At several recent BISFed competitions it has been observed that some balls which slide more than they roll (if they roll at all) are now being used. These balls are having a detrimental effect on the spirit of the sport which is that the skill of the athlete, rather than the attributes of the sports equipment being used, should be the primary determinant of the outcome of a match. BISFed has been very concerned about this development with the balls for some time and we are currently taking expert independent advice on how to define and test boccia balls. However we believe that this issue requires immediate action, in particular ahead of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games.
Following the 2016 World Championships, where there was much discussion about the use of such balls, we have also received formal requests and messages of support from many BISFed Members for immediate action. We are grateful for these messages of support from so many Members.
The BISFed Board, with advice from the Rules Committee has therefore concluded that it is necessary to issue a Clarification to the existing Boccia Rules which, in summary, makes clear that a ball, by definition, is expected to roll. The attached Rule Clarification will be implemented at forthcoming BISFed-sanctioned Competitions and the Paralympic Games as follows:
- BISFed 2016 World Open, Montreal: The Rules Clarification is for information only, and we will take feedback and comments we receive into consideration.
- BISFed 2016 Fazza World Open, Dubai: The Rules Clarification is for information only, and we will take feedback and comments we receive into consideration.
Following these two events, BISFed will consider whether any further clarification is required, and if necessary we will issue a final Rules Clarification for implementation at both the:
- BISFed 2016 World Open, Povoa: The Rules Clarification will be final and will be in force during this event. (There will be no changes to the Clarification following this event.)
- 2016 Rio Paralympic Games: The Rules Clarification will be final and will be in force during this event.
From 2017, a revised set of Boccia Rules together with an updated method for testing balls (based on the expert independent advice we have received from Loughborough University) will be implemented.