With the Argentine season fast approaching and the fixture list now confirmed there is also the news of important rule changes that will be implemented with the aim of making the game more attractive.
Some rules will be on trial, while others have come to stay for the Argentine game. It will be interesting to see which of these do improve the game and filter down to our own HPA Rules in the UK. You may remember in a previous article there is a desire from the governing bodies that worldwide polo is played under one set of rules rather than having continental variations, so there is no doubt the HPA will be following this with interest.
The following are the main rule changes that will be put into motion this coming season in Argentina:
Penalties: A player has 20 seconds to execute a play from the moment the umpire puts the ball in position.
Throw-ins: If the ball goes over the boards, through fault of a player or a horse, the team that did not hit it out will restart the game with a spot hit from where the ball went over.
Chukkas: Tortugas will maintain a 7 chukka length per game; Hurlingham matches will now be seven chukkas long, down from eight; Palermo will maintain its 8 chukka length.
Length of a chukka: Each chukka will now be six minutes long, with an additional 30 seconds.
Chukka after the first bell: If the ball touches the boards after the bell, play will continue as normal. If the match is tied in the final chukka, play will continue even if there is a foul or if the ball goes over the boards. The chukka will only come to an end if a goal is scored.
Penalty 1: A goal will be given to the attacking team. That team will then restart the match with a mid-field penalty.
Injuries: In the case of an injury, that player can exit the field and a replacement can come on. Once the injured player has received medical attention, he has the option of coming back onto the field.
Number of horses per game: Introducing a limit to the number of horses a player can take to a game is still under discussion. The limit currently stands at fourteen horses per player per game.
The Asociación Argentina de Polo hope to apply these changes to the largest number of tournaments possible, at every level.
Photo: Palermo, 2015.