Article 5 - Area of play and terrain rules
Petanque is played on any terrain. A playing area contains an indeterminate number of terrains
defined by strings, the size of which must not interfere with the course of play. These strings
marking separate terrains are not dead boule lines except for those at the end and around the
By decision of the Organising Committee or the Umpire, the teams may be asked to play on a
marked terrain. In this case, the latter must, for National Championships and International
Competitions, have the following minimum dimensions: 15m long x 4m wide.
For other competitions the Federations may permit variations relative to these minimum
dimensions, subject to them not being below 12m x 3m.
When the terrains of play are enclosed by barriers, these must be a minimum distance of 1 metre
from the exterior line of the playing area.
Games are played to 13 points, with the possibility of leagues and qualifying heats being played
to 11 points.
Some competitions can be organised within time limits. These must always be played within a
marked terrain. In this case, all lines marking that terrain are dead boule lines.
Article 6 - Start of play - Rules regarding the circle
The players must toss up to decide which team will choose the terrain and be the first to throw the
If the terrain has been designated by the organisers, the jack must be thrown on that terrain. The
teams concerned must not go to a different terrain without the Umpire's permission.
Any member of the team winning the toss chooses the starting point and draws or places a circle
on the ground such that the feet of each player can fit entirely inside it. However, a drawn circle
may not measure less than 35cm or more than 50cm in diameter. Where a prefabricated circle is
used, it must be rigid and have an internal diameter of 50cms (tolerance: + or - 2mm).
Use of the prefabricated circles is by the decision of the organiser who must supply them.
This circle, valid for the three consecutive throws allowed to a team, must be drawn (or placed)
more than a metre from any obstacle and, for competitions on open terrains, at least 2 metres
from another throwing circle in use.
The team that is going to throw the jack must erase all throwing circles near the one it is going to
The interior of the circle can be completely cleared of grit/pebbles etc. during the end but must be
put back in good order when the end is over.
The circle is not considered to be an out of bounds area.
The players feet must be entirely on the inside of the circle, not encroach on its perimeter and
they must not leave it or be lifted completely off the ground until the thrown boule has touched
the ground. No part of the body may touch the ground outside the circle.
As an exception, those disabled in the lower-limbs are permitted to place only one foot inside the
circle. For players throwing from a wheelchair, at least one wheel (that on the side of the
throwing arm) must rest inside the circle.
The throwing of the jack by one member of the team does not imply that he or she is obliged to
be the first to play.
Article 7 - Valid distances for the thrown jack
For the thrown jack to be valid, the following conditions apply:
1) That the distance separating it from the internal edge of the circle must be between:
- 6 metres minimum and 10 metres maximum for Juniors and Seniors.
- For competitions intendedfor younger players shorter distances may be applied
2) That the throwing circle must be a minimum of 1 metre from any obstacle.
3) That the jack must be a minimum of 1 metre from any obstacle and from the nearest
boundary of an out-of-bounds area
4) That the jack must be visible to the player whose feet are placed astride the extreme
limits of the interior of the circle and whose body is absolutely upright. In case of
dispute on this point, the Umpire decides, without appeal, if the jack is visible.
At the following end the jack is thrown from a circle drawn or placed around the point where it
fmished at the previous end, except in the following cases:
- The circle would be less than 1 metre from an obstacle.
- The throwing of the jack could not be made to all regulation distances.
In the first case the player draws or places the circle at the regulation distance from the obstacle.
In the second case, the player may step back, in line with the previous end's play, without
exceeding the maximum distance authorised for the throwing of the jack. This opportunity is
offered only if the jack cannot be thrown to the maximum distance in any other direction.
If after three consecutive throws by the same team, the jack has not been thrown in accordance
with the rules defined above, it is passed to the opposing team who also has the right to three tries
and who may move the circle back as described in the preceding paragraph. In this case, the
circle may not be changed if this team does not succeed in its three throws.
The maximum amount of time to accomplish these 3 tries is one minute. In any case, the team
which lost the jack after the first three tries maintains the right to play the first boule.
Article 8 - For the thrown jack to be valid
If the thrown jack is stopped by the Umpire, a player, a spectator, an animal or any moving
object, it is not valid and must be thrown again without being included in the three throws to
which the team or the player is entitled.
If after the throwing of the jack, a first boule is played, the opponent still has the right to contest
the validity of its position. If the objection is recognised as valid, the jack is thrown again and the
For the jack to be thrown again both teams must have recognised that the throw was not valid or
the Umpire must have decided it to be so. If any team proceeds differently, it loses the benefit of
the throwing of the jack.
If the opponent has also played a boule, the jack is defmitely deemed valid and no objection is
Article 9 - Dead Jack during an end
The jack is dead in the following 7 cases:
1) When the jack is displaced into an out-of-bounds area, even if it comes back on to the
authorised playing area A jack straddling the boundary of an authorised terrain is
valid. It becomes dead only after having completely crossed the boundary of the
authorised terrain or the dead ball line, that is to say, when it lies entirely beyond the
boundary when viewed from directly above. A puddle on which a jack floats freely is
considered to be an out of bounds area.
2) When, still on the authorised terrain, the moved jack is not visible from the circle, as
defined in Article 7. However, a jack masked by a boule is not dead. The Umpire is
authorised to temporarily remove a boule to declare whether the jack is visible.
3) When the jack is displaced to more than 20 metres (for Juniors and Seniors) or 15
metres (for the younger players) or less than 3 metres from the throwing circle
4) When on marked out playing areas, the jack crosses more than one lane immediately to
the side of the lane in use and when it crosses the end line of the lane.
5) When the displaced jack cannot be found, the search time being limited to 5 minutes.
6) When an out-of-bounds area is situated between the jack and the throwing circle.
7) When, in time limited games, the jack leaves the designated playing area
Article 10 - Displacement of obstacles
It is strictly forbidden for players to press down, displace or crush any obstacle whatever on the
playing area. However, the player about to throw the jack is authorised to test the landing point
with one of his or her boules by tapping the ground no more than three times. Furthermore, the
player who is about to play, or one of his partners, may fill in a hole which would have been
made by one boule played previously.
For non-observation of the rules above, the players incur the penalties outlined in Article 34
Article lOa - Changing of jack or boule
Players are forbidden to change the jack or a boule during a game except in the following cases:
I) The one or the other cannot be found, the search time being limited to 5 minutes.
2) The one or the other is broken: in this case the largest part is taken into consideration.
If boules remain to be played, the aforementioned is immediately replaced, after
measuring, if necessary, by a boule or a jack of identical or similar diameter. At the next
end the player concerned can take a new complete set.