be worn.
7.7 Other Equipment and Substances
- 7.7.1 Any other equipment, not outlined in the rules, may only be used after approval by the match officials.
- 7.7.2 Substances applied to the exterior of the team uniform or onto the skin of a player which enhances a player’s ability to throw or catch a ball must not be used. This does not apply for commercially available dry or liquid chalk.
- 7.7.3 Substances applied to a player’s skin for medical reasons must be covered by a dressing.
- 7.7.4 Substances applied to aid a player injury are allowed to be applied.
Section 3: Playing Formats, Timing and Scoring
Rule 8 Style of Play
8.1 The style of play is determined by the type of ball used.
8.2 The currently approved styles of play by WDBF are
- 8.2.1 Cloth, which uses a ball as specified in 2.2 Cloth Balls.
- 8.2.2 Foam, which uses a ball as specified in 2.3 Foam Balls.
Rule 9 Timing
9.1 Length of the Match
- 9.1.1 A match lasts for two equal halves of 20 minutes with a 5-minute half-time break.
- 9.1.2 At the end of a half, teams change sides.
- 9.2.1 A match consists of an indeterminate number of sets.
- 9.2.2 The duration of each set is
- (1) 3 minutes, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) not restricted by time when using the Foam Playing Format.
- 9.2.3 After a set ends, each team has 30 seconds to line up for the start of the next set.
9.3 Starting a Half
Both teams must be lined up for the opening rush at the scheduled time for the start of each half. Prior to the start of the match, both teams must be on the playing court at least 5 minutes before the scheduled start of the match.
9.4 Match Clock
- 9.4.1 The match clock shall start with the start of the first set of each half.
- 9.4.2 The match clock shall only be stopped
- (1) when a set ends and the remaining time in a half mandates a final set;
- (2) when the referee suspends play.
9.5 Set Clock
- 9.5.1 The set clock is started at the start of each set.
- 9.5.2 The set clock shall only be stopped when the referee suspends play.
9.6 Final Set
- 9.6.1 A final set shall be played if a set ends with less than 90 seconds to play in a half when using the Cloth Playing Format.
- (1) The duration of the final set is 90 seconds.
- 9.6.2 At the end of each half the set will transition into sudden death and the blocking rule (see Rule 21) is no longer in effect, when using the Foam Playing Format.
9.7 Tie-Breaking Set
- 9.7.1 A tie-breaking set shall be played if a match cannot end in a draw.
- 9.7.2 The duration of the tie-breaking set is
- (2) 3 minutes, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (3) 4 minutes, when using the Foam Playing Format.
- 9.7.3 If a winner cannot be determined after the end of the set, the referees call “sudden death”, and
- (1) the first team to eliminate a player will win the set, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) the blocking rule (see Rule 21) is no longer in effect, when using the Foam Playing Format.
9.8 Timeouts and Suspended Play
- 9.8.1 Each team is allowed 1 timeout in each half.
- 9.8.2 A timeout shall be 60 seconds in length.
- 9.8.3 Timeouts must be requested by a qualified team leader
- (1) after a set has ended and before the referee has called the teams to line up, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) at any time during the match, when using the Foam Playing Format.
- 9.8.4 During a timeout play is suspended and all match clocks shall be stopped.
- 9.8.5 Referees can suspend play at any time during the match.
- 9.8.6 While play is suspended by a referee all match clocks shall be stopped.
- 9.8.7 While play is suspended by a referee all participants must remain in their designated areas.
- 9.8.8 Play shall resume from the point it was suspended.
Rule 10 Scoring
10.1 Winning a Match
- 10.1.1 A match is won by the team scoring the most points.
- 10.1.2 A match can result in a draw if both teams have the same amount of points at the end of regular game time.
- 10.1.3 If the competition rules require a winning team, a tie-breaking set is played.
10.2 Winning a Set
- 10.2.1 A set is won, when
- (1) a team has eliminated all players of the opposing team, or
- (2) a team has more players than the opposing team after the designated set time runs out when using the Cloth Playing Format.
- 10.2.2 Winning a set grants
- (1) 1 point when using the Foam Playing format
- (2) 2 points when using the Cloth Playing Format
- 10.2.3 Losing a set grants 0 points
- 10.2.4 Drawing a set grants 1 point when using the Cloth Playing Format
Rule 11 Forfeits
11.1 When a team forfeits a set, the set ends immediately with the non-offending team winning the set.
11.2 When a team forfeits a match, the match ends immediately, with the non-offending team winning the match.
Section 4: Opening Rush
Rule 12 Ball Position
12.1 The balls are positioned on the center line, with
- (1) one ball on each of the ball markings, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) three balls each, between the side line and the second outermost ball marking, when using the Foam Playing Format.
Rule 13 Beginning of Play
13.1 Play begins with all players positioned with one foot on the back line and the other foot inside the boundary lines.
13.2 The match officials will use the following procedure to start play:
- (1) call teams to “Line Up” to order teams to take their places;
- (2) verify each team is ready by calling “Team Ready” for each team;
- (3) pause approximately 1 second and then blow the whistle to start play.
13.3 With start of play, all players become live players.
13.4 Players must be fully within the boundary lines before the first player touches a ball on the center line.
13.5 Cloth Playing Format
- 13.5.1 The two leftmost balls on each side are considered designated to the team and can only be retrieved by that team.
- 13.5.2 The center ball is available for retrieval by both teams.
- 13.5.3 When retrieving the designated balls, players may step onto or over the center line with one foot.
- 13.5.4 Players may not slide or dive head first to retrieve any balls.
- 13.5.5 No deliberate physical contact between players is allowed, when retrieving the center ball. The offending player or players will be deemed out. Any incidental contact shall not be penalized.
- 13.5.6 Players are only permitted to cross the center line when
- (1) all their designated balls have been activated, or
- (2) they are carrying a live ball, or
- (3) a live ball has been thrown.
13.6 Foam Playing Format
- 13.6.1 Players may only retrieve balls that are to the designated right center line area on their half.
- 13.6.2 Players may touch or cross the center line while retrieving those balls during the opening rush.
13.7 Ball Activation
- 13.7.1 Any balls retrieved during the opening rush, must fully cross the attack line to become a live ball.
- 13.7.2 Players may retrieve any balls placed on the center line once all their designated balls have been activated.
Rule 14 False Starts
14.1 If a player’s foot loses contact with the back line after “Team Ready” has been called, but before the whistle has been blown, it will be considered a false start.
14.2 Cloth Playing Format
- 14.2.1 The offending team will forfeit 1 ball to the opposing team, starting with the center ball.
- 14.2.2 In case of additional false starts, balls are forfeited to the non-offending team in order of outside to inside, starting with the non-offending team’s balls.
- 14.2.3 Forfeited balls are live at start of play once the player in possession has fully stepped on the court.
14.3 Foam Playing Format
- 14.3.1 The offending team will accrue a warning for a false start.
- 14.3.2 If a team accrues 2 warnings and every warning thereafter, the team is only allowed 5 active players on the court for the remainder of the set.
- 14.3.3 The number of warnings for false resets to zero at the start of a half.
Section 5: Throwing
Rule 15 Attempts
15.1 Balls may only be thrown by live players. A throw may be performed with one or both hands and be overhand, underhand, side arm or chest push/throw.
15.2 A throw must leave a player’s hand. The thrown ball becomes a live ball once the player is no longer in contact with the ball.
- 15.2.1 Intentionally kicking or spiking a ball in an unsporting way will result in the offending player being deemed out.
15.3 A player must not throw a ball once play has stopped or after being deemed out. If a match official determines that this has been done in a flagrant or unnecessary manner, the offending player will receive a yellow card.
15.4 A player may make a block attack by blocking a live ball into the opponent’s territory when using the Cloth Playing Format.
15.5 A live ball becomes a dead ball once it touches another live ball, a surface or a dead object.
Rule 16 Valid and Invalid Attempts
16.1 A throw must be a valid attempt to hit an opposing player out. A valid attempt is a throw that lands or passes within 1 meter of a player or a player’s position at the moment the ball was released.
16.2 Passing throws and plays are not deemed invalid throws, if the ball does not cross into the opponent team’s fair territory or past the center line when out of bounds.
16.3 If a player fails to make a valid throw
- (1) they are deemed out, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) They may receive a verbal warning or are deemed out at the discretion of the match official, when using the Foam Playing Format.
16.4 When using the Cloth Playing Format, carrying a ball into the neutral zone and leaving it there is also considered to be an invalid throw.
16.5 Performing an intentional or unintentional block attack shall
- (1) always considered a valid throw when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) not be considered a live ball if the ball crosses the center line when using the Foam Playing Format.
Rule 17 Advantage
17.1 Advantage is given to the team that
- (1) is in possession of the majority of the balls in play, or
- (2) is in possession of exactly half the balls and has more players; or
- (3) if both teams have equal active players, has not thrown last; or
- (4) if neither team has thrown, that last won a set.
17.2 Cloth Playing Format
- 17.2.1 If each team is in possession of an equal amount of balls and the remaining balls are stationary in the neutral zone, advantage is given to the team that is closer to the balls, as determined by the match officials.
- 17.2.2 A team with advantage is given 5 seconds to make attempts to no longer be in possession of the majority of the balls in play.
- 17.2.3 If after 5 seconds of having advantage, the team is still in possession of the majority of the balls, the match officials will call “play n balls”, with n being one less than the number of balls still in possession and no more than the number of live players on that team.
- 17.2.4 After “play n balls” being called, the team with advantage must make n attempts within 5 seconds.
- 17.2.5 If a team has failed to make enough attempts within 5 seconds of “play n balls” being called, players will be called out, if
- (1) they were in control of a ball at the moment “play n balls” was called and failed to make an attempt;
- (2) they were not in control of a ball at the moment “play n balls” was called and failed to make an attempt. The number of players being called out is limited by the number of balls in possession, but not in control, of the team at that moment, that have not been thrown.
- 17.2.6 It is up to the team’s discretion to choose the players that are to be deemed out by 17.2.5 (2). Should a team fail to nominate enough players in a timely manner, player’s shall be chosen by the match officials.
- 17.2.7 If a player in control of a ball has been hit out before they could make an attempt, their ball will be considered thrown for the purpose of “play n balls”.
- 17.2.8 If, after a team made enough attempts, it still has advantage, the match officials will immediately call “play n balls”.
17.3 Foam Playing Format
- 17.3.1 The team with advantage has 10 seconds to make an attempt. This time resets if any ball is thrown.
- 17.3.2 If a ball has not been thrown within 5 seconds of having advantage, the match officials will start an audible countdown.
- 17.3.3 If a ball has not been thrown within 10 seconds of having advantage, the offending team must forfeit all balls in their possession to the opposing team.
Rule 18 Pinching
18.1 A ball must not be held in a way that would damage it.
18.2 A ball must not be distorted in a way that would alter its normal flight pattern when thrown.
18.3 If a player persistently violates this rule they will receive a yellow card at the discretion of the match officials.
Section 6: Hitting
Rule 19 Outs
19.1 A live player shall be deemed out, when a live ball that hits them on any part of their body, including hair or on any part of their clothing and uniform, touches a dead object.
19.2 A hit player can continue to make valid actions until any live balls that hit them come in contact with a dead object.
Rule 20 Exiting Players
20.1 An exiting player is a player who has been deemed out.
20.2 An exiting player must raise their hand over their head to indicate that they are out.
20.3 An exiting player must leave the playing area as quickly as possible over the nearest boundary line. They must then make their way to the player queue.
20.4 An exiting player takes position at the end of the queue behind any players that have been rendered out previously.
20.5 An exiting player must not intentionally impact play. If a match official determines that an exiting player has done so, they will receive a yellow card.
20.6 When using the Cloth Playing Format, an exiting player has to immediately drop all balls in their possession. If a match official determines that an exiting player intentionally passes balls to another player or the opposing team, they will receive a blue card.
Section 7: Blocking
Rule 21 Blocking
21.1 A player can use one or more balls to block a live ball from hitting them.
21.2 A live ball remains a live ball after it has been blocked.
21.3 When using the Cloth Playing Format, the hands to the wrist of a player touching a ball are considered to be part of the ball and will not be considered a hit.
Rule 22 Disarming
22.1 When a player uses a ball to block a live ball and, as a result of that action, loses control of the blocking, they must regain control over it before it makes contact with any dead object or other player.
22.2 If a player does not regain control before a loose ball makes contact with any dead object or other player, that player is rendered out.
Section 8: Catching
Rule 23 Catching
23.1 A live ball may be caught by an opposing live player, rendering the throwing player out immediately after the catch is complete.
23.2 A catch is deemed complete, when
- (1) the catching player is in control of the ball, and
- (2) the catching player has at least two points of contact with the surface within the boundary lines, when using the Foam Playing Format.
23.3 When a ball comes into contact with a dead object before the catch is complete, the catching player is rendered out.
23.4 When a ball is caught, the first out player in, or on their way to the queue of the catching team is allowed to reenter the court. This player becomes an entering player.
23.5 A player is not allowed to use any part of his uniform to help them catch a live ball.
23.6 A live ball becomes a dead ball once it is caught.
23.7 When a live ball is caught after being deflected by one or more players of the catching team, those players will not be rendered out.
Rule 24 Out Players
24.1 An out player is a player who has been deemed out and is waiting in the queue to return to play.
24.2 Out players must not interfere with the path of any live ball.
24.3 Out players must not pass any balls to any players or retrievers.
24.4 If an out player leaves the queue area for any reason, they must return to their original position upon return. A team forfeits its ability to put any players back into play, until this player returns to the queue area.
24.5 An out player who returns the playing area out of order, will receive a blue card when using the Cloth Playing Format. The team also forfeits its opportunity to put a player into play instead and must wait for the next one.
Rule 25 Entering Players
25.1 An entering player is a player who is allowed to return to court after having previously been in the queue area.
25.2 An entering player must step into the playing area immediately over the back line. Once they make contact within the boundary lines with both feet, they immediately become a live player. If the player is deemed to delay their entry they forfeit their opportunity to put a player into play.
25.3 An entering player cannot be hit out or make any plays.
25.4 An entering player must not pick up any balls.
Section 9: Boundaries
Rule 26 Out of Bounds
26.1 If any part of a player touches a boundary line, they shall be considered out of bounds.
26.2 If any part of a player touches a surface, dead object that is not a ball, or non-active player outside the boundary lines, they shall be considered out of bounds.
26.3 If any part of a player touches the opposing team’s territory they shall be considered out of bounds.
26.4 In the Cloth Playing Format, if any part of a player touches the neutral zone line adjacent to the opponents fair territory, they shall be considered out of bounds.
26.5 In the Foam Playing Format, if any part of the player touches the center line, they shall be considered out of bounds, except during the opening rush.
26.6 Any player who is considered out of bounds is deemed out immediately.
26.7 If a player steps out of bounds while making a play, it is up to the match officials’ discretion if that play was completed before they stepped out of bounds.
Rule 27 Neutral Zone
This rule only applies to the Cloth Playing Format
27.1 No physical contact can be made between players. Any physical contact results in the player initiating the contact to be deemed out.
Rule 28 Sacrifice Play
This rule only applies to the Cloth Playing Format
28.1 A player may attempt to attack while fully airborne. They are permitted to cross the opponent team’s neutral zone line to make an attempt to hit a player out.
28.2 No physical contact can be made between players. The player attempting the airborne attack must ensure that there is enough space between them and opposing team members. Any physical contact is considered a failed attempt.
28.3 If a match official determines that physical contact was made deliberately, the offending player will receive a yellow card and any player not penalised can return into their own fair territory.
28.4 Only 1 player may attempt a sacrifice play at a time.
28.5 Failed Attempt
- 28.5.1 If a player attempting an airborne attack does not hit a player with all balls they were in control of when becoming airborne, they are deemed out.
- 28.5.2 If the player does not release all balls before they touch the opponents fair territory, they are deemed out and the throw is not eligible to get a player out.
- 28.5.3 If a player is hit before they release all balls, they are deemed out.
28.6 Successful Attempt
- 28.6.1 If a player attempting an airborne attack successfully hits an opposing live player, they may return to their own fair territory.
- 28.6.2 The player may not make any thrown attacks until they reach their own fair territory.
- 28.6.3 The player may not pick up any balls until they reach their own fair territory.
Section 10: Simultaneous Play
Rule 29 Simultaneous Play
29.1 Simultaneous play occurs, when two or more plays happen at the same time and the match officials cannot determine which play was completed first.
29.2 Should there be simultaneous play, all results of the plays are resolved simultaneously.
29.3 Should simultaneous play result in all active players being deemed out,
- (1) the set results in a draw, when using the Cloth Playing Format;
- (2) all results of the plays are voided, when using the Foam Playing Format.
Section 11: Ball Retrieving
Rule 30 Ball Stealing
30.1 A player may pick any balls that are within reach without regards of the ball’s position on the court.
Rule 31 Ball Retrievers
31.1 Ball retrievers may not touch any boundary line.
31.2 Ball retrievers may not touch any surface, ball, or live player within the court boundaries.
31.3 Ball retrievers may retrieve any ball that is outside the boundary lines.
31.4 Ball retrievers may not retrieve any ball that has crossed the center line away from their team’s half of the court.
- (1) If not marked, that center line extends the full width of any area a ball may roll during play.
- (2) Ball retrievers may not retrieve any ball that has crossed the center line away from their team’s half of the court.
31.5 Ball retrievers may pass balls to live players or other ball retrievers
31.6 Ball retrievers may place balls within court boundaries.
31.7 Ball retrievers may not pass balls to the opposing ball retrievers or opposing team.
31.8 Ball retrievers may not make contact with an opposition retriever.
31.9 Retrievers may be changed during the reset between each set.
31.10 Cloth Playing Format
- 31.10.1 Retrievers must put balls into play as soon as possible
- 31.10.2 When returning a ball to play, a retriever may either toss a ball to any active player behind the team’s attack line or place the ball on court behind the team’s attack line.
- 31.10.3 Balls being returned from out of bounds must be returned to play by passing them onto the court behind their team’s attack line.
Section 12: Violations and Penalties
Rule 32 Penalties
32.1 If a player receives a penalty that sends them to the penalty area, they must remain there for the duration of the penalty.
32.2 A player that has been sent to the penalty area is still an active player and the team will not be able to substitute them for the duration of the penalty.
32.3 Once a penalty is completed, the player will reenter play in the last position of the queue. If a penalty completes between sets the player will be allowed to fully participate in the set.
32.4 Match officials may issue a verbal warning to match participants at their discretion if an offense does not warrant an immediate penalty.
32.5 When a team or its participants receives 4 yellow cards in a match, they will forfeit the match. For this purpose 1 red card equates to 2 yellow cards.
32.6 Cards do not carry over to the next match, with the exception of red cards who are in effect for the following two matches.
Rule 33 Blue Card
33.1 A player may only receive a blue card when using the Cloth Playing Format.
33.2 When a player receives a blue card, they will be sent to the penalty area for the remainder of the current set and the entirety of the following set.
33.3 When a player receives a blue card, the team will play short-handed for the remainder of the current set and the entirety of the following set.
33.4 A player may only receive a blue card twice within a match. If any further offense warrants an additional blue card penalty, it will be given as a yellow card instead.
Rule 34 Yellow Card
34.1 Player Yellow Card
- 34.1.1 When a player receives a yellow card, they will be sent to the penalty area immediately and have to remain there for a period of 5 minute of match time.
- 34.1.2 When a player receives a red card, the team will play short-handed for the remainder of the match.
- 34.1.3 A player may only receive a yellow card once within a match. If any further offense warrants an additional yellow card penalty, it will be given as a red card instead.
34.2 Retriever Yellow Card
- 34.2.1 When a non-player retriever receives a yellow card, they will be sent out of court for 5 minutes of match time. Additionally, a player has to enter the penalty area for 5 minutes of match time. It is up to the team’s discretion to determine which player should enter the penalty area and it may change the player between sets.34.2.2 When a player retriever receives a yellow card, it will be handled as if they received a player yellow card. An active player must substitute for the offending player.
34.3 Team Yellow Card
- 34.3.1 When a team receives a yellow card during a set, they will forfeit the current set.
- 34.3.2 When a team receives a yellow card between sets or after the match has finished but before the match officials have signed the match sheet, they will forfeit a full set. Should this result in a match to be drawn, all rules pertaining to draws will come into effect.
- 34.3.3 A team may only receive a yellow card once within a match. If any further offense warrants an additional yellow card penalty, it will be given as a red card instead.
Rule 35 Red Card
35.1 Player Red Card
- 35.1.1 When a player receives a red card, they are immediately ejected from the match.
- 35.1.2 When a player receives a red card, the team will play short-handed for the remainder of the match.
- 35.1.3 A player receiving a red card is immediately suspended from participating in the following two matches of the team.
- 35.1.4 Depending on the severity of the offense further penalties may be issued by tournament officials or WDBF representatives after the match concludes.
35.2 Team Red Card
- 35.2.1 When a team receives a red card, it forfeits the match.
Rule 36 Code of Conduct
36.1 In addition to any penalties stated in the rules, players may also receive a penalty following aggressive, abusive, unsporting or other unacceptable use of profanity or unsavory language at the discretion of the match officials.
This can include, but is not limited to
- (1) Fighting, attempting to assault another participant, or any uninvited physical contact;
- (2) Discriminatory comments on a person’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, creed, ethnicity, age, or any form of discrimination;
- (3) Taunting;
- (4) Throwing a ball at an opposing player despite having been clearly rendered out;
- (5) Intentionally inflicting pain or throwing a ball excessively hard at close distance at another player’s face;
- (6) Excessive use of foul language;
- (7) Cheating;
- (8) Causing distraction to players on the court;
- (9) Kicking or spiking the ball.
Section 13: Challenges
Rule 37 Challenges
37.1 A team can challenge the incorrect application of a rule by the match officials twice per match.
37.2 The challenge can only be made by a team leader.
37.3 A challenge can only be made, based on a misapplication of a rule by the match officials that is not up to the judgment or discretion of the match official.
37.4 Any challenge made for other reasons will automatically be unsuccessful.
37.5 If a challenge has been made, the match officials will stop play immediately.
37.6 The match officials will attempt to resolve the challenge before play can continue.
37.7 Match officials may request assistance from other WDBF officials to resolve a challenge.
Section 14: Injuries
Rule 38 Player Injury
38.1 Should a player become injured and requires immediate attention, the match officials shall call a timeout and stop play immediately.
38.2 If an injured player is unable to continue play, a team is allowed to substitute them for a player on the roster.
38.3 The substituted player may enter the game at the end of the queue.
38.4 If the substituted player was a live player, the first player in the queue is allowed to enter the court immediately.
38.5 If a player is replaced during a game, they may not participate in the match as an active player until the following set after the current set has concluded.
38.6 Match officials may substitute players at their discretion, if they determine that the player presents an unreasonable risk to themselves or others.
Rule 39 Blood Injury
39.1 If a participant is found bleeding or discovered to have blood on their uniform, match officials shall call a timeout and stop play immediately to allow treatment.
39.2 A player will not be allowed to participate any further in the set current and may only return to play once treatment has been administered there is no blood clearly visible on the player or their uniform.
39.3 Rules regarding a player’s uniform may not be enforced should a blood injury require a player to change their uniform.
Part 3: Officials
Section 1: Match Officials
Rule 40 Head Referees
40.1 The head referees are the officials that stand on the referee stand positioned on the side of the court across from the team benches. There will be a maximum of 2 head referees in the game.
40.2 The head referees are responsible for checking all the equipment before the game.
40.3 The head referees are responsible for clarifying all the calls if needed.
40.4 The head referees are in charge of all officials on their court and are the final decision maker on all matters covered by these rules and regulations.
40.5 The head referees are responsible for indicating the start of a set with a loud whistle blast.
40.6 The head referees are responsible to ensure the ball is activated.
40.7 The head referees are responsible for the count down on the advantage side.
40.8 The head referees enforce the rules of the game by whistle and action.
40.9 The head referees are allowed to pause on the timer.
40.10 The head referees may issue warnings to any player that does not follow the rules as described.
Rule 41 Line Referees
41.1 The line referee is the official that stands on the referee stand positioned on the outer boundaries of the court. There will be a maximum of 4 line referees in the game.
41.2 The line referee is responsible to ensure all players are at the valid position before the start of the set.
41.3 The line referee is responsible for ensuring the balls are activated.
41.4 The line referee should make sure all opening rush is valid in every set.
41.5 The line referee enforces the rules of the game by action only.
41.6 The line referee is allowed to call a pause on the timer if the call needs to be overruled.
Rule 42 Scorekeeper
42.1 The scorekeeper is the official that sits on the referee booth positioned next to the timekeeper.
42.2 A scorer can also be appointed to keep accurate match scoring, by filling out the score sheet as the match progresses.
42.3 The scorekeeper is responsible for recording all the live players when a time-out is called and ensuring the same players are played when the game continues.
Rule 43 Timekeeper
43.1 The timekeeper is the official that sits in the referee booth positioned behind the match clock aside to the scoreboard.
43.2 The timekeeper is responsible for pausing the timer when announced by the referee.
43.3 The timekeeper should indicate the end of the set, half or match time with a blow of the whistle, if the venue is not equipped with an automated signaling system.
Section 2: Officials Conduct
Rule 44 Officials
44.1 The Officials monitor the game and enforce the rules of the game.
44.2 The Officials are the final authority and arbiter of the rules during a match, and may enforce the rules to their absolute discretion.
Rule 45 Official Interference
45.1 An official shall avoid interfering with play or balls in flight whenever possible.
45.2 An official may prevent a ball from leaving an open court. In which case the ball should be moved on in its natural direction as if it had bounced off the official, or returned to center court if the point of exit is unclear.
Section 3: Referee Procedures and Signals
Rule 46 Stopping Play
46.1 Any match official can stop play at any time during the match, if they deem it necessary.
46.2 Match officials should avoid stopping play if there is action on the court that is independent from the reason for stopping play.
46.3 When stopping play, the official will blow the whistle and raise their hand and step onto court, if it can be done safely, to indicate play is stopped.
Rule 47 Timeout
47.1 Only the head referees can call a timeout.
47.2 When indicating a timeout, head referees should blow the whistle while signaling a T with their arms and stepping onto the court.
47.3 Ten seconds before the end of the timeout, a head referee shall blow the whistle for approximately 1 second.
Part 4: Diagrams
Diagram 1: Combined Dodgeball Court
Diagram 2: Cloth Dodgeball Court
Diagram 3: Foam Dodgeball Court
The World Dodgeball Federation is responsible for this document. The World Dodgeball Federation is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of this document on an annual basis.