The Rule Report - Spirit of the Game

February 28, 2020 at 8:46am

MODS will be releasing a series of news stories over the next few months to help explain the changes to the rules of Ultimate which have been adopted by the World Flying Disc Federation (WFDF) and Ultimate Canada (UC). The monthly stories are here to help understand the new rules and will be vetted by Operations Director Corey Draper and Manitoba's top Observer, Josh Drury.

Rule Update #1 – Spirit of the Game (WFDF)

In the new rules, the Spirit of the Game section has been moved to be a part of the main rules. In addition, WFDF has added several examples of good and poor spirit for reference. The takeaway is that Spirit of the Game is important at all levels. It is the core principle that allows the sport of Ultimate to remain in the hands of the players. Below is the new wording for the rule in full.

1. Spirit of the Game

  1. 1.1.  Ultimate is a non-contact, self-refereed sport. All players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules. Ultimate relies upon a Spirit of the Game that places the responsibility for fair play on every player.
  2. 1.2.  It is trusted that no player will intentionally break the rules; thus there are no harsh penalties for inadvertent breaches, but rather a method for resuming play in a manner which simulates what would most likely have occurred had there been no breach.
  3. 1.3.  Players should be mindful of the fact that they are acting as referees in any arbitration between teams. Players must:
    1. 1.3.1. know the rules;
    2. 1.3.2. be fair-minded and objective;
    3. 1.3.3. be truthful;
    4. 1.3.4. explain their viewpoint clearly and briefly; 
    5. 1.3.5. allow opponents a reasonable chance to speak;
    6. 1.3.6. resolve disputes as quickly as possible, using respectful language;
    7. 1.3.7. make calls in a consistent manner throughout the game; and 
    8. 1.3.8. only make a call where a breach is significant enough to make a difference to the outcome of the action.
  4. 1.4. Highly competitive play is encouraged, but should never sacrifice the mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed-upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.
  5. 1.5. The following actions are examples of good spirit:
    1. 1.5.1. informing a team-mate if they have made a wrong or unnecessary call or caused a foul or violation;
    2. 1.5.2. retracting a call when you no longer believe the call was necessary;
    3. 1.5.3. complimenting an opponent for good play or spirit;
    4. 1.5.4. introducing yourself to your opponent; and
    5. 1.5.5. reacting calmly towards disagreement or provocation.
  6. 1.6. The following actions are clear violations of the spirit of the game and must be avoided by all participants:
    1. 1.6.1. dangerous play and aggressive behaviour;
    2. 1.6.2. intentional fouling or other intentional rule violations;
    3. 1.6.3. taunting or intimidating opposing players;
    4. 1.6.4. disrespectful celebration after scoring;
    5. 1.6.5. making calls in retaliation to an opponent’s call; and
    6. 1.6.6. calling for a pass from an opposition player.
  7. 1.7. Teams are guardians of the Spirit of the Game, and must:
    1. 1.7.1. take responsibility for teaching their players the rules and good spirit;
    2. 1.7.2. discipline players who display poor spirit; and
    3. 1.7.3. provide constructive feedback to other teams about how to improve their adherence to the Spirit of the Game.
  8. 1.8. In the case where a novice player commits a breach out of ignorance of the rules, experienced players are obliged to explain the breach.
  9. 1.9. An experienced player, who offers advice on rules and guides on-field arbitration, may supervise games involving beginners or younger players.
  10. 1.10. Rules should be interpreted by the players directly involved in the play, or by players who had the best perspective on the play. Non-players, apart from the captain, should refrain from getting involved. However players may seek the perspective of non-players to clarify the rules, and to assist players to make the appropriate call.
  11. 1.11. Players and captains are solely responsible for making all calls. 
  12. 1.12. If, after discussion, players cannot agree, or it is unclear:
    1. 1.12.1. what occurred in a play,or
    2. 1.12.2. what would most likely have occurred in a play,
    3. the disc must be returned to the last non-disputed thrower.

We look forward to several rules updates between now and the start of the summer season. Please remember there is no better way to learn the rules then to read them. Also please be patient as educating our player base is going to take some time and not everyone will be confident with the new changes. Every team should do their best to become as familiar as possible with the changes.