Polo is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its rules but also within the spirit of the game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself. The major responsibility for ensuring the spirit of fair play rests with the players.
The Preliminary Game and Field Rules, the essentials for how the game of polo should be played, align with the rules of England, Argentina and the USA. The shading indicates that the rule is either a change to the 2016 HPA rules or is different to that of the USPA or AAP.
Each country or association has different rules for certain aspects such as membership, players and their equipment, substitution, tournament conditions, pony welfare and disciplinary matters and these are set out in the Supplementary Regulations and Rules. All matches, games and chukkas within the jurisdiction of the EPA are to be played under the EPA’s Rules of Polo and the Annexes thereto which are set out in this rule book. For reasons of simplicity the masculine gender is used to denote both masculine and feminine throughout the Rules.
Annex A: Layout of Field of Play and Safety Zone. This includes sockets for widened goals which are not used everywhere.
Annex B: Rules and Guidelines for Game Officials. This covers the EPA’s guidelines pertaining to the game officials.
Annex C: Diagrams.
Annex D: Format, Scheduling and Order of Merit.
Annex E: Not Used.
Annex F: Membership Rules and Regulations.
Annex G: Handicapping Rules and Regulations.
Appendix 1: Guidelines for Handicapping.
Annex H: Use of Banned Substances by Players.
Annex I: Insurance.
Annex J: Not Used.
Annex K: Disciplinary Procedures.
Appendix 1: Notice of Disciplinary Hearing and Charge.
Appendix 2: Brief for Members of a Disciplinary Board.
Appendix 3: Guidelines for Party Charged.
Attachment 1: Declaration by Party Charged.
Appendix 4: Notice of a Result of Disciplinary Hearing.
Appendix 5: Powers of and Guidelines on Penalties.
PRELIMINARY GAME RULES
1. FACILITIES AND ACCESS DURING PLAY. See Annex A.
a. Field of Play. The Field of Play is the prepared area bounded by the side line or boards and the back line.
(i) Full Size. The measurements of a full-size field of play shall be:
Length: 300 yards (275 meters)
Width: 200 yards (180 meters) if unboarded and 160 yards (146 meters) if boarded.
(ii) Minimum Size. The minimum measurements for a field of play shall be:
Length: 250 yards (230 meters)
Width: 175 yards (160 meters) if unboarded and 145 yards (130 meters) if boarded.
b. Safety Zone. The Safety Zone is the prepared area that extends beyond each end and along each side of the field of play. The Safety Zone should be marked and it is recommended to extend 10 yards beyond the side lines/boards and at least 30 yards beyond the back line and should be prepared to the same standard as the field of play. Any incident which occurs in the safety zone shall be treated as though it occurred on the field of play itself
c. Goals and Goal Line. The goal posts shall be 8 yards (7.3 metres) apart (inside measurement) and centred at each end of the field of play. The goal line is that part of the back line between the two goal posts at either end of the field of play. The goal posts shall be at least 10 feet (3 metres) high, and light enough to give way if collided with.
d. Boards. Boards, if used, shall not exceed 11 inches (28 cm) in height and shall be at least one inch thick. They may be curved at the ends of the field of play.
e. Ball. The ball shall be 3 to 3.5 inches (76 to 89 millimetres) in diameter and within the limits of 4.25 to 4.75 ounces (120 to 135 grams).
f. Access during Play. During play, the field of play and safety zone is restricted to the players, umpires and goal judges except that:
(i) A stick holder may enter the safety zone but not the field of play to hand over a stick to a player.
(ii) Players may change in allocated box areas (marked out or imaginary) at any of the four corners of the field of play. They may not change in the safety zones between the two 30 yard lines.
(iii) Ponies may be ridden between the pony lines and the changing boxes within the safety zone during play providing that they are ridden in a sensible manner and at a safe speed.
a. Team. A team shall consist of 4 players.
b. Patron. A Patron is the owner of a team, who is fully in charge of his horse’s expenses and will provide full or partial support of the team expenses. A Patron will not earn any income from playing polo, selling or grooming horses. The Patron’s family will not earn any income from playing polo.
Any person who wishes to become a Patron will be considered as an individual case. The Tournament committee will have the final decision to consider any player as a Patron based on the opposite concept of Patron vs. Professional-semiprofessional sponsored player.
c. Left Handed Players. No player shall play with his left hand.
d. Leaving the Field. A player may not leave the field of play during the course of a chukka without the permission of the umpires except to change a pony or a stick or for a legitimate run off.
e. Drink and Drugs. No player may play in any match, practice game or chukka under the influence of alcohol or any illegal stimulant or drug.
f. Substitution. If a match is about to start or has started and a player is late or unable to play through accident, sickness or duty, he may be replaced by a substitute. The substitute must be qualified to play in the tournament and the team must remain qualified after the substitution has been made. If the game is on handicap and a higher handicap player is qualified to play the goals awarded on handicap will be recalculated as if he had started the game. It is the responsibility of the team to mount the substitute. Further substitution rules may apply for specific tournaments or in different countries.
g. New Player Registration: If a player is registered before December 1st but is not in any of the 18 goal handicap teams and he is not coming to play any tournament in UAE before December 20th he will play with his highest handicap in the world.
h. Players with 2 ratings in HPA: If a player has two different handicaps ( HPA ) he will play in the UAE with the Highest one.
i. Ladies Handicap: All Lady players with a handicap will play with the highest in the world until they are rated and get an EPA ladies hcp.
3. PONIES. See EPA Supplementary Rules.
a. Ponies of any height may be played.
b. A pony may not play if it is blind in an eye, is not under proper control or shows a vice so that is a danger to other ponies or players.
c. Blinkers or any equipment which might obstruct a pony’s vision is not allowed.
d. Ponies must be protected by bandages or boots on all four legs and must have their tails put up.
4. OFFICIALS. See Annex B for the Rules and Guidelines for Officials (the Referee, Umpires, Goal Judges, Timekeeper, Scorer and Assistant Scorer).
a. Authority. The rules shall normally be administered by two umpires and a referee whose authority will be absolute during and immediately before and after the game on matters regarding the conduct of play. Should any incident occur which is not provided for in the rules such incident or question shall be decided by the umpires unless they disagree in which case they should consult the referee. They will be assisted by Goal Judges and a Timekeeper who may in turn be assisted by a Scorer and Assistant Scorer.
b. Referee. The referee (or third man) should be in an elevated and isolated position at the centre of the ground so that he has a good view and can concentrate on the play. He should not be drawn into conversation or use a mobile phone and must make his position known to the umpires before the game. He will adjudicate, when asked, if the umpires disagree in which event his decision will be final. If the referee is unable to make an informed judgement on the play, then he should rule ‘No Foul’.
c. Umpires. There will normally be two mounted umpires who have the duty to control the game according to the rules.
d. Goal Judges. A goal judge shall be appointed for each goal. On occasion, two may be used at each goal. Each shall give testimony to the umpire at the latter’s request as to the goals scored or other points of the game near the goal, but the umpire shall make the final decision.
e. Timekeeper. A Timekeeper shall be appointed in all games and is responsible for keeping the time for the intervals and the time played in each chukka. The Timekeeper may also act as the Scorer and Assistant Scorer.
f. Scorer. The Scorer will record the goals scored, noting if possible the name of the player scoring the goal, the time at which the goal was scored and the direction of play. He will instruct the Assistant Scorer to put up the score on the board being particularly careful to check that the correct team has been credited. At all times it is the Scorer’s figures that count.
g. Assistant Scorer. The Assistant Scorer is responsible for preparing the scoreboard before the match, and updating goals scored and chukka numbers during the match. He should have communication with the Scorer if they are not sitting together.
5. COMMON TERMS. Below is a list of the terms commonly used in various rules with their meaning:
a. Foul. A foul is defined as any infringement of the rules.
b. States of Play.
(i) Ball in Play. If thrown in, the ball is considered ‘in play’ the moment it has left the umpires hand, and for a free hit the moment the player taking a free hit has either hit or hit at the ball if missed.
(ii) Ball Out of Play. Unless the umpires blow the whistle, the ball is ‘out of play’ if a goal has been scored or if it has gone over the back or side line or boards for a hit in or throw in. A ball on the line is still in play. The clock is not stopped.
(iii) Dead Ball. The ball is ‘dead’ when the umpire blows his whistle or on the sound of the bell that ends a chukka. The clock is stopped.
(iv) Break in Play. There is a ‘break in play’ when the ball is dead or goes out of play.
(v) Neutral. Play is considered to be ‘neutral’ when neither side has an advantage or is favoured.
c. Throw-In. The umpire shall stand at the spot on the field of play as set out in the Rules. Each team shall take up its position opposite the umpire on its own side of an imaginary line at least 2 feet (60 cms) apart. No player shall be within 5 yards of the umpire who shall bowl the ball in underhand, low and hard between the opposing ranks of players. The players should remain stationary and have no contact with an opposing player until the ball has left the umpire’s hand.
d. Offside. A player is offside if he enters the field of play from the side of the opposing team for a throw in, hit in (Rule 12), or penalty hit. If offside, he may not make a play until he has passed a player of his own team who was correctly positioned at the time of the throw in or hit.
e. Behind the Ball. If a line is drawn through where the ball has been placed parallel to the back line, behind the ball is taken as that part of the field of play which is on that side of the team taking the hit.
6. DURATION OF THE GAME.
a. Number of Chukkas. The standard duration of a game shall be 6 chukkas, excluding extra time, but this may be varied by the Tournament Committee according to the level of the polo.
b. Intervals. Intervals between chukkas will be 3 minutes with a 5 minute interval at half time and before extra time. In games of 5 chukkas, the half time interval shall be after the third chukka. A bell shall be rung at the end of these intervals as a signal to the teams that the umpires are about to restart play.
c. Unfinished Game. Once the game has started it shall be played to a finish unless stopped by the umpire or the Host Tournament Committee for some unavoidable cause which prevents a finish the same day, such as darkness or weather. It shall be resumed at the point at which it has stopped, as to score, chukka and position of the ball, at the earliest convenient time, to be decided upon by the host Tournament Committee.
7. DURATION OF CHUKKAS.
a. Normal Chukka. Except for the final chukka or extra time, each chukka shall be a maximum of 7 1/2 minutes in length. After 7 minutes, the first bell will be rung to indicate that up to 30 seconds remain. If the ball is out of play when the bell is rung, the umpire will blow his whistle to end the chukka. Otherwise, after the first bell is sounded, the chukka will end if the ball goes out of play a goal is scored, the umpire blows his whistle for a foul or on the second bell to signify that 30 seconds have elapsed. If a foul is awarded, the penalty shall be taken at the beginning of the next chukka.
b. Final Chukka. In the final chukka, the game will end on the first sound of the 7-minute bell unless the teams are tied. If tied, play will continue until either a goal is scored or awarded or until the first sound of the second bell. If a whistle is blown for a penalty during the last 5 seconds of the last chukka, 5 seconds shall be allowed for execution of any penalty. If ‘no foul’ is agreed then play shall continue only for the time remaining before the whistle was blown.
c. Extra Time. If a result is required and the score is still tied, the game will continue with an extra chukka. It will start where the previous chukka ended and shall be played until a goal is scored to determine the game (sudden death or golden goal) or the second bell is sounded as in b above. If no goal is scored, teams change ends for any subsequent chukka of extra time and the game shall be re-started at a position corresponding to where the previous chukka ended.
d. Stopping of the Clock. The clock shall be stopped only if the Umpire blows his whistle. If stopped, the clock shall be restarted when the ball is put back into play. Otherwise, play shall be continuous and the clock shall not be stopped.
8. WINNING, GOALS ON HANDICAP AND SCORING GOALS.
a. Winning. The team with the most goals on the score sheet, including those awarded on handicap and from a Penalty 1 wins the game.
b. Goals on Handicaps. In all matches played under handicap conditions the difference between the totals of the two team handicaps shall be multiplied by the number of chukkas to be played in the game and then divided by 6 (the number of chukkas upon which handicaps are based). This will give the number of goals to be given to the team with the lower handicap. Any fraction of a goal shall be counted as ‘half a goal’.
c. Scoring Goals. A goal is scored from play when the ball passes between the goal posts or the imaginary vertical lines produced by the inner surfaces of the goal posts and across and clear of the goal line. A ball hit through or directly over either goal post shall not count because it has not passed between the inner vertical lines of the goal posts. If the ball lodges in a goal post, the umpire will blow the whistle and the game shall continue as if the ball had been hit over the back line.
d. Redress on Score. Any change to the score as posted on the score board must be made before the final whistle.
e. Undecided Goal. If the two umpires are unable to decide as to whether a goal was scored or not, having consulted the goal judge, and if still in doubt the referee, they must give the benefit of the doubt to the defending team.
f. Whistle Blown as Goal Scored. When the whistle is blown for a foul at the same time that a goal is scored:
(i) No Foul. If it is confirmed that there is ‘No Foul’ then the umpires will instruct the goal judge to wave his flag to signify a goal and the clock will be restarted at this point.
(ii) Foul by Defending Team. If it is decided that the defending team have fouled, the goal will stand and the Umpires shall instruct the goal judge to wave his flag. The umpires then have the option of proceeding as normal or blowing the whistle again and restarting the game with an appropriate penalty.
(iii) Foul by Attacking Team. If it is decided that the attacking team have fouled, the goal will not be awarded and the umpires shall restart the game with an appropriate penalty.
9. START OF PLAY. The timekeeper will sound the bell five minutes before the advertised time for the start of the match to alert the teams and officials. A captain shall be appointed for each team. The umpires should identify the captain before the start of the game. The two teams shall line up for a throw in on the centre line. See Rule 5b.
Note: To preserve the good condition of the field, the Umpire may throw the ball in at any place on the centre line, but always more than 20 yards from the boards or side lines.
10. CHANGING ENDS. After a goal is scored ends shall be changed and play restarted with a throw in from on the centre line. After a Penalty 1 the restart shall be with a Penalty 5b. The players shall be allowed a reasonable time to take up their positions at the speed of a slow canter. If no goal has been scored by half time ends shall be changed and play re-started at a position corresponding to where the previous chukka ended. For Extra Time see Rule 7c and Wrong Line Up Rule 11.
11. WRONG LINE UP. If the umpires have inadvertently permitted the teams to line up the wrong way, play will continue but if no goal has been scored by the end of the chukka ends shall be changed and the game restarted as for Rule 10.
12. ATTACKER HITS BEHIND (HIT OR KNOCK IN). When the ball is hit over and clear of the back line by the attacking team it shall be a free hit in by the defending team from the spot where it
crossed the back line, but at least 4 yards from the goal posts or boards. The ball will be placed by a goal judge just over the back line within the field of play.
a. None of the team facing the free hit shall be within 30 yards of the ball or in front of the 30-yard line until the ball is hit or hit at. In the case of any infringement or delay by the team facing the hit, a Penalty 5b shall be awarded.
b. The team taking the hit in may place themselves where they choose. The hit in shall be taken when the umpire calls ‘Play’ and the player shall hit the ball, or hit at it, on the first approach. He may not go over the ball or circle during the run up. In case of delay the umpire shall throw in perpendicular to the back line from the spot where the hit in should have been taken, with the team due to take the hit in nearest to the goal.
13. DEFENDER HITS BEHIND (SAFETY 60). If the ball is hit over the back line by a defender directly or, having been hit by a defender, has then deflected either off his own pony, another defender’s stick, a goal post or the boards, the umpire shall blow the whistle and award a Penalty 6 (Safety 60). However, if the ball deflects off any other player or pony or the umpire before going behind it shall be a hit in. See Rule 12.
14. BALL HIT OUT OF PLAY OVER A SIDE LINE. When the ball is hit out of play over the boards or side line, it shall be thrown in towards the centre from a point just inside the boards or side lines where it went out, on a line parallel to the back line, unless a penalty has been awarded. See Rule 29g.
15. RESTART WHEN THE BALL HAS NOT LEFT THE FIELD OF PLAY. If for any reason other than for a foul the game has to be stopped without the ball going out of play, it shall be re-started with a throw in by the umpire from the spot where the ball was when the whistle was blown, facing the nearer side line, but at least 20 yards from the boards or side line and 10 yards from the back line.
16. RESTART AFTER AN INTERVAL BETWEEN CHUKKAS. On play being resumed after an interval, the ball shall be put into play in the same manner and position in which it would have been had there been no interval unless ends have been changed.
17. BURIED OR DAMAGED BALL. If the ball is buried or trodden in so that the players are unable to move the ball, the umpire shall blow the whistle and restart the game with a throw in. If the ball is damaged, the umpire shall stop the game when the play is neutral and replace the ball. A goal will be awarded if a player has managed to hit the larger part of the ball through the goal before the whistle was blown.
18. LOST HELMET AND BROKEN EQUIPMENT.
a. If a player loses his helmet, the umpire shall stop play when neutral to enable him to recover it.
b. If an umpire considers that damaged or broken tack might pose a risk to any player or pony, he shall stop the game when the play is neutral. However, the game shall be stopped immediately in the interest of safety for tack which presents an immediate danger to any player or pony such as:
• Broken bit.
• A broken rein if single or if both reins are broken.
• Broken girth.
• Trailing bandages.
The umpires may allow the player to rectify the fault immediately on the ground if it can be done quickly. Otherwise, the player must leave the field of play and play will be restarted as soon as the player has done so.
19. DISMOUNTED PLAYER. A dismounted player may not hit the ball or interfere in the game and a player may not dismount without good reason.
20. INJURED OR FALLEN PLAYER.
a. If a player is injured, the umpire shall stop the game immediately and the team shall be granted a period not exceeding 10 minutes for the player to receive any medical assistance and, if unfit to continue, to produce a substitute within the 10 minutes. In the case of a serious injury and upon medical advice the umpires may allow additional time. The umpire shall not wait for any other player who may not be present. If subsequently able to resume playing, the injured player may replace his substitute at the start of any chukka. If an umpire stops play on the request of a player claiming injury or sickness then the same conditions will apply as for ponies in Rule 21.
b. If a player falls off, the Umpire shall stop the game immediately if the player or pony is in danger or if not when the play is neutral. A player must make every effort to retain hold of his pony.
21. INJURED OR FALLEN PONY. The primary responsibility for the welfare of a pony lies with the player but the umpires also have a responsibility during play for the welfare of the ponies.
a. During a break in play, or exceptionally during play, a player may inform the umpires that his pony is injured or distressed or the umpires may make their own assessment to this effect in which case they should stop play immediately. In any event the umpires should examine the pony for injury. If in their opinion:
(i) The pony is visibly injured or distressed they should call “all may change”. The pony in question must be lead off the field or taken off by horse ambulance. Play will be restarted with a throw in when the player with the injured horse has returned on another pony.
(ii) The pony is not visibly injured or is fatigued then they should instruct the player to change by leading the pony off the field by the shortest route and then to a changing box or area. No other player on his team may change. Play should be restarted as soon as he has left the field of play. The pony may be tagged or marked under supervision of the Umpires so that it may not play again in the match.
b. If a pony falls, (i.e. its shoulder touches the ground) the umpires should stop play immediately and, if the player wishes to remount, ensure that it is trotted up and examined for soundness.
If sound or if there is no evidence of injury, the player may remount or change ponies in accordance with Rule 21a(i) above.
c. If a pony throws or skews a shoe the player may be allowed to change at the next break in play. Play will be restarted when the player returns.
22. CARRYING THE BALL. A player may not catch, kick, direct or hit the ball with anything but his stick. He may block with any part of his body but not with an open hand. He may not carry the ball intentionally. If the ball becomes lodged against a player, his pony or its equipment, in such a way that it cannot be dropped immediately, the umpire shall blow his whistle and restart the game with a throw in at the point where it was first carried.
23. CROSSING. No player shall cross another player who has precedence except at such a distance that not the slightest risk of collision or danger to any player is involved.
24. LINE OF THE BALL. The line of the ball (LOB) is the extended path along which the ball has travelled or is travelling. This includes when it has been kicked by a pony or has hit a players or umpires pony or any other impediment on the field of play. If a player has a free hit but misses the ball, the LOB is taken as that direction in which the player was riding. The LOB is the reference for deciding precedence as between players. See Annex C.
a. Two opposing players riding on the exact LOB and simultaneously making a play on each other, whether following or meeting, have precedence over all other players.
b. A player on the exact LOB with the ball on his off side, whether following or meeting, has precedence over any other players, except when meeting two players as above.
c. No player shall enter in front of the player on the LOB except at such a speed and distance that not the slightest risk of collision or danger to any player is involved. If a player enters safely and gains control of the ball, an opponent must not ride into him from behind.
d. When no player is on the exact LOB and two or more players ride in the same general direction, whether following or meeting, the player riding at the lesser angle to the LOB has precedence. If the players are at equal angles, the player that has the LOB on his off side has precedence.
e. Any player riding in the same direction as the ball is travelling or has travelled has precedence over any player or players riding from the opposite direction unless they are in accordance with 24a or b above.
f. No player will be considered to have precedence because he was the last to hit the ball if having hit the ball he has then deviated from the exact LOB.
g. During a throw-in, a precedence as between players will only be established when the ball leaves the line out, either direct from the throw by the umpire or if hit away by a player. Until such time, players may play the ball from any direction or angle providing they do so without creating danger or a risk of danger to themselves, other players or horses.
h. A player shall not be entitled to play the ball on his nearside if he endangers another player who would otherwise have been able to make or attempt to make a legitimate play.
25. POSSESSION OF THE BALL. A player with possession is entitled to continue down the LOB to hit the ball on his offside unless he is subjected to a legitimate play.
a. Ball Deflected. If one or more players are riding on the LOB with possession and for any reason the ball is unexpectedly deflected for a short distance, those players retain the right to play the ball if they are still able to do so without changing direction, and if not, then to continue on the original LOB for a short distance. They may not make a play on the ball if another player is established on the new LOB.
b. Changing the LOB.
(i) If a player suddenly changes the LOB towards, into or under an opposing player, that player must clear the new LOB and may not make a play; but the player in possession must allow the opposing player to do so. The player in possession will foul if he rides into him in order to claim a foul for himself.
(ii) A player in possession with the ball on his offside may move the ball at any angle to his left and a trailing opponent only has a nearside play.
c. Hitting Past a Player. If a player in possession hits the ball past an opposing player riding on the same line and at the same speed, that opposing player has the right to play the ball on his off side provided that he does not cross the player following. The player following must not ride into him from behind.
d. Moving the Ball – One Tap Rule. A player in possession of the ball when marked by an opposing player must keep moving the ball. Should he stop or reduce to a walk or walking he may tap the ball only once and thereafter he or any member of his team must within 5 seconds either hit the ball away or run with it. A player is considered to be marked when an opposing player is within two ponies’ lengths of his own and the player in possession is neither being blocked nor ridden off and therefore has the freedom to continue down the LOB.
e. Turning and Play on the Boards. The first player to the ball may not turn in front of a player on the LOB but if the player following checks or reduces speed the first player may then turn the ball in either direction providing that he maintains speed and continues the play. If the play is on the boards, the player, once he has turned must keep going in his chosen direction.
26. RIDING OFF. A player may ride off an opponent provided that the ponies are travelling at the same speed, are shoulder to shoulder and come together at a safe angle. When riding off, the elbow must be kept close to the side and a player may not push with the head, hand, arm, or elbow another player.
27. HOOKING. No player may hook an opponent’s stick unless on the same side of the opponent’s pony as the ball, or in a direct line behind, and the stick is neither over, nor under, nor across any part of the opponent’s pony, nor between a pony’s legs. All of the stick of the player being hooked must be below his shoulder and he must be in the act of hitting the ball and his stick must not be hooked or struck with excessive force. An offside backhand stroke can be hooked during the wind up of the swing when the stick is behind the player but only on that part of the stick which is below the shoulder. However, the nearside backhand may not be hooked behind the player.
28. DANGEROUS PLAY. No player may ride or use his stick in a manner which creates danger to another pony, player, official or any other person or which places the welfare of his own pony at undue risk. The following are examples of what may be considered to be dangerous play and may lead to the umpires awarding a red or yellow flag in addition to any penalty:
a. Riding off at such an angle as to endanger a player or a pony or unbalance the pony, or in front of or behind the saddle, or when the speed difference between both players could cause danger.
b. Continuing to ride off another player over the back line or through the goal thereby endangering a goal judge.
c. Riding his pony from behind into the forehand or backhand stroke of an opponent.
d. Zigzagging in front of another player in such a way as to cause the latter either to have to check his pace or risk a fall.
e. Pulling across another player, in front or behind, in such a manner as to risk danger to either pony.
f. Riding an opponent across another player on the line of the ball or in such a way as to endanger an umpire.
g. Riding off an opposing player at the same time as another member of his team (sandwiching).
h. Riding at an opponent in such a manner as to intimidate and cause the opponent to pull out or miss the stroke although no foul or cross actually occurs.
i. Use his stick improperly or dangerously, such as playing a full shot in a melee or ride off, especially under a pony’s neck when being ridden off or swinging the stick in a windmill or helicopter fashion or holding it in such a way as to interfere with another player or his pony.
29. UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT. No player, team or member of a team’s organization may behave in a way which is inappropriate or risks bringing the game into disrepute. The following are examples of what may be considered to be unsportsmanlike conduct and may lead to the umpires awarding a red or yellow flag in addition to any penalty:
a. Showing disrespect or using vulgar or abusive language or gestures to any official, player, coach, or spectator. This includes continuing to appeal or argue with the umpires or officials, verbally, by gesture or with a stick.
b. Seizing with the hand any part of another player or another players pony or their equipment.
c. Striking another player or another player’s pony with his stick, whip, hand or fist.
d. Causing unnecessary delay before or during a game whether or not the ball is out of play or dead. The degree of permissible delay is at the umpires’ discretion.
e. Refusing to continue to play or leaving the field of play during the course of a chukka without the permission of the umpires except to change a pony or a stick or for a legitimate run off.
f. Abuse of a pony such as using a whip when the ball is out of play, using a whip or spurs unnecessarily or in excess at any time, or hauling or jabbing a pony in the mouth.
g. Hitting the ball intentionally or recklessly beyond the safety zone or when it is out of play or dead, in such a way that it could cause injury to a spectator or official, or damage to property.
30. BLOWING A FOUL AND ADVANTAGE RULE. The umpires should stop play for a foul by blowing the whistle unless so doing results in a disadvantage to the team fouled. If subsequently the referee rules ‘No Foul’ or the umpires themselves agree after consultation that there was no foul, a throw-in towards the nearest boards or side line shall be taken from the spot where the ball was when the alleged foul took place.
31. TAKING OF PENALTY HITS. For a penalty hit, making a tee is not allowed. One player only may position the ball, and must take no longer than fifteen seconds after which time the umpire shall call ‘Play’. The striker or any member of his team may not reposition the ball after ‘Play’ has been called. Once the umpire has called ‘Play’, the striker must immediately start to take the hit. The player shall hit the ball, or hit at it, on the first approach. He may not go over the ball or circle during the run up. If considered necessary, one Umpire shall place himself about 60 yards behind the ball and the hitter must start his approach between the umpire and the ball.
32. PENALTY 1. If, in the opinion of the umpires, a player commits a dangerous or deliberate foul in the vicinity of goal in order to save a goal, the team fouled shall be awarded one goal. The game shall be resumed with a Penalty 5b in favour of the team fouled, ends having been changed.
33. PENALTY 2 – SPOT OR 30 YARD HIT. If the foul occurred within the 30 yard line the Captain of the team fouled shall be offered the choice of:
a. a free hit (defended) from the spot where the foul occurred:
• All of the team taking the hit to be positioned behind the ball. The player taking the hit has one free hit but thereafter may hit the ball more than once.
• The team facing the hit may defend the hit but may not be within 30 yards of the ball or in front of their back line, nor enter the field of play through the goal posts.
b. one free hit (undefended) 30 yards from the goal line of the team that has fouled opposite the centre of the goal:
• All of the team taking the hit to be behind the 30-yard line. The player taking the hit may hit or hit at the ball only once and may not make another play. Should the ball fail to cross the goal or back line or rebound into play off a goal post the team facing the hit will be awarded a free hit from where the ball came to rest, as for a Penalty 5a. The ball may be moved outwards towards the boards or side line should a goal post interfere with the player taking the hit.
• The team facing the hit has no play. They shall be positioned behind their back line and may not stand between the goal posts or behind the goal. They may not distract the player taking the penalty, including unintentionally, and must allow the ball to come to a rest.
34. PENALTY 3 – 40 YARD HIT. One free hit 40 yards from the goal line of the team that has fouled opposite the centre of the goal.
a. All of the team taking the hit to be behind the 40-yard line. The free hit shall be taken in one stroke with the intent to score. If the player taking the hit mishits, misdirects or misses the ball, he or any member of his team may only hit or hit at the ball with a half shot, that is with the head of the stick starting the downward swing below the shoulder of the hitter, until the ball has been hit or hit at by a player of the team facing the hit. However, the stick may be raised above the shoulder to stop or re-direct the ball
b. All of the team facing the hit to be positioned behind their back line, but outside of the goal, until the ball is hit, or hit at. Once the ball is put into play, no player of the team facing the hit may enter the field through the goal posts.
35. PENALTY 4 – 60 YARD HIT. One free hit by the team fouled from the centre of the 60-yard line nearest the goal of the team that has fouled.
a. The team taking the hit to be free to place themselves where they choose. The free hit shall be taken in one stroke with the intent to score as for a Penalty 3;
b. All of the team facing the hit to be behind the 30-yard line until the ball is hit or hit at.
36. PENALTY 5A (SPOT) AND 5B (CENTRE). A Penalty 5a shall be a free hit from the spot where the ball was when the foul occurred, but at least 4 yards from the boards or side lines and a Penalty 5b shall be a free hit from the centre of the field of play.
a. The team taking the hit to be free to position themselves where they choose.
b. The team facing the hit to be 30 yards from the ball and not behind the ball.
37. PENALTY 6 – SAFETY 60. One free hit from a spot on the 60-yard line opposite where the ball crossed the back line, but no more than 40 yards outwards from the centre of the goal.
a. The team taking the hit to be free to position themselves where they choose. The free hit shall be taken in one stroke with the intent to score as for a Penalty 3;
b. The team facing the hit to be behind the 30-yard line until the ball is hit or hit at.
38. PENALTY 7 – VIOLATION OF PROCEDURE.
a. Penalty 7A – Penalty Retaken: Violation by Team Facing the Hit. If the team facing the hit fails to carry out the correct procedure and no goal has been scored or awarded the penalty shall be re-taken at the same point under the same conditions. In the case of a Penalty 5, it should be moved up 30 yards. If the penalty hit would have resulted in a goal, but is stopped by a player of the team facing the hit and that team has failed to carry out the correct procedure a goal shall be awarded.
b. Penalty 7A – Penalty Retaken: Violation by Both Teams. If both teams fail to carry out the correct procedure the penalty shall be re-taken at the same point and under the same conditions.
c. Penalty 7b – Hit from the Spot: Violation by Team Taking the Hit. If the team taking the hit fails to carry out the correct procedure the team facing the hit shall be awarded a Penalty 5a from the spot where the penalty was due to be or was taken.
39. PENALTY 8 – THROW IN. A throw in towards the nearest boards from where the foul took place.
40. PENALTY 9 – SENT OFF FOR EQUIPMENT OR PONY DISQUALIFIED.
a. Penalty 9A – Pony Sent Off or Disqualified. The pony shall be sent off the field of play and shall not be allowed to play again until the cause of the violation has been rectified.
b. Penalty 9b – Player Sent Off. The player shall be sent off the field of play and shall not be allowed to play again until the cause of the violation has been rectified.
As soon as the pony or player has left the field the game shall resume immediately.
41. AWARDING OF FLAGS. In addition to any penalty awarded, a flag may be given to a player by the umpires. A flag may be given for the breach of any rule but will usually be awarded for dangerous play, unsportsmanlike conduct or persistent breach of the rules. The umpires must agree that a player should be awarded a flag and if not in agreement, consult with the referee. They must also obtain the acknowledgement of the player(s) awarded the flag and their team captain(s). A Tournament Committee may decide that a player who has been awarded 2 yellow flags in one tournament shall start the remainder of the games in that tournament on a yellow flag.
a. Two Minute Sin Bin. A player may be sent off for 2 minutes for a first offence but will be automatically be sent off for 2 minutes if awarded a second yellow flag in a match. The player shall return to the pony lines or a location as designated by the host club (the sin bin) where he will remain for two minutes of playing time; this includes the time when the ball is out of play but not when the ball is dead and the clock stopped. This may run across two chukkas. The referee or time keeper will fly a flag during this period and as soon as it is lowered the player may re-join the game in an on-side position.
b. Red Flag.
(i) A player may be given a red flag and sent off for the rest of the match for a first or second offence but a red flag will be automatic if he has already been sent off for 2 minutes. The sent off player may be substituted but only by a qualified player of the same handicap or less after 2 minutes of playing time as above.
(ii) A player will automatically be awarded a red flag if they have left the field or game without permission of the umpires.
(iii) Any player given a red flag will automatically be suspended for the next match of the tournament and the suspension may be increased by a disciplinary hearing. If it is the last match in the tournament, the suspension shall apply to another match or matches of equivalent standing as decided by the club or EPA as appropriate. A report form shall be completed by the umpires.
c. Flag after the Game. A player may be awarded a yellow or red flag after the final chukka has ended. A player awarded a yellow flag under these circumstances will start the next match on a yellow; if awarded a red flag, Rule 40b(iii) shall apply. A report form shall be completed by the umpires.
PLAYERS, SUBSTITUTION AND PLAYERS’ EQUIPMENT
a. Membership. **UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION** No person may play in matches, practice games or chukkas at or conducted by a club affiliated to the EPA in the United Arab Emirates unless they are a registered member of a club and have a current EPA handicap and membership card. Membership must be in accordance with Annex F and members are subject to the regulations set out in there in.
(i) Every associate playing member of the EPA shall have a handicap ranging from S to 10. S graded players may only play matches at clubs of which they are a member. To be upgraded to a – 2 handicap a player must take and pass the Rules Test and having done so his club must inform the EPA when they consider that he is sufficiently experienced as a player. The Rules Test will be conducted similarly to the Umpire Test.
(ii) Any person who requires a handicap above S and who does not hold a current EPA handicap is required to submit a CV form which must be forwarded to the EPA at least 3 days before any match. Until a handicap has been awarded by the EPA the player concerned may not play in any tournament.
See Annex G for Handicapping Rules and Regulations.
c. Insurance. **UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION** See Annex I. Note that anyone of over 2 goals or with 10 ponies or more is not covered by this insurance, unless agreed otherwise by the EPA.
d. Banned Substances and Dope Testing of Players. No player may play in any match, practice game or chukka under the influence of any illegal stimulant or drug, including any substance referred to in Annex H (Use of Banned Substances by Players). A player may not refuse to take a first or second drug or alcohol test if required to do so by any person duly authorised by the EPA or the Tournament Committee.
e. Appealing. A player may not appeal in any manner for a foul.
f. Dispute and Abuse. A player may not question, ask for clarification or dispute a decision by the umpires or referee at any time by word, action or gesture nor may he them except that the Captain may speak with the umpire.
2.2 Substitution. If a match is about to start or has started and a player is late or unable to play through, sickness or duty, he may be replaced by a substitute. The substitute must be qualified to play in the tournament and the team must remain qualified after the substitution has been made. If the game is on handicap and a higher handicap player is qualified to play the goals awarded on handicap will be recalculated as if he had started the game. It is the responsibility of the team to mount the substitute.
a. Captain’s Choice. The Tournament Committee, having been satisfied that there is a genuine need for a substitute, will ask the captain of the team requiring the substitute for his choice.
(i) Chosen Substitute Not Qualified. Should the chosen substitute not be qualified, the Tournament Committee must establish if there is another qualified substitute readily available. This is to include a player of the same handicap or one goal less than the player he will replace.
(ii) No Qualified Player Available. If no qualified player is readily available, the Tournament Committee may agree to a player being used who has played or be due to play in another team. A player who is no longer in the tournament should play in preference to one who is still in it. The Tournament Committee may authorise an OSP qualified to play at that level (medium or high goal) to substitute for an EU player if no qualified EU player is available.
(i) Same Handicap or Lower. If the substitute is of the same handicap as the player he has replaced or lower, then the score will not be altered. A team whose total handicap was below the upper limit of the tournament is not obliged to take a substitute of a higher handicap. However, if they choose to do so, up to the tournament limit, then the score will be altered immediately to reflect the increased total handicap of the team irrespective of when the substitution occurs.
(ii) Player Raised in Handicap. A player whose handicap has been raised mid-season may not play as a substitute if the team’s total handicap thereby exceeds the tournaments limits, or to that to which it was raised by a second member of the team whose handicap was also raised mid-season.
(iii) Team Raised in Handicap. If a team is playing above the handicap limit of a tournament by virtue of including a player or players raised in handicap during the season, and one or both of those players has to be substituted during a match, any substitution must be on the basis of the original handicap of those players before they were raised. However, if another player in that team is substituted, the original total handicap of the team may stand.
d. Double Substitution. If a player is injured so that he cannot continue to play and, even though a qualified substitute may be available, a team may choose to make a double substitution. The injured player may be replaced by a player of a lesser handicap and another player on the team may be replaced to bring the team back to its original level (but see Rule 2.2c (ii). Both substitutes must be qualified and therefore must not have played or be due to play in the tournament.
e. Substituted Player May Replace Substitute. A substituted player may replace his substitute at the start of but not during any chukka. Should the substitute have been of a higher handicap so that the score was altered it shall not be changed again. If the substitute was of lower handicap and had started the match so that his handicap was shown within the team total then the score will be altered if the substituted player joins the team.
f. Three Man Teams.
Late Player. If a player is late or unable to play as a match is about to start, then a team may play with three players but the team aggregate handicap must remain within the tournament limits. The team will start with the aggregate handicap of the three players. If the fourth player or his substitute subsequently joins in, which he may do only at the start of but not during a chukka in the match, the handicap of the team will be recalculated to include the handicap of the joining player if one goal or above and the score board altered accordingly in favor of the opposing team. If the joining player’s handicap is 0 goal or below then no alteration will be made to the score.
(i) Sent Off or Injured. A team may be reduced to three men (no qualified substitute or player sent off) in which case it may play with an aggregate handicap below or above the limits of the tournament. But, in the event of a subsequent substitution, the handicap of the injured or sent off player must continue to be included in the calculation when judging the eligibility of the substitute.
g. Effect on Substitute. A player who has substituted for another under 2.2b (ii) should not be disqualified from continuing with his original team, or from joining another team if he is not already in one. He may also continue to play in the team in which he has played as a substitute if the original player is still not available and his own team is no longer in the tournament.
h. Substitution in the High Goal (22). It is recognised that in high goal the substitution of a high goal player within the above rules may be difficult.
(i) League Phase. A team may nominate a qualified player of 8 goals or above who is playing in another team in the tournament to be a substitute.
(ii) Main Knockout Phase. A team shall nominate a qualified substitute for each of its players. Any player who has been knocked out in a previous round is eligible to substitute provided that he is qualified. He is not eligible if he has been knocked out in the same round; for example, another quarter finals played the day before.
(iii) List of Players. The list of substitutes shall be emailed to the Polo Manager by mid-day on the day before the match.
Otherwise a team may revert to the substitution rules as set out above.
2.3 Equipment for Player.
a. Turn Out. Players are expected to be well turned out so that the reputation of the sport is enhanced. This includes presentations and prize giving. Any equipment that has sharp projections which might cause injury to another player or pony is forbidden.
b. Protective Equipment.
(i) Everyone, including grooms and stick holders, must wear protective headgear with the chinstrap or harness correctly fastened when riding at a polo ground. It is the responsibility of any employer to ensure that an employee whether full or part time does so.
(ii) Polo helmets must always be worn during play and it is recommended that players take note that the British Horse Society recommends “that hats which comply with PAS015 with CE mark (type approval must be performed by a UK headquartered Notified Body for Personal Protective Equipment) with either the Kitemark or SEI offer the best protection. EN 1384 is no longer an approved standard.
From 01 January 2018, helmets must be type approved to the standard PAS015:2011 with CE mark (type approval must be performed by a UK headquartered Notified Body for Personal Protective Equipment), SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015.(i) Polo boots and protective knee Pads must always be worn during play.
(ii) Goggles, elbow pads and gum shields are recommended.
c. Team Shirts. Team shirts must not be of black and white vertical stripes and must be numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4. The numbers should be no less than 9 inches high in contrasting colour on the back. If, in the opinion of the umpires or Tournament Committee, the colours of two competing teams are so alike as to lead to confusion, by mutual consent one team to change or by toss of coin to decide. The numbers on the team shirts must be 1 to 4 and not be duplicated.
d. Spurs. Any spur likely to wound a horse is not allowed. Spurs, including any rowel, must be blunt with the shank of no more than 1.25 inches (3 cm) pointing downwards and to the rear.
e. Whips. Whips must not be more than 48 inches long including any tag. Broken whips are not allowed.
PONIES, TACK AND SHOES
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.2 Pony Welfare and Ownership. The ultimate responsibility for care and welfare of a pony rests at all times with the owner who must take all responsible steps to ensure the welfare of their ponies, including during the winter months. See also EPA booklet ‘Polo Pony Welfare Guidelines’. ‘Owner’ shall mean the individual or individuals whom the Disciplinary Committee is satisfied in fact enjoy the rights, privileges and powers incidental to ownership. This includes, without limitation, the power to make decisions concerning the care and welfare of the animal, whether such individual(s) had any legal status as owner or not. In the case of hirelings, a member of the EPA involved in the hiring of ponies has the responsibility of ‘owner’ until the pony or ponies concerned have been handed over officially to another member of the EPA or his agent.
2.3 Ponies. See Penalty 9a.
a. Ponies of any height may be played.
b. A pony may not play if:
- It has a contagious or infectious disease.
- It is blind in an eye.
- It is lame.
- It is not under proper control or showing a vice so that is a danger to other ponies or players.
- It is showing blood from any part unless it is superficial so that any bleeding can be stopped and a club official or the umpires are content.
- It is showing any signs of distress.
- It has any form of open tracheotomy (tubing).
- It has been de-nerved (chemically or surgically desensitized). If desensitized temporarily then it must not be played until full sensation has returned.
c. Ponies must be protected by bandages or boots on all four legs and must have their tails put up. Ponies are expected to be well turned out and the following is not allowed:
(i) Poor or badly fitted tack.
(ii) Blinkers or any form of noseband or other equipment which obstructs the vision of the pony.
(iii) A noseband, headpiece or head collar which incorporates wire or any sharp material.
(iv) Any equipment that has sharp projections which might cause injury to the pony or any other pony or player.
(v) A hackamore or bit less bridle (may be used in practice chukkas at the discretion of the club).
(vi) Any bit, whether single or double, with the mouthpiece of less than 0.25 inch (6.50 mm) in diameter at its narrowest point.
(vii) A curb bit with a cheek more than 6 inches (15.2cms).
(viii) A tongue tie unless inspected by a MRCVS immediately prior to the chukka. The tongue tie must be removed as soon as the pony leaves the field of play.
2.4 Inspection of Ponies. The Chairman of the Welfare Committee may ask a MRCVS, a member of the Polo Pony Welfare Committee or any other suitable person to inspect ponies belonging to an associate member or affiliated club, whether on a polo ground, in a yard or turned out. If the associate member or club refuse permission for the inspection, which may be carried out at short notice, they will be reported to the Stewards. The Chairman of the Welfare Committee may refer any club or associate member direct to the Stewards for a Disciplinary Hearing.
2.5 Complaints. If a complaint is received, whether from the general public, a veterinary surgeon, a club official, an officer of any other horse welfare body or from a member of the Welfare Committee, a report form should be completed and sent to the Chairman of the Committee and the club concerned. The Chairman will liaise with the club concerned as to the action to be taken; if it is necessary for an inspection to be made with a MRCVS his cost will be borne by the club concerned. A Club Disciplinary Committee is obliged to hold a Hearing (see Annex F) if they receive a report from a current MRCVS concerning abuse or cruelty to any pony. A report of that hearing must be sent to the Welfare Committee Chairman.
2.6 Old Ponies. Owners of old ponies aged 16 or over are advised to have a heart and eye test done by a MRCVS at the start of each season.
2.7 Veterinary Use. The 1966 Veterinary Surgeons Act lays down that within the UK any activity described as ‘veterinary surgery’ can only be carried out by veterinary surgeons who are current members of the RCVS or FRC except that a veterinary surgeon on occasion may delegate some veterinary tasks, such as minor surgery or medical procedures, in particular, to a registered veterinary nurse. Any member or club that allows an individual who is not an MRCVS to carry out any veterinary surgery, except as above, on a pony may be liable to a charge of misconduct.
a. Permitted Medication. The administration to a pony of any drug or substance that is not a normal constituent of horse feed is prohibited with the exception of those listed below as permitted medication subject to their always being prescribed and administered within the manufacturers’ recommendations and therapeutic guidelines and within EPA rules:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) (e.g. ‘bute’)
- Clenbuterol (e.g. Ventipulmin®)
- Dembrexine (e.g. Sputolosin®)
- Isoxsuprine (e.g Navilox®)
- Altrenogest (e.g. Regu-mate®)
- Cemetidine (e.g. Tagamet®)
- Ranitidine (e.g. Zantac®)
- Omeprazole (e.g. Gastrogard®)
- Antibiotics and anti-fungals (except procaine penicillin)
b. Medication at Polo. A pony which has been medicated by any route (by injection or ingestion) at polo may not play thereafter that same day. The only exception is if a minor and unobtrusive injury or wound is treated or repaired including using a local anaesthetic to a part of a pony that will not affect its performance and the pony is then passed fit to play by a MRCVS.
c. Testing. Both random and specific tests will be arranged by the EPA and the clubs as considered necessary. The services of the Horse Racing Forensic Laboratory (HFL) will be used. If the result of a test on a sample of a pony’s blood shows the presence of a substance above the permitted level, a report form must be completed and copies sent to the player, the owner of the pony, their club and to the Chairman of the Welfare Committee. The club may be directed by the EPA to hold a disciplinary hearing. In any case, members are required to cooperate with the EPA in producing any evidence relevant to any such enquiry by the club or the EPA when requested to do so.
a. Equine Passports. Equine Passports for foals and newly imported ponies may be obtained from the EPA. Passports must be registered in the name of the correct owner and must be re-registered accordingly when ponies change hands. By law:
(i) All ponies must have a valid Equine Passport which contains an ‘Administration of Medicinal Products’ section (formerly Section IX, now Section II) that has been issued by and is registered with an approved UAE Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO) such as the EPA.
(ii) All ponies issued with an Equine Passport after July 2009 are required to be microchipped.
(iii) All ponies taken to play at any club or in any tournament must be accompanied by a valid Equine Passport.
b. Vaccinations against Equine Influenza for 2017. All ponies must have been vaccinated against Equine Influenza:
- Either by a veterinary surgeon who is a member or fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS);
- Or, if vaccinated outside the UAE, by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the country in which the horse was vaccinated.
Vaccinations must be recorded in each pony’s passport, dated, signed and stamped by the administering veterinary surgeon. Equine Influenza vaccinations administered to ponies outside the UAE and recorded, dated, signed and stamped in an identity document that indisputably corresponds to the pony in question by an appropriately licensed veterinarian will be recognised by the EPA.
(I) Ponies first vaccinated prior to 1 Jan 2014. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza prior to 1st January 2014 must show that they have received booster vaccinations annually from the year they received their first vaccination.
(ii) Ponies first vaccinated between 1 Jan 2014 to 1 Jan 2017. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza between 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2017 must show that they have received two primary vaccinations against Equine Influenza given no less than 21 days and no more than 92 days apart. Thereafter, they must have been given booster injections annually.
(iii) Ponies first vaccinated after 1 Jan 2017. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza after 1 January 2017 must show that they have received two primary vaccinations against Equine Influenza given no less than 21 days and no more than 92 days apart, plus a third booster within 90 to 215 days after the second vaccination. Thereter, they must have been given booster injections annually.
(iv) Ponies without a valid vaccination record. Ponies with no recorded previous vaccination history and ponies whose vaccination record does not comply as per the above must re-start a primary vaccination course as per above, two primary vaccinations, a third booster and thereafter booster injections annually.
c. Vaccinations against Equine Influenza from 2018 onwards. From 1st January 2018 it will be mandatory for annual booster vaccinations to be given:
Either within 365 days of the previous vaccination;
Or in a calendar window of March and April but only for ponies with a current up-to-date vaccination record (as per above) on 1st March.
Playing Restrictions. No polo pony will be allowed to play at a club or in a tournament until at least 7 days after they have received their second primary vaccination or their annual booster.
Mixing of large numbers of ponies during the polo season increases the risk of exposure to the influenza virus and immunity has been demonstrated to be strongest during the first 6 months after a booster vaccination.
2.10 Contagious or Infectious Diseases. Any pony owner, stable manager or polo club that has a suspected case of a contagious disease such as ringworm or an infectious disease such as strangles or equine herpes must inform the EPA immediately with details of the action being taken. No infected pony or others in contact will be brought to a polo ground until clearance is given by a MRCVS.
2.11 Shoes and Shoeing. The Farriers’ Registration Act of 1975 states that any person who shoes a horse, including their own, must be a farrier registered with the Farriers Registration Council. Any member or club that allows an individual who is not registered with the Farriers Registration Council to shoe a pony may be liable to a charge of misconduct.
a. Rimmed shoes may be worn but the rim must be on the inside of the shoe only.
b. A calkin or stud must be of less than 0.5” (13 mm) cubed or hexagonal, and must be fitted on the last inch (25mm) of the outside heel of the hind shoe. If a shoe has a calkin or fixed stud it must be balanced by a raised and feathered inside heel tapered for a minimum of 1.5” (40 mm). A non-slip plug or road plug may be fitted. A plug is sunken into the shoe by a farrier and is not to be confused with any form of stud. A removable stud, which is the type strongly recommended, should be removed before the pony leaves the grounds.
c. Frost nails, road studs, screws and fancy spikes or any protruding nails or sharp edges on a shoe are not allowed. A pony may be shod with a maximum of two road nails or non-slip nails per shoe in order that it may be exercised safely on the roads. Such nails must not be on the widest part of the shoe.
d. A pony may be played without all four shoes or without hind shoes. Should this lead to the pony not being under proper control so as to be a danger to itself or others then it should be ordered off by the umpires.
2.12 Water at Polo. Water should not be withheld for an extended period and should be offered to ponies after they have played.
2.13 Muzzles. Muzzles should only be used for short periods to prevent a pony from feeding. They must not be adapted in any way to reduce the ability to breathe or drink.
2.14 Limit of Chukkas. Limit of Time Played and Chukkas. In the normal duration of a match, a pony must not play for more than 71/2 minutes without a 10 minute break and not more than two full non- consecutive chukkas, or 15 minutes in total. Should a match go to extra time then a pony that has played two chukkas may be played for as much time as the extra chukka lasts providing it has had a break of at least ten minutes. A pony must not play more than three full chukkas or the equivalent time in any one day or at more than two locations.
2.15 Umpire Ponies. A pony that has played in a match at 8 goal level or below may be used as an umpire pony if it has had a break of at least one chukka or vice versa. Above 8 goal, any pony that has played in a match should not subsequently be used as an umpire pony or vice versa.
TOURNAMENTS AND TOURNAMENT COMMITTEE
2.16 Conditions for Official Tournaments. All matches will be played under EPA rules. Certain limits are placed on the handicaps of teams and on the players in the teams. The specific conditions set out below shall apply for Official EPA tournaments. For Status of Players (OSP, HGP) see Annex J.
No player will be allowed to have a two-goal handicap difference between the EPA handicap and that one of any other country at the moment they enter the team for the high goal season (December 1st). If there is a two-goal difference before December 1st the EPA handicap committee will make a correction to have only one goal difference.
If the difference is one goal on December 1st and that difference goes to two goal difference after the end of the year handicap change in any country, he will be allowed to play with two goal difference.
In case the difference is lower in other countries he will play with the EPA handicap.
|EPA Hcp.||Other Country Hcp.||Will play with|
End of season hcp. change
|EPA Hcp.||December 1st .||End of season hcp change||Will play with|
High Goal (22) – 6 Chukkas.
- All players must hold an EPA handicap of 0 goals or above.
- Teams are restricted to not more than two Overseas Sponsored Players (OSP’s) and each must be 4 goals or above.
- Any player less than 6 goals:
– Must be a patron or Home Grown Player (HGP) or
– Must have been listed as a member of Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, Al
Habtoor Resort and Polo Club, Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club, Desert Palm Polo
A list of those players eligible to play the 22 is maintained on the EPA website
High Goal (18) – 5 Chukkas.
- All players must hold an EPA handicap of 0 goals or above.
- Teams are restricted to not more than two OSPs who must be 4 goals or above.
- Any player of 2 goals or below must be either a patron or a HGP.
Medium Goal (15) – 5 Chukkas.
- All players must hold an EPA handicap of 0 goals or above.
- Teams are restricted to not more than one OSP who must be 4 goals or above.
- Any player of 2 goals or below must be either a patron or a HGP.
Intermediate Goal (12) – 4 Chukkas.
All players must hold an EPA handicap of -1 goal or above but no higher than 7 goals.
- Teams are restricted to not more than one OSP who must be 3 goals or above
- Any player of 2 goals or below must be either a patron or a HGP.
- For entry purpose the -1goal player will count.
- Only one -1 goal player will be allowed in the team.
Low Goal (8) – 4 Chukkas.
All players must hold an EPA handicap of -1 goal or above but no higher than 6 goals and the limit of the two highest handicap players must not exceed 9.
- Teams are restricted to not more than one OSP who must be 2 goals or above.
- Any player 1 goal or below must be either a patron or a HGP.
- For entry purpose the -1goal player will count.
- Two -1 goal player will be allowed in the team.
Low Goal (6) – 4 Chukkas.
All players must hold an EPA handicap of -2 goals or above but no higher than 5 goals and the limit of the two highest handicap players must not exceed 7.
- Teams are restricted to not more than one OSP who must be 2 goals or above.
- Any player of 1 goal or below must be either a patron or a HGP.
- For entry purpose the -1 and -2 goal player will count.
- Teams will be allowed to add to 8 goals and use two minus one players or one minus two goal player to reach the maximum level of 6 goals.
- Ex. 4+4+0+-2 or 4+4+-1+-1 – (not allowed 4+5-2-1)
2.17 Victor Ludorum Tournaments. Victor Ludorum Tournaments are official tournaments and are shown in bold italics in the Blue Book. Apart from the official 22 goal tournaments, they take priority over all other tournaments with those of higher goal taking priority over lower. The results will count towards the points system for Victor Ludorum; see Annex E.
2.18 National Teams. The conditions governing OSPs may be lifted for a national team which has been invited and approved by the Stewards or for an established overseas patron who wishes to play with an immediate family member who is also from overseas. In the case of a substitution in such a family team, normal tournament conditions and rules will apply.
2.19 Other Club Tournaments The conditions for all other tournaments listed may be set by the host club but clubs are encouraged to follow the guidelines as set out below:
2.20 Tournament Committee.
a. Requirement. For any tournament, the host club will appoint a Tournament Committee of three or more individuals, who preferably should have no vested interest in the outcome of the event. In the absence of a Tournament Committee, the Polo Manager of the Club or his representative with the umpires and referee shall act as the Tournament Committee.
b. Authority and Duties. The Tournament Committee has authority over all matters pertaining to the Tournament. This will include jurisdiction over any offence committed within the Polo Grounds except that the authority of the referee and the umpires will be absolute immediately before, during and immediately after the game on matters regarding the conduct of play. The Tournament Committee will be charged with the overall responsibility for the running of the tournament which shall include:
- Checking the eligibility of each entry and any subsequent substitution.
- Informing a team of a change in the entry of an opposing team.
- Structure of the tournament and the draw. This should include how extra time will be played (see Rule 2.27 Widened Goals).
- Scheduling of matches.
- Appointment of officials. The team captain or the team manager may not appeal against the appointment of any particular umpire, referee or other official nor against the time or venue of a game
- Provision of the grounds and the necessary equipment.
- Overseeing, through the Club Welfare Officer, the welfare of ponies in particular their condition, shoeing and watering.
- Determining an order of merit. This should include whether a Penalty Shoot Out will be used to determine the order of merit (See Annex D Para 10).
Guidelines for the format of tournaments and the rules for calculating the order of merit within and across leagues and/or groups are at Annex D.
c. Entry Forms. A Club wishing to run a tournament must prepare an entry form which should include the following:
- Name of tournament.
- Handicap level.
- Inclusive dates.
- No Play Dates.
- Status (eg, official or if not, any special conditions that apply).
- Entry fee and note of any additional cost of officials, medical cover etc.
- Closing date of entry.
- Blank line so teams can enter dates on which they would prefer not to play.
- For leagues or groups whether matches are to be played to a result or may finish in a draw.
- Any disclaimer and additional information.
- Declaration as to eligibility of those entered.
- Signature Block.
2.21 Team Entries.
Entry Form. To enter, the team captain/manager must submit a completed entry form and send it to the Tournament Committee with the entry fee before the closing date. The team must be qualified to play in the tournament and the entry form must contain the names of at least three players whose total handicap adds up at least to
the minimum handicap of the tournament and nominate the team captain. The entry form will contain a declaration which the team captain or manager must sign to the effect that the players nominated on the form or subsequently to be added or changed are qualified to play in the tournament or match and that the handicap and status of the players are correctly recorded.
a. No Play Dates. No Play Dates shall be at the discretion of the Tournament Committee and cannot be guaranteed.
b. Pairing of Players. A team may have no more than 4 players but two players may be paired so that each plays a designated number of chukkas within one team.
c. One Team. No player may play for more than one team in the tournament except if authorised as a substitute.
d. Restrictions on Ponies. In high and medium goal tournaments, a pony played by one team cannot be played by any other team in the same tournament. This rule also applies to intermediate tournaments except that dispensation may be granted by the Tournament Committee.
e. Coaching. Coaching during play is forbidden from anywhere and by any form of communication.
f. Umpire Ponies. Teams are required to provide two ponies for umpiring for all 15 goal matches and above. Below this level only one need be provided. Ponies must be suitable to umpire the level being played. A pony to be ridden by an umpire must be equipped as for playing except that the tail need not be put up. Should an umpire deem that the pony offered is unsuitable for umpiring then the team must provide a replacement. See also Rule 2.17.
g. Players Raised in Handicap during the Season. If the handicap of a player or players in a team has been raised during the season then:
(i) A high goal (22) team will be allowed to play above the tournament limit by that number of goals but any other team will only be allowed to play one goal over the limit.
(ii) A team will not be allowed to play over the handicap limit with a player raised mid-season unless that player has either already played with that team or been listed as a member of a team on the entry form for a tournament within seven days of the date when his new handicap became effective.
(iii) The same rules as the above shall apply as to the handicap limits for individual players.
(iv) Any substitution of the player, or players raised must bring the team handicap back to within the limits of the tournament.
2.22 Team Change.
a. Should a team captain or manager wish to change or add a player at any time before a match is about to start, he must submit an application to the Tournament Committee. Should the club official responsible be unable to check the eligibility of that player for whatever reason, then that player shall not play. The club official should inform the opposing team of any changes or addition as soon as possible. If
b. the match is about to start or has started, then that player is a substitute.
c. Team Change in the High Goal (22). It is recognised that in high goal the replacement of a high goal player within the rules may be more difficult.
(i) League Phase. If a player is unable to play in the next match of the league phase, then his replacement in the team must be qualified. If no qualified player of the same handicap is available then a double substitution may be made.
(ii) Main Knockout Phase. If a player of 2 goals and above cannot play due to an injury certified by a doctor, that player may be replaced by a player who is no longer part of the main tournament but is qualified in all other respects. Special rules, which should be detailed in the tournament conditions, may apply to any subsidiary knockout phase.
WITHDRAWAL AND DISQUALIFICATION
2.23 Withdrawal and Disqualification.
a. A team that has entered a tournament may not withdraw once the schedule has been published without the permission of the Tournament Committee which should only be given in exceptional circumstances. A team that pulls out immediately before or during a match without such consent will invoke a charge of misconduct. A Tournament Committee has the right to disqualify a team at any time.
b. If in the opinion of the umpires or the referee or the Tournament Committee, a team is believed to be not trying, the team should be warned by the umpires. If the team fails to comply with this instruction, the umpires shall submit a report form. The team or individual players may be subject to a Disciplinary Enquiry by the Tournament Committee who may take any action considered appropriate, including the suspension of the team and its members from playing in the rest of the tournament. If it is considered appropriate by the Tournament Committee to refer the matter to the EPA, the team will be suspended pending adjudication by the EPA.
c. If a team is disqualified or it is accepted by the Tournament Committee and the team has already played in the tournament then, in a knockout, the team which they have played and beaten in the previous round may go through to the next round. In a league or group all the matches which the team has played will be declared null and void with points and goals gained by their opponents subtracted from their total.
2.24 Widened Goals. Sockets are required 4 yards out from each goal post for widened goals.
2.25 Extra Time with Widened Goals. Goals will normally be widened for the second chukka of extra time but if the Tournament Conditions so state or Team Captains agree in order to save ponies and time, the first chukka of extra time may start with widened goals. If goals are widened the chukka will be started with a throw in from the centre, ends having been changed.
MATCH NOT COMPLETED
2.26 Match Not Completed. **UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION** On occasion, normally as a result of inclement weather, a match may have to be cancelled or postponed.
a. If possible, the decision should be made by the Tournament Committee in time so that teams do not travel but if they have arrived at the ground then the Tournament Committee, having consulted the team captains, shall make the decision as to whether to start the match or postpone to a later time or date. In the latter case a decision should be made at the time as to when and where the match may be played.
b. If started, the responsibility rests with the umpires as to whether to stop the match or not, having consulted the team captains. If possible a decision should be made to restart the match as soon as conditions improve at the point at which it had stopped. If this is not possible then the Tournament Committee should postpone completion to a later time or date. If started, consideration may also be given to a recalculation of the score as if the match had been played to a finish (see Annex D para 15).
c. Whether or not the game has started, a penalty shoot-out is also an option. This will produce a result and give some enjoyment to players and spectators particularly if teams have arrived to play when the field is considered unsafe. The time available and weather might influence how the shootout is conducted but the following is recommended:
(i) The team handicaps are calculated and posted as normal with the score at the point of abandonment if the match has started.
(ii) A coin will be tossed with the winner electing whether to go first or second. Teams and players then alternate.
(iii) Each player has one free hit from each spot at goal or two hits if the tournament committee so decides as follows:
- from the 30 yard spot undefended
- from the 40 yard spot defended by one player
- from the 60 yard spot defended by one player
If this results in a tie and a result is required the process will be restarted until a winner can be declared by sudden death.
2.27 Report Forms. Report forms will be distributed by the EPA to every club and should be held by the Polo Managers at the ground where the polo is being played.
a. A Report Form shall be completed and signed by the umpires and referee for the following:
(i) If a team is judged not to be trying.
(ii) If a player is sent off for the rest of a game.
(iii) If a player’s spurs or whip are not in accordance with the rules.
(iv) For excessive misuse of the whip or stick or dangerous riding.
(v) If a pony is seen to be either showing vice or not under proper control
(vi) If a pony is seen to be blind in one eye or to have had any form of tracheotomy or to have been de-nerved.
(vii) If a player has been awarded a red flag during a game.
(viii) If a player has been awarded a yellow or red flag after the final chukka has ended.
(ix) Any action which is considered to have brought the game into disrepute.
b. A report Form may be completed by the Team Captain if he considers that the Tournament Committee has acted improperly or that the umpires have failed in their duties. Should the report contain defamatory content, such as an accusation that an umpire favoured one team against the other, then the Report Form must be accompanied by a cheque for AED …….. as surety and this sum will be forfeited if the defamatory comment is not proven. The form must be signed by the Team Captain and at least one other member of the team and be lodged with an EPA official within 24 hours of the match. In addition, one of the signatories must be available within the following 48 hours to review the match with an assessor or a panel designated by the host club. If a DVD of the match is available then this should be provided by the complainant. It should be noted that the burden of proof lies with the complainant and that it is extremely difficult to consider such accusations without a visual record of the match.
c. The top copy will be sent to the EPA Disciplinary or Welfare Officer as appropriate and the second given by an EPA or Club Official to the person to whom the report refers. The third copy should be retained by the club. An official of the EPA may instruct a Club to hold an enquiry or a Club may act on its own initiative. If the Club considers that the evidence points to a serious breach they should report the incident to the EPA. In any event, it is of paramount importance that any incident leading to a report is dealt with immediately.
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.28 General. However affiliated clubs and associations constitute themselves, they are obliged to:
a. Abide by the Rules, Regulations and Directives of the EPA.
b. Subscribe to the objects of the HPA as set out in the Memorandum of Association
c. Acknowledge and take account of the interests of other affiliated clubs and associations.
2.29 Returns. Clubs must submit returns to the EPA as follows (failure to do so will result in a fine of AED ………):
a. Self-certification proforma.
b. Membership of Club Handicap Committee
c. List of members for coming season
d. Mid-season handicap recommendations
e. End of season handicap recommendations
f. List of Player injuries during season
g. List of Pony Injuries during season
h.Club Entry for the next seasons Blue Book
i. Fixture List for the next season
2.30 Fixture Lists. A fixture list of all tournaments open to members of other Affiliated Clubs shall be published prior to the Autumn Council Meeting. The list shall indicate by way of asterisk or similar those tournaments that do not comply with ‘Conditions for Official Tournaments’. Any Affiliated Club which feels that its existing fixtures are likely to be prejudiced by competing fixtures proposed by another Affiliated Club may to the Stewards who act as the final authority over the nature and schedules of all tournaments with external entries.
2.31 Affiliation Fees. Affiliation fees shall be paid to the EPA before the beginning of the season as follows:
RESIDENT (AED ……..)
NON RESIDENT (AED ……..)
JUNIOR – under 18 years (AED ……..)
NON PLAYING (AED …….)
CLUB AFFILIATION FEE (AED …….)
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.32 Clubs are responsible for ensuring that membership formalities are completed correctly in accordance with Annex F before any player takes part in a match, game or chukka. For players coming from overseas this includes completion of a CV form if they have no EPA handicap. The form must be signed by the player or his patron and a club official. The club handicap committee may include a recommendation on the form but until a handicap has been awarded by the EPA and a membership card received by the player, the player concerned may not play in any tournament. The CV form must be received by the EPA at least 3 working days before the player concerned is due to play in any match. Any CV form that is found to be incorrect may result in disciplinary action being taken against the individual and/or club concerned and the team concerned being banned or disqualified from the tournament.
2.33 Club Handicap Committees. Each affiliated club must have a Handicap Committee which shall consist of not less than three members. The EPA must be informed at the beginning of each season of the names and of any subsequent changes.
2.34 Recommendations. It shall forward its recommendations for the alteration of handicaps and the allotment of new handicaps to the EPA for approval at such times as it thinks fit or is required to do so by the EPA. There will normally be a mid-season meeting in early June and end of season meetings. If there is any doubt as to a player’s handicap and it is apparent that he has not played enough polo for a fair judgement to be made, then a player should be Not Rated (NR). Such recommendations will be signed by at least three members of the Club Handicap Committee. The main Committee is not bound by these recommendations. Guidelines for the handicapping of players is at Appendix 1 to Annex G.
2.35 Each club shall appoint a Club Chief Umpire who should:
a. Have a thorough knowledge of the Rules of Polo.
b. Attend Umpire Meetings and pass on the conclusions to their Club members.
c. Ensure that any directives are passed on to all playing members.
d. Assist the Polo Manager in the appointment of umpires.
e. Arrange and invigilate Rules and Umpires Tests. The Tests are set by the EPA and should be invigilated by the Club with the completed papers being sent to the EPA or the Regional Chief Umpire for marking. Only those of -1 and above should normally take the Umpire test. Candidates who have passed the Umpire’s Test will be graded CP until the Club inform the EPA that they consider them to be of sufficient experience and competence to hold a C Grade.
f. Convene a Club Umpire Grading Committee which will assess the performance of Club umpires and grade their ability as ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’. The Umpire Grading Committee will convene once a year in March to assess and confirm the grading of all B grade umpires and above. The Club will submit to the EPA the names of those who they assess as worthy of ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade for consideration by the EPA Umpire Grading Committee.
g. Be part of the Club Disciplinary Committee.
h. Assist the Polo Manager in acting on complaints received in relation to umpiring.
i. Liaise with the Regional Chief Umpire to conduct umpiring seminars with a view to improving the standard of umpiring throughout the Club.
PONY WELFARE AND VETERINARY RESPONSIBILITIES
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.36 Each club shall appoint a Welfare Officer who has a responsibility for pony welfare. The Welfare Officer or his representative should be conversant with the Rules of Polo in particular those concerning player’s equipment, ponies and tack and when play is stopped for injury to a pony or tack and distribute the EPA booklet ‘Polo Pony Welfare Guidelines’ to owners and grooms. He should also:
a. Ensure that his club members understand that they are responsible for the welfare of their ponies throughout the year.
b. Attend the EPA Welfare AGM in early April and pass on the information to his club members.
c. Complete returns as required by the EPA on injuries or fatalities that may have occurred during the season
d. Maintain close contact with the local Veterinary Practice to ensure that the Club’s responsibilities are met.
e. Check that ponies have passports and that vaccinations are up to date.
f. Check that for the players’ safety ponies aged 16 or over have had a heart and eye test done by an MRCVS at the start of each season.
g. Oversee the maintenance and equipment of the horse ambulance and periodic practices of the procedure for taking an injured horse from the field of play.
h. Monitor the use of muzzles in the stables, especially those on site and the wintering of ponies within the area of responsibility of the club.
i. Be present at all matches so that he can:
(i) Monitor the pony lines throughout the season, but particularly at the beginning of the season, to check for skin disease, malnutrition, abuse and incorrectly fitted or illegal equipment. Any ponies in a poor condition should be referred to a MRCVS and if a pony has to be stopped from playing because of its poor condition, a report form must be sent to the Chairman of the Welfare Committee.
(ii) Check on horse transport in particular adequate ventilation and safe flooring, partitions and ramps.
(iii) Ensure that clean fresh water is available in the pony lines and that ponies are not watered direct from a trough but that a clean bucket is used to fill others
(iv) Check that there is no abuse of ponies by players within the grounds of the club or on the field of play and, if appropriate, submit a Report Form to the Tournament Committee. Report forms may be submitted for any welfare incident but should be for:
- Excessive use of the whip or spurs.
- Dangerous riding.
- Any abuse of ponies on or off the ground.
- Any use of non-registered vets or farriers.
(v) Check that:
- Ponies are tied up sensibly and head collars are not left hanging.
- Umpire ponies are well turned out and healthy.
- Ponies are not allowed to continue to play if lame or showing blood (see Rule 2.5b).
- Ponies do not travel in studs.
- Tongue ties if used are only fitted by a MRCVS and removed as soon as possible.
- Bandages are put on last and not left on after the game.
2.37 Veterinary Cover. A veterinary surgeon who is a practicing Member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (MRCVS) must either be present or on immediate call at all matches. In addition a nominated club official should be in attendance at all matches and practice chukkas arranged by the club to deal with welfare issues. In the absence of a MRCVS (Vet), the Host Club Tournament Committee has the authority to stop the pony from playing.
2.38 Best Playing or Turned Out Pony. Clubs are encouraged to award a prize for the best playing or best turned out pony. They must however ensure that the pony is in a fit state to collect its prize – i.e. that it is not distressed, looks well and does not have spur or whip marks, a cut mouth, sore back or any other signs of injury. If a pony has received an accidental injury, such as a tread, then it should not be excluded from collecting its prize, provided that the injury has been properly treated. If a veterinary surgeon is present he should be asked to inspect the pony prior to the presentation.
2.39 Horse Ambulance Cover. Either a trailer with motor vehicle attached or a low loading lorry each with ramp equipped with a winch and screens must be available near to the ground at all times during play. Clubs should practice the procedure from time to time. As well as a winch and screens the horse ambulance should carry ropes, a drag mat, a spare head-collar, a tarpaulin, a bucket of sand, a knife for slitting saddlery and two lead ropes to cross tie a horse if necessary. If a trailer, the horse ambulance should and be hooked up prior to the start of a match with an earmarked readily available driver. There should also be earmarked a team of knowledgeable helpers on hand to help with an injured horse.
2.40 Pony Euthanasia. In the event that it is considered essential on humane grounds to put a pony down every reasonable effort should be made to contact the owner or his representative to obtain consent. In the absence of a legitimate representative refer to “owner” as defined in Rule 2.4. Immediate euthanasia should be reserved for a pony that is ‘in extremis’ ie there is confidence that movement is inhumane and there is no foreseeable prospect of the pony recovering from its injuries. Chemical euthanasia is the method of choice in areas of public view. This will require carcass removal and incineration.
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.41 Medical Cover.
a. Clubs must ensure that there will be present for matches as a minimum 2 qualified persons and for all other polo at least one such person. The presence of a paramedic is recommended. A Qualified Person means one of the following:
(i) A person having attended and completed a British Red Cross “Basic First Aid Course (module 7)” or a St John Ambulance “Emergency Aid for Appointed Persons Course” or an equivalent qualification, and completed such post- training refresher courses as are required to maintain a current attendance certificate.
(ii) A qualified Medical Practitioner registered with the General Medical Council in the UAE, or equivalent bodies abroad.
b. Clubs should inform their local service in advance that the match is taking place and ensure that the correct telephone number is readily available.
c. Should the umpire require medical assistance for an injured player, he should signal by waving his stick above his head.
d. Clubs should appoint a designated person as Safety Officer who shall complete returns on player injuries or fatalities as required by the EPA.
2.44 Concussion. Every member, professional umpire and club will receive a ‘HITS’ flyer which sets out clearly the signs and symptoms for concussion.
a. In the event of a player being concussed, the umpires, or if no umpires are present the senior player on the ground, will stop the game and arrange for the player to receive medical attention as soon as possible. If no doctor or paramedic is present when the accident occurs, it will be the responsibility of the umpires or the senior player present to decide if the player is concussed, and if so, the player cannot continue.
b. The symptoms of concussion include loss of consciousness, memory loss, confusion or disorientation, headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, neck pain, sensitivity to noise or light, blurred vision or poor balance.
c. If unable to answer accurately any of the following questions the player should be deemed concussed.
- What venue are we at today?
- What day of the week is it?
- Which chukka is it now?
- What is the name of your team?
- What team position are you playing in the team?
d. If a player is concussed, the EPA must be notified by the club within 24 hours by fax or email and the EPA will notify all clubs that that player is suspended for a minimum of 7 days from the date of the concussion.
e. The player will not be ted to play again for a minimum of one week from the date of the concussion and then only with a certificate of fitness from a doctor who has seen the report from the Safety Officer.
2.45 Doctor’s Certificate. A club may require, for whatever reason, a player to produce a signed doctor’s certificate proving his fitness to play prior to him taking part in any match or chukka.
**UNDER REVIEW BY EMIRATES POLO ASSOCIATION**
2.46 Each Club shall appoint a Club Disciplinary Officer who should, in conjunction with the Polo Manager:
a. Maintain good discipline amongst the players and members of the Club.
b. Keep a record of all report forms issued by the Club including those issued by other clubs to the members.
c. Advise the Club Committee in good time of any incident which may need further investigation or lead to the need for a Club Disciplinary Board.
d. Be fully conversant with the Procedure for setting up a Club Disciplinary Board as laid down in Annex K.
e. Inform the EPA Chief Executive or Discipline Officer of the proceedings and on their advice hold a Club Disciplinary Board or refer the case, if of a serious nature, to the EPA.
f. Take follow up action as laid down.
In smaller clubs this duty may be carried out by the Polo Manager