THE RULES OF WORLD SQUASH SINGLES
HITTING AN OPPONENT
WITH THE BALL
TO HIT THE BALL
THE WARM UP
CONDUCT ON COURT
CONTROL OF A
DUTIES OF A MARKER
DUTIES OF A REFEREE
1. THE GAME
The game of Squash is played between two players, each using a specified
racket, with a specified ball, and in a court constructed to WSF specified
2. THE SCORE
A match shall consist of the best of three or five games at the option
of the organisers of the competition. Each game is to nine points, in that
the player who scores nine points wins the game, except that, on the score
being called eight-all for the first time, the receiver shall choose before
the next service is delivered to continue that game either to nine points
(known as "Set one") or to ten points (known as "Set two") in which latter
case the player who scores two more points wins the game. The receiver
shall in either case clearly indicate their choice to the Marker, Referee
The Marker shall call either "Set one" or "Set two" as applicable before
The Marker shall call "Game ball" to indicate that the server requires
one point to win the game in progress or "Match ball" to indicate that
the server requires one point to win the match.
Points can be scored only by the server. When the server wins a stroke
the server scores a point; when the receiver wins a stroke the receiver
becomes the server.
4. THE SERVICE
4.1 The right to serve first is decided by the spin of a racket. Thereafter,
the server continues to serve until losing a stroke, whereupon the opponent
becomes the server, and this procedure continues throughout the match.
At the commencement of the second and each subsequent game the winner of
the previous game serves first.
4.2 At the beginning of each game and each hand the server has the choice
of serving from either box and thereafter shall serve from alternate boxes
while remaining the server. However, if a rally ends in a let the server
shall serve again from the same box.
Note To Officials
If it appears that the server intends to serve from the wrong box,
or either player appears undecided as to which is the correct box, the
Marker shall advise which is the correct box. If the Marker makes an error
with this advice, or there is any dispute, the Referee shall rule on the
4.3 For a service to be good there shall be no foot fault and the ball,
before being struck, shall be dropped or thrown and shall not hit the walls,
floor, ceiling or any object(s) suspended from the walls or ceiling; it
shall be served directly onto the front wall between the cut line and the
out line so that on its return, unless volleyed, it reaches the floor within
the quarter of the court opposite to the server's box. Should a player,
having dropped or thrown the ball, make no attempt to strike it, the ball
shall be dropped or thrown again for that service . A player with the use
of only one arm may utilise the racket to propel the ball into the air
before striking it.
4.4 A service is good when it does not result in hand out. The service
becomes hand out and the server loses the stroke if:
4.4.1 The ball, after being dropped or thrown for service, touches the
wall(s), floor, ceiling or any object(s) suspended from the walls or ceiling
before being served. - Called "Fault".
4.4.2 At the time of striking the ball the server fails to have part of
one foot in contact with the floor within the service box without any part
of that foot touching the service box line (part of that foot may project
over this line provided that it does not touch the line). - Called "Foot
4.4.3 The server makes an attempt but fails to strike the ball. - Called
4.4.4 The ball is not struck correctly. - Called "Not up".
4.4.5 The ball is served out. -Called "Out".
4.4.6 The ball is served against any part of the court before the front
wall. - Called"Fault".
4.4.7 The ball is served onto or below the cut line. - Called "Fault" if
above the board and "Down" if on or below the board.
4.4.8 The first bounce of the ball, unless volleyed by the receiver, is
on the floor on or outside the short or half court lines of the quarter
court opposite to the server's box. - Called "Fault".
4.4.9 The ball, after being served and before it has bounced more than
once on the floor and before it has been struck at by the receiver, touches
the server or anything the server wears or carries. - Called "Down".
4.5 The server must not serve until the Marker has completed calling the
Note To Officials
The Marker must not delay play by the calling of the score. However,
if the server serves or attempts to serve prior to the calling of the score,
the Referee shall stop play and require the server to wait until the calling
of the score has been completed.
5. THE PLAY
After a good service has been delivered the players return the ball
alternately until one fails to make a good return, the ball otherwise ceases
to be in play in accordance with the rules or on a call by the Marker or
6. GOOD RETURN
6.1 A return is good if the ball , before it has bounced more than once
upon the floor, is returned correctly by the striker onto the front wall
above the board, without first touching the floor or any part of the striker's
body or clothing, or the opponent's racket, body or clothing, provided
the ball is not hit out.
6.2 It shall not be considered a good return if the ball touches the board
before or after it hits the front wall and before it bounces on the floor,
or if the racket is not in the player's hand at the time the ball is struck.
A let is an undecided rally. The rally in respect of which a let is
allowed shall not count and the server shall serve again from the same
A player wins a stroke:
9. HITTING AN OPPONENT WITH THE BALL
8.1 Under Rule 4.4 when the player is the receiver.
8.2 If the opponent fails to make a good return of the ball when the opponent
is the striker, unless a let is allowed or a stroke is awarded to the opponent.
8.3 If the ball touches the opponent or anything the opponent wears or
carries when the opponent is the non-striker, except as is otherwise provided
for in Rules 9, 10 and 13.1.1. In all cases the Referee shall rule accordingly.
8.4 If a stroke is awarded by the Referee as provided for in the rules.
If the ball, before reaching the front wall, hits the striker's opponent
racket, or anything they wear or carry, the ball shall cease to be in
9.1 Unless Rule 9.2 applies, the striker shall win the stroke if the return
would have been good and the ball would have struck the front wall without
first touching any other wall.
9.2 If the return would have been good but the striker has either followed
the ball round and turned or allowed it to pass around themselves - in
either case by striking the ball to the right of the striker's body after
the ball had passed to the left (or vice versa) then a let shall be allowed
in all cases.
Note To Referees
If the striker, having turned or allowed the ball to pass around them,
chooses not to continue the rally due to reasonable fear of striking the
opponent and, in the opinion of the Referee, a reasonable possibility of
this occurring did exist and the striker would have been able to make a
good return, then a let shall be allowed .
9.3 If the ball either had struck or would have struck any other wall and
the return would have been good, a let shall be allowed unless, in the
opinion of the Referee, a winning return has been intercepted, in which
case the striker shall win the stroke.
Note To Referees
The stroke award provisions of Rule 9 do not apply to turning, ball
passing around the striker, or further attempts.
9.4 If the return would not have been good, the striker shall lose the
10. FURTHER ATTEMPTS TO HIT THE BALL
Note To Officials
When a player has been struck by the ball as described in Rule 9, the
Marker shall call "Down". The Referee shall assess the trajectory of the
ball and make all further decisions.
If the striker strikes at and misses the ball further attempts may be
made to strike it. If, after being missed, the ball touches the opponent
or the opponent's racket, or anything they wear or carry, then, if, in
the opinion of the Referee:
10.1 The striker could otherwise have made a good return a let shall be
10.2 The striker could not have made a good return they shall lose the
If any such further attempt is successful resulting in a good return
being prevented from reaching the front wall by hitting the striker's opponent
or anything theywear or carry, a let shall be allowed in all circumstances.
If any such further attempt would not have resulted in a good return, the
striker shall lose the stroke.
The loser of a rally may appeal against any decision of the Marker affecting
An appeal to the Referee under Rule 11 should be prefaced with the words
"Appeal please". Play shall then cease until the Referee has given a decision.
If an appeal under Rule 11 is disallowed the Marker's decision
shall stand. If the Referee is uncertain a let shall be allowed except
where provided for in the Note To Referees after Rule 11.2.1 and Notes
To Referees C and D after Rule 11.2.2.
Appeals upheld or Referee intervention under Rule 20.4 are dealt with
in each specific situation below.
Note To Referees
A pointing gesture is not an appeal.
11.1 Appeals on Service
11.1.1 If the Marker calls "Fault", "Foot fault", "Not up", "Down" or "Out"
to the service the server may appeal. If the appeal is upheld a let shall
11.1.2 If the Marker fails to call "Fault", "Foot fault", "Not up", "Down"
or "Out" to the service the receiver may appeal, either immediately or
at the end of the rally if they have played or attempted to play the ball.
If, in the opinion of the Referee, the service was not good play shall
be stopped immediately and a stroke awarded to the receiver.
11.2 Appeals on Play other than Service
11.2.1 If the Marker calls "Not up", " Down" or "Out" following a player's
return, the player may appeal. If the appeal is upheld the Referee shall
allow a let except that if, in the opinion of the Referee:
- The Marker's call has interrupted that player's winning return, they
shall award the stroke to the player.
- The Marker's call has interrupted or prevented a winning return by the
opponent, they shall award the stroke to the opponent.
Note To Referees
In the latter case the Referee shall also award the stroke to the opponent
if they are unsure whether the Marker's call was correct.
11.2.2 If the Marker fails to call "Not up", "Down" or "Out" following
a player's return the opponent may appeal either immediately or at the
end of the rally if they have played or attempted to play the ball. If,
in the opinion of the Referee, the return was not good plays shall stop
immediately and a stroke shall be awarded to the opponent.
Notes To Referees
A. No appeal under Rule 11 may be made after the delivery of a service
for anything that occurred before that service
B. Where there is more than one appeal in a rally (including an appeal
under Rule 12) the Referee shall consider each appeal .
C. If a return is called "Not up", "Down" or "Out" by the Marker and that
same return subsequently goes down or out the Referee, on appeal, if reversing
the Marker's call or unsure, shall then rule on the subsequent occurrence.
D. If a service is called "Fault", "Foot fault", "Not up", "Down" or "Out"
by the Marker and that service subsequently goes down, not up or out, or
is again a fault, the Referee, on appeal, if reversing the Marker's call
or unsure, shall then rule on the subsequent occurrence.
12.1 When it is their turn to play the ball a player is entitled to freedom
from interference by their opponent.
12.2 To avoid interference the opponent must make every effort to provide
the player with:
12.2.1 Unobstructed direct access to the ball.
12.2.2 A fair view of the ball.
12.2.3 Freedom to hit the ball.
12.2.4 Freedom to play the ball directly to the front wall
12.3 Interference occurs if the opponent fails to fulfil any of the requirements
of Rule 12.2, irrespective of whether they make every effort to do so.
Notes To Referees
(G1) A. In 12.2.1 the opponent must move to allow the
player direct access to the ball as soon as the opponent has completed
their own return, i.e. at the completion of a reasonable follow-through
of their racket swing. The player must also make every effort to get to
and where possible play the ball.
B. In 12.2.2 fair view of the ball applies only to its rebound from the
(G2) C. In 12.2.3 freedom to hit the ball requires that
the opponent permit the player an arc of racket swing comprising reasonable
backswing, strike at the ball and reasonable follow-through.
Interference caused by a player's excessive backswing can not result in
the award of a stroke to that player.
A player's excessive follow-through may cause interference for the opponent
when it becomes the latter's turn to play the ball.
12.4 A player encountering what they consider to be interference has the
choice of continuing with play or of stopping and appealing to the Referee.
(G3) 12.4.1 The correct method of appeal, whether a let
or a stroke is sought by the player, is with the words "Let please".
(G4) 12.4.2 An appeal may be made only by the player.
The appeal must be made either immediately the interference occurs or,
where the player clearly does not continue with play beyond the point of
interference, without undue delay.
12.5 The Referee shall decide on the appeal and shall announce the decision
with the words "No let", "Yes let" or "Stroke to ... (name of appropriate
player)". In assessing the interference situation the only relevant opinion
is that of the Referee and the Referee's decision shall be final.
12.6 The Referee shall not allow a let and the player shall lose the rally
12.6.1 There has been no interference.
12.6.2 Interference has occurred but either the player would not have made
a good return or has not made adequate effort to get to and where possible
play the ball.
12.6.3 The player has clearly accepted the interference and played on.
(G5) 12.6.4 The player has created their own interference
in moving to the ball
12.7 The Referee shall allow a let if there has been interference which
the opponent has made every effort to avoid and the player would have made
a good return.
12.8 The Referee shall award a stroke to the player if:
12.8.1 There has been interference which the opponent has not made every
effort to avoid and the player would have made a good return
12.8.2 There has been interference which the opponent has made every effort
to avoid and the player would have made a winning return.
12.8.3 The player has refrained from hitting the ball which, if hit, would
clearly have struck the opponent going directly to the front wall; or to
a side wall but in the latter case would have been a winning return (unless
in either case turning, ball passing around player or further attempt applies).
12.9 The Referee is also empowered to allow a let under Rule 12.7 or to
award a stroke under Rule 12.8 without an appeal having been made, if necessary
stopping play to do so.
12.10 The provisions of Rule 17, Conduct On Court, may be applied in interference
situations. The Referee shall, stopping play if it has not already stopped,
apply an appropriate penalty if:
(G6) 12.10.1 The player has made unnecessary physical
contact with their opponent or vice versa.
12.10.2 The player has endangered their opponent with an excessive racket
In addition to lets allowed under other rules, lets may or shall be
allowed in certain other cases.
13.1 A let may be allowed:
13.1.1 If owing to the position of the striker, the opponent is unable
to avoid being touched by the ball before the return is made.
Note To Referees
This rule shall include the cases where the striker's position is in front
of the opponent, making it difficult for the latter to see the ball, or
where the striker allows the ball to pass close to themselves and the ball
hits the opponent who is behind the striker. This is not, however, to be
taken as conflicting in any way with the duties of the Referee under Rule
13.1.2 If the ball in play touches any article lying on the floor.
Note To Referees
The Referee shall ensure that no articles
are placed on the floor by the players.
(G7) 13.1.3 If the striker refrains from hitting the
ball owing to a reasonable fear of injuring their opponent.
Note To Referees
This shall include the case of the striker wishing to play the ball onto
the back wall.
13.1.4 If, in the opinion of the Referee, either player is distracted by
an occurrence on or off the court.
13.1.5 If, in the opinion of the Referee, a change in court conditions
has affected the result of the rally.
13.2 A let shall be allowed:
13.2.1 If the receiver is not ready and does not attempt to return the
13.2.2 If the ball breaks during play.
13.2.3 If the Referee is asked to decide an appeal and is unable to do
13.2.4 If an otherwise good return has been made but either the ball lodges
in any part of the playing surface of the court preventing it from bouncing
more than once upon the floor, or the ball goes out on its first bounce.
13.3 If the striker appeals for a let under Rules 13.1 (2 to 5), in order
for a let to be allowed they must have been able to make a good return.
For a non-striker appeal under Rules 13.1.2, 13.1.4 and 13.1.5 this is
not a requirement.
13.4 No let shall be allowed under Rules 13.1.3 and 13.2.1 if the striker
attempts to play the ball but may be allowed under Rules 13.1.2, 13.1.4,
13.1.5, 13.2.2, 13.2.3 and 13.2.4.
13.5 The appeals requirements of Rule 13 are:
14. THE BALL
13.5.1 An appeal by the player is necessary for a let to be allowed under
Rules 13.1.3 (striker only), 13.1.4, 13.2.1 (striker only) and 13.2.3.
13.5.2 An appeal by the player or Referee intervention without appeal is
applicable to Rules 13.1.2, 13.1.5, 13.2.2 and 13.2.4.
13.5.3 Where a player is struck by the ball as described in Rule 13.1.1
the Referee shall decide without appeal whether a let is to be allowed
or the stroke awarded to the striker.
14.1 At any time, when the ball is not in actual play, another ball may
be substituted by mutual consent of the players, or on appeal by either
player at the discretion of the Referee.
Note To Referees
Either player or the Referee may examine the ball at any time it is
not in actual play to check its condition.
14 .2 If a ball breaks during play, it shall be replaced promptly by another
Note To Referees
The Referee shall decide whether a ball is broken.
15. WARM UP
14.3 If a ball has broken during play but this has not been established,
a let for the rally in which the ball broke shall be allowed if the server
appeals prior to the next service or if the receiver appeals prior to attempting
to return that service.
Note To Referees
(G8) If the receiver appeals prior to attempting
to return service and, in the opinion of the Referee, the ball break occurred
during that service, the Referee shall allow a let for that rally only,
but if unsure, should allow a let for the previous rally.
14.4 The provisions of Rule 14.3 do not apply to the final rally of a game.
An appeal in this case must be immediately after the rally.
14.5 If a player stops during a rally to appeal that the ball is broken
only to find subsequently that the ball is not broken, then that player
shall lose the stroke.
16. CONTINUITY OF PLAY
15.1 Immediately preceding the start of play the two players together shall
be allowed on the court of play a period of five minutes for the purpose
of warming up the ball to be used for the match.
After two and a half minutes of the warm up, the Referee shall call "Half
time" and ensure that the players change sides unless they mutually agree
otherwise. The Referee shall also advise when the warm up period is complete
with the call of "Time".
An interval of up to ninety seconds shall be permitted between the end
of the warm up and start of play.
15.2 Where a ball has been substituted under Rule 14 or when the match
is being resumed after considerable delay, the Referee shall allow the
ball to be warmed up to playing condition. Play shall then resume on the
direction of the Referee, or upon mutual consent of the players, whichever
is the earlier.
Note To Referees
The Referee must ensure that both players warm up the ball fairly (Rules
15.1 and 15.2). An unfair warm up shall be dealt with under the provisions
of Rule 17.
15.3 The ball may be warmed up by either player between the end of the
five-minute warm up and start of play, between games and when their opponent
is changing equipment.
After the first service is delivered play shall be continuous so far
as is practical provided that:
16.1 At any time play may be suspended, owing to bad light or other circumstances
beyond the control of the players, for such period as the Referee shall
decide. The score shall stand.
If another court is available when the court originally in use remains
unsuitable, the match may be transferred to it if both players agree or
as directed by the Referee.
In the event of play being suspended for the day the score shall stand
unless both players agree to start the match again.
16.2 An interval of ninety seconds shall be permitted between all games.
Players may leave the court during such intervals but must be ready to
resume play by the end of the stated time.
By mutual consent of the players play may recommence prior to the expiry
of the ninety-second time interval.
(G9) 16.3 If a player satisfies the Referee that a change
of equipment, clothing or footwear is necessary, the player may leave the
court. The player is required to effect the change as quickly as possible
and shall be allowed a period not exceeding ninety seconds for this purpose.
16.4 When fifteen seconds of a permitted ninety-second time interval remain
the Referee shall call "Fifteen seconds" to advise the players to be ready
to resume play. At the end of this interval the Referee shall call "Time".
It is the responsibility of the players to be within earshot of the court
to hear the calls of "Fifteen seconds" and "Time".
Notes To Referees
A. Should one player fail to be ready to resume play when "Time" is
called, the Referee shall apply the provisions of Rule 17.
B. Should neither player be ready to resume play when "Time" is called
the Referee shall apply the provisions of Rule 17 for both players.
16.5 In the event of an injury to a player the Referee shall decide if
(G10) 16.5.1 Self-inflicted
16.5.2 Accidentally contributed to or accidentally caused by their opponent
16.5.3 Caused by the opponent's deliberate or dangerous play or action.
Notes To Referees
A. In all injury situations, the Referee must determine that the injury
B. In Rule 16.5.1, the Referee may allow the injured player up to three
minutes to recover from the injury. This time interval may be extended
at the discretion of the Referee. If additional recovery time is needed
beyond that permitted by the Referee, the Referee shall require the player
to continue play; or concede the game, accept the time interval and then
continue play; or concede the match.
C. In Rule 16.5.2, the Referee must not interpret the words "accidentally
contributed to" or "accidentally caused by" to include the situation where
the injury to the player is as a result of that player occupying an unnecessarily
close position to their opponent.
D. In Rule 16.5.2 the Referee shall allow reasonable time for the injured
player to recover, having regard to the time schedule of the competition.
The injured player must by the end of this period of time resume play
E. In Rule 16.5.3 the Referee may, at their discretion, apply an appropriate
Rule 17 penalty, except that if the injured player requires time to recover
the Referee shall award the match to the injured player.
F. In all cases a player shall not resume play while a wound which is bleeding
remains uncovered and the flow of blood continues.
(G11) 16.6 The Referee shall apply the provisions of
Rule 17 to a player who, in their opinion, delays play unreasonably. Such
delay may be caused by:
17. CONDUCT ON COURT
16. 6.1 Unduly slow preparation to serve or to receive service.
16.6.2 Prolonged discussion with the Referee.
16.6.3 Delay in returning to the court, having left under the terms of
Rules 15.1, 16.2 or 16.3.
If the Referee considers that the behaviour of a player on court could
be intimidating or offensive to an opponent, official or spectator, or
could in any way bring the game into disrepute, the player may be penalised.
(G12) Offences which should be dealt with under this
rule include audible and visible obscenities, verbal and physical abuse,
dissent to Marker or Referee, abuse of racket or ball and coaching, other
than during the interval between games. Other offences include unnecessary
physical contact and excessive racket swing (Rule 12.10), unfair warm up
(Rule 15.2 Note To Referees), late back on court (Rule 16.4 Notes to Referees
A and B), deliberate or dangerous play or action (Rule 16.5.3) and time
wasting (Rule 16.6).
(G13) For these and any other offences which, in
the opinion of the Referee, justify the application of this rule, one of
the following penalty provisions may be applied.
Warning by the Referee (called a Conduct Warning)
Stroke awarded to opponent (called a Conduct Stroke)
Game awarded to opponent (called a Conduct Game)
Match awarded to opponent (called a Conduct Match)
18. CONTROL OF A MATCH
Notes To Referees
A. If the Referee stops play to give a warning a let shall be allowed.
B. If the Referee stops a rally to award a conduct stroke then that stroke
award becomes the result of the rally. If the Referee awards a conduct
stroke at the conclusion of a rally, the result of the rally stands and
the conduct stroke award is additional but without change of service box.
A conduct stroke awarded at the end of a game shall be carried over to
the next game.
C. If the Referee awards a game that game shall be the one in progress
or the next game if one is not in progress, in which latter case the interval
between games shall not apply. The offending player shall retain any points
already scored in the game awarded.
A match is normally controlled by a Referee, assisted by a Marker. One
person may be appointed to carry out the functions of both Referee and
Marker. When a decision has been made by the Referee, the Referee shall
announce it to the players and the Marker shall repeat it with the subsequent
Notes To Officials
(G14) A. It is desirable to have separate Officials
to carry out the roles of Marker and Referee.
B. Players are not permitted to request a change of Marker or
Referee. The Tournament Referee has the sole right to replace a Marker
or Referee before or after the commencement of a match.
19. DUTIES OF A MARKER
19.1 The Marker shall call the play, followed by the score, with the server's
score called first. "Fault", "Foot fault", "Not up", "Down", "Out" and
"Hand-out" shall be called as appropriate, and shall repeat the Referee's
(G15) 19.2 If the Marker makes a call the rally shall
Note To Markers
If the Marker is unsighted or uncertain no call shall be made.
19.3 If play ceases and the Marker is unsighted or uncertain the Marker
shall advise the players and shall call on the Referee to make the relevant
decision; if the Referee is unable to do so a let shall be allowed.
20. DUTIES OF A REFEREE
Note To Markers
Markers must use recognised calls, including when the rally has ceased.
20.1 The Referee shall allow or disallow appeals for lets, and award strokes;
make decisions where called for by the rules, including all cases when
a player is struck by the ball, and for injuries; and shall decide all
appeals including those against the Marker's calls or lack of calls. The
decision of the Referee shall be final.
20.2 The Referee shall exercise control:
20.2.1 Upon appeal by one of the players, including an appeal against any
20.2.2 As provided for in Rules 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17,
20.3 The Referee shall not intervene in the Marker's calling of the score
unless, in the opinion of the Referee, the score has been called incorrectly
in which case they shall have the Marker call the correct score.
Note To Officials
Both the Marker and Referee are required to record the score.
G1. MAKING EVERY EFFORT
20.4 The Referee shall not intervene in the Marker's calling of the play
unless, in the opinion of the Referee, the Marker has made an error in
stopping play or allowing play to continue, in which case the Referee shall
immediately rule accordingly.
20.5 The Referee is responsible for ensuring that all rules relating to
time are strictly enforced.
20.6 The Referee is responsible for ensuring that court conditions are
appropriate for play.
20.7 The Referee may award a match to a player whose opponent fails to
be present on court, ready to play, within ten minutes of the advertised
time of play.
The outgoing striker is required to make every effort to clear the ball
after playing their return. Their route should be on a path which allows
the incoming striker direct access to the ball, provided the incoming striker
has not moved into play the ball so quickly that they block the outgoing
However, it is equally important for the incoming striker to make every
effort to get to and where possible, play the ball. If the incoming striker
does not make every effort to get to the ball, then that is a significant
factor in the Referee's assessment of whether or not that player could
have reached the ball and made a good return.
The degree of effort that is required by the incoming striker, in order
to demonstrate that they were indeed making every effort, is for the Referee
to decide. Players should note that this does not give them licence to
physically abuse their opponents and unnecessary physical contact will
be penalised under Rules 12/17.
A Referee, however, should not refuse lets in situations where the player
was clearly making every effort (albeit short of physical contact with
their opponent) to get to and play the ball and had demonstrated to the
Referee that they would have reached the ball.
In giving a decision the Referee must weigh up the amount of effort
being made by both players. In cases where the Referee assesses that sufficient
effort has not been made by either player, this should be taken into account
when making the decision.
G2. TIMING OF APPEALS
The timing of an appeal on interference is important.
In the case of an appeal concerning fairview and freedom to hit the
ball directly to the front wall (commonly known as "crossing the flight"),
the Referee must consider the situation at the time the player could have
hit the ball.
In the case of interference on backswing the appeal must be immediate,
and before the player makes any attempt to play the ball. Any attempt to
hit the ball after backswing interference has occurred indicates that the
striker has accepted the interference and thus forfeits the right of appeal.
If in the act of playing the ball, which includes the downswing and
hit, there is interference, an appeal may be allowed. If this appeal is
made at the completion of the racket swing the Referee may allow a let
or award a stroke if in their opinion the interference has affected the
outcome of that return.
G3. METHOD OF APPEAL
The correct method of appeal in interference situations is with the
words "Let please".
Other forms of appeal are sometimes used by players including a raised
hand or racket, especially where communication between players and Referee
A Referee accepting any form of appeal other than the standard "Let
please" must be satisfied that an appeal is actually being made (not a
rally conceded), if necessary clarifying this with the player.
If a player makes a prompt appeal because of interference and their
opponent's service or return prior to that appeal subsequently goes down
or out, the Referee should not consider the appeal but should rule on the
service or return and award the stroke to the player
G5. CREATED INTERFERENCE
At all times a player must be allowed direct access to play the ball
and the opponent, having completed their own return, must always endeavour
to provide this direct access.
However, sometimes the situation arises where the opponent has caused
no interference (ie. they have clearly provided the required direct access)
but the player has taken an indirect route to the ball which takes them
through, or very close to, the opponent's position. The plaer then appeals
for a let because they have been "obstructed" in their access to the ball.
But there is no genuine reason for this indirect route. In effect the
player has "created their own interference" where none otherwise existed
and if the player appeals for a let they should not be allowed one. Whether
the player could have made a good return is not even a consideration; in
order to remain in the rally the player must get to and play the ball.
This is not to be confused with two situations where a player in attempting
to extricate themselves from a position of disadvantage is denied direct
access to the ball. The first is where a player is "WRONG FOOTED", and
anticipates their opponent hitting the ball one way, starts moving that
way, but having guessed wrongly changes direction to find their opponent
in the way. In this situation a let should be allowed on appeal if they
have recovered so as to show conclusively that they could have made a good
return. In fact had the incoming striker been prevented from playing a
winning return then they may be awarded a stroke.
Secondly, if a player plays a poor return and puts their opponent in
a position of advantage they should only be given a let if, in taking the
direct line to the ball for their next return, they have shown conclusively
that, but for the interference, they would have been able to get to the
G6. UNNECESSARY PHYSICAL CONTACT
Unnecessary physical contact is both detrimental to the game and potentially
dangerous. In blatant cases the Referee should stop the rally and award
the appropriate penalty accordingly. The Referee should also be aware of
a player who "pushes off" their opponent. Where this has no significant
effect on the opponent, then the rally should be allowed to continue and
a warning given at the end of the rally.
G7. APPEALS FOR FEAR OF INJURY
When an appeal for a let has been made and there has been no interference
the Referee's decision is usually "No let". However, occasionally, although
interference as defined in Rule 12.2 does not exist , there may be reasonable
fear of injury in which case a let should be allowed under Rule 13.1.3.
G8. BROKEN BALL
When the receiver makes an appeal prior to attempting to return the
service, the Referee has discretionary power to decide whether to replay
the previous rally or to allow a let in respect of the rally in which the
ball was found to be broken.
G9. CHANGE OF EQUIPMENT
In order to avoid the situation of one player gaining an unfair rest
interval through a change of equipment, the Referee should note that before
allowing a player to leave the court to change equipment, the Referee must
be satisfied that there has indeed been a material deterioration of the
The preference for another racket, or a different pair of shoes where
no physical deterioration is evident, is not sufficient reason for allowing
a change of equipment. The Referee should also note that although up to
90 seconds are allowed for a change of equipment players are required to
carry out the change as quickly as possible.
If a player loses a contact lens or their glasses break, then following
the appropriate time interval for change of equipment, they must continue
play or an appropriate Rule 17 penalty will be applied.
If a player is unable to resume play because they have no alternative
equipment then the Referee should award the match to the opponent.
G10. ILLNESS/INJURY ON COURT
If, during a match, a player feels ill such that they need to leave
the court, they should advise the Referee who may allow them up to three
minutes to recover. If extra time beyond that permitted is needed or if
the Referee does not permit them recovery time, the player must concede
the game, take the 90-second interval, then be ready to resume play. A
player may concede only one game. If, after taking the 90-second interval,
they are unable to continue play, they shall then concede the match.
If, however, a player is sick on court, so that the court conditions
are such that play is prevented from continuing, then the Referee should
award the match to the opponent irrespective of whether the sick player
is able to continue or not (Rule 17 Conduct On Court).
Similarly, if a player suffers from a nose bleed and as a result the
court conditions are impaired to the extent that they are detrimental to
the match in progress, then the opponent should be awarded the match. (NB:
This refers to a "natural" nose bleed rather than one caused by collision
where the relevant injury rule would apply).
In all the above cases the Referee's decision with regard to court conditions
Players should note that where an injury is sustained which is entirely
self- inflicted, including injury caused by a player being struck by their
opponent's racket when the player has occupied an unnecessarily close position
to the opponent, a time interval of up to three minutes (which can be extended
solely at the discretion of the Referee) may be permitted for the player
to recover. After that the Referee will require the player to continue;
or concede the game, accept the interval and then continue play; or concede
Players should also note that irrespective of the cause of any injury
they are not permitted to resume play while a wound which is bleeding is
not securely covered or where blood flow continues from an uncovered wound.
G11. TIME WASTING
Time wasting represents an attempt by one player to gain an unfair advantage
over their opponent. Prolonged discussion with the Referee and slow preparation
to serve or receive service are particularly mentioned (Rule 16.6). Where
this occurs the Referee should apply an appropriate Rule 17 penalty at
the earliest opportunity.
It should be noted that while excessive ball bouncing prior to service
does constitute time wasting, the server should not be considered to have
served their hand out.
During game intervals the Referee is required to call "15 seconds" to
indicate that the players have 15 seconds to return to court and be ready
to resume play. It is the responsibility of players to be within earshot
to hear the call.
Players should note that the call of "15 seconds" is advice to return
to court. A player who is not ready to resume play on the call of "Time"
is deliberately or otherwise gaining an unfair advantage and should be
penalised under Rule 17.
G12. COACHING DURING MATCHES
Coaching of players may occur only during the interval between games.
Coaching should not be taken to mean brief comments of encouragement between
rallies which clearly have no effect on the continuity of play. The Referee
is expected to exercise discretion in deciding between such comments and
coaching a player.
The use of external communication aids is prohibited.
The Referee may stop coaching in any form during play by applying Rule
17, Conduct on Court, to the player being coached.
G13. PROGRESSION OF PENALTIES
The penalties available to the Referee under Rule 17 are:
The guidelines for applying the penalties are as follows:
The first penalty imposed by the Referee for a particular offence may
be at any level to suit the seriousness of the offence, ie. a warning,
stroke, game or match. However, any second or subsequent penalty for the
same type of offence may not be of a lesser severity than the previous
penalty for that offence. Thus the Referee may award several warnings or
several strokes for the same type of offence if they felt that the offence
did not warrant a stronger punishment.
When issuing penalties the Referee should use the following terminology:
Conduct warning...... (player's name) for ....... (offence).
Conduct stroke......... (player's name) for....... (offence), stroke
to (opponent's name)
Conduct game.......... (player's name) for ..... (offence), game to
Conduct match........ (player's name) for ..... (offence), match to
G14. SINGLE OFFICIAL
It may not always be possible to have two officials for a match. A single
official would act as the Marker initially, but when there was an appeal
they would then take on the role of the Referee and give their decision,
on appeal, as the Referee.
Whilst this situation is not recommended, it does happen, and the single
official should know that they act as the Marker and then on appeal, as
Referee. It is not correct to say that because there is only one official
there is no Referee.
G15. MARKER'S CALLS
The Marker must call to stop a rally if, in their opinion, a player
has failed to deliver a good service or to make a good return.
However, if because of a service or return which was obviously not good,
both players cease play without the Marker making a call, then the appropriate
call of "Not up", "Down" or "Out" may be omitted.
21. PROPOSED 1997 SINGLES RULES
As many Players and Officials will know the Rules of Squash go in 4 year
cycles. This is to avoid the continual amendment of Rules which has in
the past caused confusion. Now no amendment may be made to the Rules within
that 4 year period although this does not apply to Appendices and Official
Guidelines. The current period ends on the 1st of May, 1997 and much work
has been done by various Members/Bodies of the World Squash Federation
and in particular by the Rules and Referees Committee.
A 1st Draft of the proposed changes was issued in July, 1995 and
a Timetable made as follows:-
November 1995. WSF Seminar for discussion on proposed 1997 rules
package. This will take place in Cyprus at the Annual WSF AGM and Conference.
December 1995. 2nd Draft including amendments agreed upon at
Seminar will be sent to all WSF Member Nations.
January-June 1966. Consideration of proposed draft by WSF Member
Nations and submission in writing of any proposed amendments.
July 1996. Submission of proposed draft by WSF together with
written submissions and Rules and Referees Committee Recommendations.
August 1996. Circulation of final draft to WSF Member Nations.
September/October 1996. WSF Annual General Meeting discussion
of final draft and approval of the rules package.
1st May 1997. New rules become effective.
The following are the proposals made in the first draft.
The World Game. It is proposed that the name of the game be World,
rather than international, to conform with the name of the organisation,
World Squash Federation. Therefore the rules would become the Rules of
the World Singles Game and of the World doubles Game.
Injury. The injury situation has become such that the committee
believes a separate rule is necessary. Injury has in the past always been
a part of Continuity of Play, currently Rule 16. Rather than create an
additional rule number, the committee has moved Let from Rule 7 to a definition
(with the advent of single service squash, Let has become a rule of two
lines). Continuity of Play fits conveniently at the Rule 7 position and
Injury becomes Rule 16.
Non Gender Specific. The rules have been made non gender specific,
i.e. there are no longer any he/him/his words (and no note to say that
this also means she/her). A great deal of minor wording change was involved
to effect this. Although, overall, there are probably a few more words
in the rules with this change, the committee believes that this more than
justifies the result which must help to promote squash as a male and female
Refereeing Systems. Without any definite decision on a preferred
alternative refereeing system to the standard one, the committee has created
an appendix to permit further experimentation with the three systems involved
and will provide brief descriptions of these systems for the appendix.
(Note by HTML writer. The three systems referred to are
a) Three Judge original system, b) Three Judge modified system and c) Two
Judge system. Details are not presently generally available).
Dropped Object. With some safeguards, a Canadian proposal has
been adopted to stipulate that a player who drops anything on the floor
of the court where a rally is in progress shall lose the stroke. For safety's
sake the Referee will now always stop play if seeing anything fall to the
floor of the court, whether from player, spectator or any other source.
This situation has been a "grey" area in squash rules and the proposed
rule will both tighten up and clarify the circumstances of a dropped object.
(Note by HTML writer. The new proposed Rule 7.7 covers
this but does say "other than a player's racket". If this occurs it is
proposed that the rally is allowed to proceed as the player dropping the
racket is already at an disadvantage).
Conclusion by HTML writer. If you have any constructive criticisms
or amendments to any of the above or, indeed, any other rules changes you
feel are worthy of consideration should write to your Rules Committee of
your National Association. Addresses of most of these Associations can
be found in these pages.