WFTDA Releases New Rule Set, Feb. 15, 2017

The WFTDA Rules Committee, comprised of WFTDA and MRDA members, and with guidance from WFTDA and MRDA member leagues, released a new Rule Set, with updates to be confirmed by Feb. 2017. The release, on a new “microsite” (https://rules.wftda.com/) is designed to accommodate faster updates, to be mobile-friendly, to enable simple navigation, and eventually support multiple languages. The new microsite has already been updated, and feedback on the site, errors in the rules, and the related documents is welcome at http://timeout.wftda.com/


New design
There is a significant change in layout of the new Rule Set, and notable changes in gameplay. Many items are moved out of the rules and into applicable officiating standards and policy documents. The new format is presented in two separate documents: the Rule Set and the Casebook. The Rule Set is broken up by principle (what makes something illegal) and impact, rather than action. Penalties are based on principle and impact-based distinction.


Changes to Gameplay and Game Structure
There are several changes to gameplay and game structure, including:
  • Modifying the threshold for a Cutting the Track penalty to allow a skater to immediately yield position in order to avoid a penalty
  • Updating the metric for penalty assessment for low blocks/tripping and use of illegal blocking zones to be consistent with other metrics for impact
  • Updated rules related to helmet covers to clarify that covers cannot be hidden and that a helmet cover removed due to game play is not a loss of Lead Jammer status
  • Modifying Penalty Box rules as follows:
    • Allow for entry to the box in any direction
    • Removal of a penalty for leaving the box after completion of penalty time without instruction to do so
    • Allow for teammates and support staff to enter the box so long as they do not fully enter
Detailed lists of the changes are available at wftda.com:
“Changes to Gameplay” http://wftda.com/2017-rules-changes-to-gameplay/  
“Changes to Game  Structure” http://wftda.com/2017-rules-changes-to-game-structure/


Changes to Policy and Standards
Many procedures and policy items have been moved out of the rules. They will be on the original WFTDA website, at wftda.org, and include:
    • Officiating documents (Standard Practices, Official Hand Signals, Officiating Verbal Cues) all in a new, comprehensive WFTDA Officiating guide
    • Track Layout Guide and WFTDA Tournament Track Setup Requirements
    • Statsbook and Manual
    • Skater Rules Test
    • Sanctioning Policy
    • Risk Management Guidelines (formerly Safety Protocol)
    • Forfeit Policy and Expulsion/Suspension Policy
This, the ninth edition of the WFTDA Rules, is possibly the most exciting yet. The wholesale changes are a break with the past, and will allow for new ways of thinking about how we teach, learn about, and implement the rules. The microsite is an exciting way to keep the rules an up-to-date, living document. It will be exciting to see how the WFTDA Education and Skater Training committees utilise the new formats to develop processes for skater and officials learning the new systems.