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THE RULES OF WORLD SQUASH SINGLES

  1. THE GAME
  2. THE SCORE
  3. POINTS
  4. THE SERVICE
  5. THE PLAY
  6. GOOD RETURN
  7. LET
  8. STROKES
  9. HITTING AN OPPONENT WITH THE BALL
  10. FURTHER ATTEMPTS TO HIT THE BALL
  11. APPEALS
  12. INTERFERENCE
  13. LETS
  14. THE BALL
  15. THE WARM UP
  16. CONTINUITY OF PLAY
  17. CONDUCT ON COURT
  18. CONTROL OF A MATCH
  19. DUTIES OF A MARKER
  20. DUTIES OF A REFEREE
    1. PROPOSED 1997 SINGLES RULES

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 dimensions.
 
 

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 and opponent.
 
 

The Marker shall call either "Set one" or "Set two" as applicable before play continues.
 
 

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.

3. POINTS
 
 

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
 
 

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 Referee.

6. GOOD RETURN
 
 

7. LET
 
 

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 box.
 
 

8. STROKES

A player wins a stroke:
 
 

9. HITTING AN OPPONENT WITH THE BALL
 
 

If the ball, before reaching the front wall, hits the striker's opponent or

racket, or anything they wear or carry, the ball shall cease to be in play and:
 
 

10. FURTHER ATTEMPTS TO HIT THE BALL
 
 

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:
 
 

11.APPEALS
 
 

The loser of a rally may appeal against any decision of the Marker affecting that rally.
 
 

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.
 
 

12. INTERFERENCE
 
  13. LETS
 
 

In addition to lets allowed under other rules, lets may or shall be allowed in certain other cases.
 
 

14. THE BALL
 
  15. WARM UP
 
  16. CONTINUITY OF PLAY
 
 

After the first service is delivered play shall be continuous so far as is practical provided that:
 
 

17. CONDUCT ON COURT
 
 

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.
 
 

18. CONTROL OF A MATCH
 
 

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 score.

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
 
 

20. DUTIES OF A REFEREE
 
  G1. MAKING EVERY EFFORT
 
 

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 striker's exit.
 
 

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 is poor.
 
 

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.
 
 

G4. APPEALS
 
 

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 ball.
 
 

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 equipment.
 
 

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 is final.
 
 

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 the match.
 
 

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:
 
 

A warning

 A stroke

 A game

 The match
 
 

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 (opponent's name)
 
 

Conduct match........ (player's name) for ..... (offence), match to (opponent's name).
 
 

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.
 
 

Major Changes

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 sport.

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.

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