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FINA approves new rules for a faster game

The Federation International for aquatic sports (FINA) approved a new set of rules which are dedicated to improve the speed of the game. Video technology is also coming to water polo!

On the last day of the FINA Aquatics Conference, which was held in Hangzhou, FINA Extraordinary Technical Waterpolo Congress adopted most of the rules changes that were proposed at the FINA World Waterpolo Congress in Budapest in April. Most of the rule changes are set to improve the speed of the game.

The LEN Europa Cup Finals, the World League Super Final and the World Championships in Gwangju will all be played with these rule changes.

The 12 modified and new rules are as follows:

1. Modifying rule 20.15: The timekeeper recording the possession time shall reset the clock to 20 seconds when a) the ball is put into play after awarding a corner throw; b) after a rebound after a shot which does not cause a change of possession; c) after an exclusion. 

2. Modifying rule 19.1: A free throw shall be taken from the location of the ball, except: a) if the foul is committed by a defending player within the defender’s 2 meter area, the free throw shall be taken on the 2 meter line opposite to where the foul was committed; b) where otherwise provided for in the Rules. 

3. Modifying rule 17.2: A player taking a corner throw and out-of-play free throw, may: a) shoot directly; b) swim and shoot without passing or may c) pass to another player.

4. Modifying rule 5.6: An additional substitution re-entry area will be at any place in between the goal line and the centre field line on the teams half of field of play (for flying substitutions). [Note: an excluded player or his substitute must always re-enter via the re-entry box in the corner].

5. New rule: Timeout button to be the responsibility of the team, i.e one of the (three) team officials occupying the team bench will be pressing the time-out button when the coach calls for a time-out.

6. Modifying rule 11.2: There shall be a 3-minute interval in between the second and third period.

7. Modifying rule 10.1: The use of automatic visual effects, surrounding the penalty box.  i.e. signalling: 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.

8. Modifying rule 14.3 (d): 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. [Note: when the player is not shooting directly, the ball must be put in play as described in the rules before faking and dribbling].

9. Modifying rule 14.2: The goalkeeper is allowed to move beyond and touch the ball past the half distance line.

10. Modifying rule 12.1: Each team may request 2 timeouts during the game at any time, except after the awarding of a penalty throw, by the coach of the team in possession of the ball.  

11. New rule: Inside the 6-meter area, when a player is swimming with and/or is holding the ball and is impeded (attacked) from behind during an attempt to shoot, a penalty foul must be awarded. 

12. New rule: The use of a Video Monitoring System to determine goal or no goal. The video monitoring system will be also used in order to identify and sanction incidents of brutality or extreme violence that occurred but were not appropriately punished or identified during a game.