By Bridget McArdle McKinney
International Polo Club Palm Beach’s Tom Basore, Jr. reports that the Argentine Polo Association (AAP) is field testing new rules in the San Jorge Open that were introduced to make the game play faster, safer and more exciting for spectators.
For a sport that is wrapped around traditions that have players carrying wood and cane mallets, regulated to wear white britches and brown boots, the bold moves by the Argentine Polo Association will certainly attract the interest of the balance of the polo-playing world.
Among the “new” rules to be tested are:
- A goal from the field will count as two points; a goal from a penalty as one.
- For a throw-in only 2 players per team line up. The other two players must be 10 yards away. The first player that hits the ball creates the new line. Before that no foul.
- To hit a penalty, the hitter cannot go more than 40 yards from the ball.
- There will no 40s, only a 60 or 30. If the defending player makes a foul to save a field goal within the 60 yards, the penalty will be a goal and a penalty.
- No one thought that it was going to be easy but it was understood that the rule changes would have to be tested so that they would have something to discuss. It is believed that a way must be found to improve the game for spectators and future generations of players as well.
The rules were put to the test in the San Jorge Open on Tuesday in a game that was played between Chapaleufu and La Natividad. It was an entertaining game but there was a great deal of confusion as to the new rules and how they would be applied.
And so, the short-lived experiment appears to be over—for the moment. The Argentine Polo Association (AAP) issued a statement on Thursday, September 11th directed at players and referees naming some minor rule changes ad allowing several others to fall by the wayside. Those changes will be effective immediately and will apply for all tournaments in the country.
The rules that have been implemented are:
- The throw-in will consist of all eight (8) players (not the four proposed earlier).
- For the throw-in, the teams will be separated by one meter with stripes on the ground at the center of the field. One meter will established between the two teams.
- On penalty shots, the player shooting a foul, when preparing to take the shot, must not move any further away from the ball than 50 yards. The referee will be responsible for checking the distance.
- When play resumes, following a foul or the assignment of a knock-in, the striking player may not take any longer than 15 seconds to put the ball into play after the umpire signals the order to play.
An infraction by the striking team will result in a throw-in at the spot of the foul.
It appears that the balance of the earlier “proposed” rule changes will be shelved for the time being.
Photo credit: International Polo Club Palm Beach