FINA World League

FINA approves new rules to improve the speed of the game


The Federation International for aquatic sports (FINA) officially approved the big set of new water polo rules. On the last day of the FINA Aquatics Conference, which was held in Hangzhou (China), FINA Extraordinary Technical Waterpolo Congress adopted the most of the rules changes that were proposed and presented at the FINA World Waterpolo Congress in Budapest in April. 169 delegates from 110 national federations attended the congress, 161 of them voted for the new rules, 2 against and 6 abstentions.

An expert council, which was formed in 2017, presented its proposals in Budapest. After that, the proposals were tested at the World Men’s U18 Championships in Budapest and at the Women’s World Championships for the same age, that was held in Belgrade.

FINA didn’t approve all proposals. Most of the proposals that were adopted should improve the speed and style of the game.

Three big competitions which are in the water polo calendar for 2019 will be played by the new rules: the LEN Europa Cup Finals, the World League Super Final and the World Championships in Gwangju.

The Europa Cup Finals is a part of the FINA’s competition system, as the 4 best teams from Europa Cup will play at the World League Super Final. According to the latest information, Water Polo Federation of Serbia has big chances to become the host of the World League Super Final. Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, is the candidate for the host city.

The continental federations and every national federation have to choose whether to use or not the new rules in their competitions.

LEN clubs’ competitions (Champions League, Euro Cup) won’t be played by the new rules before the 2019/2020 season, as the competitions already started by current rules

Modified and new rules

– Modifying rule 20.15: The timekeeper recording the possession time shall reset the clock to 20 seconds when the ball is put into play after awarding a corner throw, rebound and after an exclusion.
-Modifying rule 19.1: A free throw shall be taken at the place where the ball is (not anymore where the foul occurred), except when the ball moves inside of 2m area.
-Modifying rule 17.2: a player taking a corner throw and out of the play-free throw, may shoot directly, swim and shoot without passing or pass directly to another player
-Modifying rule 5.6: additional substitution re-entry area will be at any place in between the goal and the center field line on the teams half (flying substitutions).
-Modifying rule 11.2: there shall be a 3-minute interval between the second and the third periods (instead of a 5-minute interval).
-Modifying rule 10.1 (the duties of the secretariats): the use of automatic visual effects, surrounding the penalty box, signaling (a) the last 5 seconds of the expiration of the exclusion time; (b) the time when the excluded player is allowed to come back into the game.
-Modifying rule 14.3 (method of scoring): a goal may be scored by (a) an immediate shot from a free throw awarded outside 6 meters or (b) after fake or dribble or putting the ball on the water
-Modifying rule 14.2: the goalkeeper is allowed to move beyond and touch the ball past the half distance line.
-Modifying rule 12.1: each team may request 2 timeouts of 1-minute duration during the game. Timeouts can be called in the same period, except after the awarding of a penalty throw by the coach of the team which is in possession of the ball.

New rules
– Inside the 6 meter area, when a player is swimming with or is holding the ball and is attacked from behind during an attempt to shoot, must be punished with a penalty foul.
– Timeout button to be a responsibility of the team.
– A game video monitoring system (GVMS) will be employed to determine calls for brutality or any offense involving violence or misconduct and also to determine the situation “goal-no-goal”. The use of audio equipment to be utilized by the game referees.

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