Unified Polo Rules
The FIP, AAP, USPA and HPA have resolved rule differences and the HPA have announced that a Worldwide Unified Rules Book will be published this year.
The big four governing bodies in polo, The Federation of International Polo, The Argentine Polo Association, The United States Polo Association and our own governing body The Hurlingham Polo Association, have agreed on a unified set of rules. The USPA, AAP and HPA manage in excess of 14,000 players with memberships spread over 600 clubs in the three countries. Much debate has circled round the global polo community in recent years about rules, umpiring and how best to progress the game for spectators, players and sponsors alike, with the aim of attracting and holding new sponsors and bringing more revenue into the industry.
The 2016 UK Summer season will be the first time that these unified rules will be tested by the players at all levels. David Woodd, the Chief Executive of the HPA commented about the new rules, “Lord Mountbatten produced a first set of International Rules in 1939 and there have been various versions since then, with the three major associations doggedly defending their own rules. There has been a huge effort by all involved to reach a consensus and, having achieved that, it is hoped that the wording can be brought closer together and the existing few differences removed. Perhaps more importantly, it will make it more likely that changes to improve the game for players and spectators, and changes to make it easier to umpire, can be agreed and introduced worldwide.
“Following meetings last year with the AAP and USPA, along with direction from the Stewards to help to produce one set of rules, the HPA’s Rules and Regulations have been redrafted and reorganised so that they are all available in one pocket book. Various aspects have been included in the Annexes and apply where referred to in Part 1 or Part 2.
“Part 1 is the ‘one set of rules’ and covers the essentials for how the game of polo should be officiated and played worldwide. Although the language and the order are different in places, the rules now align closely with those of Argentina and the USA. The highlighted rules, in the soon to be issued HPA Rules Book, are either new for the HPA (introduced in order to align), or those that remain different (the significant one being the 30 yard Penalty 2, which remains undefended.)
“However, each country has different rules for certain aspects such as membership, players and their equipment, substitution, pony welfare and the conditions for tournaments, and these are always going to be slightly different. These are set out as the HPA’s Supplementary Regulations and Rules in Part 2 and these shall apply to anyone who wishes to play in the UK and Ireland.”
The rules are available to view as a pdf from the HPA website. The address to the page is: