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In August 2014, the World Professional Billiards & Snooker Association (WPBSA) Rules Committee made a number of amendments to the WPBSA Official Rules of the Games of Snooker and English Billiards.  These amendments have also recently been ratified by the International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF).  

These latest amendments to the rules have now subsequently been adopted by the Australian Billiards & Snooker Council (ABSC) as per their website announcement dated 18th September 2014: www.absc.com.au

As the ABSC Championship Playing Conditions state that all Championships will be conducted under the rules of the game as published by the IBSF, these latest amendments to the rules are effective immediately and will be used for all future ABSC Championships and tournaments.

As an affiliate of the ABSC, the BSA NSW’s role is to ensure that these amendments to the rules of Snooker and English Billiards should therefore also be applied immediately in all levels of the games.  

It is important that all players, referees and Club and District administrators take note of these numerous changes as soon as possible.

Following these latest changes the WPBSA will be issuing a new booklet of the Official Rules for Snooker and English Billiards which is currently in the process of being published.  In the meantime it will be available from their website: www.wpbsa.com/rules-of-the-game

Once again, the BSA NSW emphasises the importance for all players, referees and Club and District administrators to gain a thorough understanding of these numerous rule changes as soon as possible.

A brief summary of these changes is provided below:

Section 2, Rule 6 - Stroke (a)
The addition of “except whilst addressing the cue-ball (known as feathering)”.
The act of feathering the cue-ball is not a legal stroke, therefore it is penalised.

Section 2, Rule 13 - Free Ball
Now to include “other than the ball on”
This is not a rule change, but just a clarification of an existing rule.  Following several incidents regarding the awarding of a Free Ball following a Foul, it should be clearly understood that the ball on can never be considered to be the Free Ball.

Section 2, Rule 14 - Forced Off the Table
The amended rule will state as follows with the new part underlined:
    “A ball is forced off the table if it comes to rest other than on the bed of the table or in a pocket, or is picked up by the striker, or intentionally moved by hand whilst it is in play”.
This change was made to clarify the instance of a ball being lifted from the bed of the table or rolled into a new position.  Both instances are fouls, but the cue-ball is now in hand for either offence.

Section 3, Rule 10 - Penalties
The position of the push shot penalty has changed it’s position from (b)(v) to (a)(x).
Also, (d)(iii) now reads… “touches any ball during consultation”.
The touching of any ball during the consultation of replacing the balls following a Foul and a Miss, will now incur a penalty of SEVEN points.

Section 3, Rule 12 - Snookered After a Foul
As above under Section 2, Rule 13 - Free Ball

Section 3, Rule 14 - Foul and a Miss
The Foul and a Miss Rule was found to be too complicated, so needed to be simplified.  This rule has been re-written for ease of clarity, but in essence remains the same.  Having been condensed into a shorter format, many cross references have had to be amended and change positions.

Section 3, Rule 15 – Ball Moved by Other than Striker
(a) Remove the words “other than the striker’s partner”.
If the striker’s partner moves a ball, this is now a Foul.

Section 1, Rule 2 - Balls
(a) With the introduction of the spotted Pro-Cup balls, the words “which may have spots” have been added.

Section 3, Rule 20 - Baulk Line Crossing
An explanation of the Baulk Line Crossing Rule is provided.

Ross Wyard
NSW Referees Director
Billiards & Snooker Association of NSW (Inc)

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