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WorldPride and EuroGames in Copenhagen and Malmö, 12–22 August 2021

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Dodgeball tournament: Rules of Play

Rules of Play

1. The Team

    1. Eight (8) players will compete on each side; others players will stand on the side of the court to rotate in when appropriate.
    2. The minimum number of players a team can start playing with is two (2). Players who show up after a game starts can only be cycled in when a ball is caught and there are 7 or fewer players on the court. Teams cannot accept substitute players from other teams.


2. The Object of Dodgeball

  1. The object of Dodgeball is to eliminate players on the opposing team by getting them “OUT”.


3. Definitions

    1. LIVE BALL: A ball that has been thrown.
      1. A THROW is defined as when a player who has possession of the ball throws (not taps, kicks, rolls, places, etc.) a ball toward the opposing side. A ball must be released before the whistle (or before the countdown reaches zero) to count as a throw. A ball must also cross the plane of the midcourt line without touching the ground to count as a throw.
      2. POSSESSION, while ultimately a ref’s call, is defined as the ability to exert control over a ball. This is the ability to block, throw, and drop a ball at will. 
    2. DEAD BALL: A ball that has touched the floor, hit another ball, hit a player who is already out, hit an official or any other non-playing person, or hit any other fixture outside of the playing field (wall, ceiling, basketball hoop, etc.).
    3. A CATCH: A LIVE ball that is in possession of a player when the player is in bounds (please see below the section THE GAME / BOUNDARIES for an explanation of being in bounds).
      1. Note: Trapping a ball against the floor or wall is not a CATCH; it is also not an out, as defined below.


4. A player is defined as "out" if...

      1. The player is hit below the neck with a LIVE ball that eventually dies. Clothing is considered an extension of the body (i.e. if a LIVE ball brushes a player’s tee shirt and the ball dies, they are OUT). Note the player is officially out when the ball that hit them dies, not upon contact with the player, so anything the player does after being hit but before the ball dies is still active play.  For example, if a player is hit and throws a live ball before the ball that hit the player has died, that throw is still a live ball.  Another example is if a player is hit then catches a second ball before the ball that hit them dies, then the catch is good, and the player is also out.  It is important for refs and players to note the timing of the sequence of events to determine which elements are part of active play and which occurred after a player is out.
      2. The LIVE ball that they threw is caught by the opponent before it is DEAD.
      3. The player crosses the center or boundary lines as defined by Section 8. Boundaries.

5. A player is defined as "in" if...

        1. The player is not OUT.
        2. A teammate catches a LIVE ball and the player is the first one to rotate in. Note that players can be cycled in only when there are 7 or fewer players on the court.


6. The Game / Opening Rush

      1. Dodgeball game begins by placing five dodgeballs along the center midcourt line. One team will collect three balls assigned to that team, and the other team will collect two balls during the opening rush.
      2. Players then take a position behind their end line (or on their end line, if the court dimensions require). Following a whistle by the head ref, players from each team “rush” the centerline to retrieve only the balls to their right of the center of court.
      3. Players cannot cross the center line to grab a ball. Doing so will immediately result in that player being OUT.
      4. Once a ball is retrieved, the ball must be taken behind the designated clearing line (this is called "clearing" of the ball) before it can be legally thrown as a LIVE ball. Clearing a ball by hitting the back wall is permitted.
      5. Once the balls have been “cleared,” all players must be inside the boundaries and gameplay can begin. 


7. The Game / Boundaries

      1. During play, all players must remain within the boundary lines, where such boundaries are designated.
      2. If any player crosses the boundary lines (back and side lines) with one or more than one WHOLE body part, they are OUT. That is, if one player’s whole body part is completely outside the court and touches anything other than a ball, then the player is OUT. This includes touching a wall.  If any part of that player’s body part is still on the boundary line, they are still IN.  Note that players may not step OUT to retrieve balls that have gone out of play; they must depend on anyone not currently IN to help retrieve any such ball.
      3. If any player steps over the center line then they are OUT.
        1. By stepping over the center line it is understood that a player is out if any part of the body touches anything past the center line other than a ball. A player is in if they are ON the line and do not cross it. 


8. The Game / Double-Elimination Play

        1. Elimination Matches
          1. Each match will consist of three timed games, with the winner of the match determined as the winner of two of three games.
          2. Timed games will last five minutes.
          3. Each team is allowed ONE time out per game (remember: one match has three games).
          4. ONLY the captain or the on-court captain (if the captain is not IN) can signal or speak to the referee.
          5. The time out is in effect only when the referee signals for it; NOT when the captain calls for it.
          6. The clock will STOP during each time out.
          7. If a team signals for a second timeout in a single game and play is stopped, then one player from that team will have to leave the court; in other words, a player is OUT.
          8. Only referees are allowed to call additional timeouts.
        2. To keep gameplay moving, referees will initiate a 5-second countdown. The countdown shall be initiated 5 seconds after the team on the court with the majority of the balls has possession (or should reasonably have possession barring intentional delay of game) of a majority of the balls available to such team. By the end of the countdown, the team with the majority of the balls must throw the number of balls sufficient to confer a majority ball possession to the other team For example, if a team possesses 5 balls, they must throw 3 of them; if a team possesses 4 balls, they must throw 2 of them; if a team possesses 3 balls, they must throw 1 of them.  A ball must be live as it crosses center court to count as a throw.
        3. The countdown will go: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1, WHISTLE (or “zero”).” Failure of the team with majority balls to throw the requisite number of balls by the WHISTLE blow will result in all the balls transferred to the other team’s possession. Any balls thrown before or at the WHISTLE will not count as a live throw.
          1. Ball collisions (or other unforeseen interference) that prevent thrown balls from crossing the center line while live may count as throws and stop a countdown at the ref's discretion.
        4. Ending the Game: winning, final whistle, sudden death
          1. If neither team has been eliminated by the end of 5 minutes, the team with the greater number of players remaining wins.
          2. The game is over when the final whistle is blown AND all balls are DEAD. If a ball is LIVE in mid-air when the final whistle blows, that ball is still LIVE until it becomes DEAD (see Section 4). If a LIVE ball hits a player after the final whistle, that player is OUT.
          3. In the case of an equal number of players remaining from each team when the final whistle blows, a one-minute “sudden-death” overtime will be played. The first team to eliminate a player wins.
          4. If no team has eliminated a player by the end of the first one-minute round, one player is added to each team and the sudden-death recommences for another minute, and so on.
          5. If two players from opposing teams get out simultaneously during a sudden-death round, the clock does not stop. The remaining players will play until one person gets out or until the end of the minute when another player will be added, and so on.


9. The Game / Round-Robin Play

          1. The rules of play from Section 8 above also apply to Round-Robin play, with the following exceptions:
        1. Teams will play each other for 15 minutes, completing as many untimed games as possible during that time.
        2. A game ends only when one team is eliminated entirely.
        3. No time-outs can be called by players, and time-outs are permitted only upon referee discretion (injury, etc.).
        4. No team is declared victorious during Round-Robin play. Instead, wins and losses for each team during the 15-minute round are recorded to determine overall win/loss record.  Any game not completed before the end of the 15-minute round shall not be recorded for either team as a win, loss, or draw.


10. The Game / Cycling In

          1. When a member of a team catches a ball thrown by an opponent, a member of that team who is OUT can come into the game. Players will rotate into the game in the same order they were called out. A team can never exceed 8 players on the court.
          2. Players waiting to rotate in cannot interfere with the game in any way, except to push a ball that has rolled out of bounds back onto the court. Rolling a ball toward your team is permitted.
          3. When a member of a team is injured and would be considered IN, a player who is OUT may substitute in for said injured player. The substituting player must be the next one in the rotation. Substitutions can only be made when play has stopped. No other substitutions will be made for injured players.


11. The Game / Balls

          1. A team holding the majority of balls must throw the requisite number of balls (within the 5 second countdown as warned by referees). No ball can be placed by a player anywhere on their opponent’s court. No ball can be kicked or rolled.  Whether a balls is thrown underhand or rolled is at the discretion of the referee, with reference to the ball trajectory and arc, as well as visible intention of the player.
          2. Pinching the ball (where a player squeezes rubber to rubber inside the ball, or exerts excessive squeezing deemed close enough to pinching by a ref) while THROWING at an opponent will not be permitted. If a referee sees a player pinching, that ref can issue a warning. A player hit by a pinched ball thrown at them is IN. A second pinching call results in the throwing player called OUT. The impacted player may be caught back into the same game.
          3. Pinch BLOCKING (where a player blocks by squeezing rubber to rubber or excessive squeezing deemed close enough to pinching by a ref) will not be permitted. If a referee sees a player pinch blocking, a warning is issued. A second warning results that player called OUT. The impacted player may be caught back into the same game.


12. Scenarios

          1. If a LIVE ball hits one teammate, then bounces off that teammate and hits another, and the ball dies, then BOTH teammates are OUT.
          2. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball and hits another(s) teammate(s) and the ball dies, then that (those) other(s) teammate(s) is(are) OUT.
          3. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball, is caught by another teammate and then it dies, then the person who threw the ball is OUT, and one player can cycle IN depending on the number of teammates on the court.
          4. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, bounces off that ball without knocking the first ball out of the player’s possession, and then it dies, neither the thrower nor the opposing teammate are OUT.
          5. If a LIVE ball hits a ball that a player is holding, and knocks that ball out of their possession, then that player is OUT. Players are not out if they intentionally drop a ball first to catch a LIVE ball thrown by an opponent player.
          6. A LIVE ball deflected off a teammate can be caught by another teammate, resulting in the person that threw the ball being OUT, and one player being cycled in depending on the number of teammates on the court.
          7. A LIVE ball caught by a player who is in the air will only be considered a CATCH if said player lands with at least one foot fully in bounds before going out of bounds. 


13. Code of Conduct

            1. DETERMINATIONS BY REFEREES ARE FINAL. Any abusive or argumentative behavior toward any referee or tournament official will not be tolerated. 
            2. NO HEADSHOTS OF ANY KIND: A player who throws a ball that hits an opposing player above the shoulders while that player is upright will be warned for high-ball throw. Should said player throw a second high ball, or should any high ball is considered intentional “head-hunting” by the official, they will be called out. A player called out for a high ball can cycle back in, however a third high ball warning within a match will cause that player to be called out for the remainder of that match.  A player called out for high ball will not be replaced by a substitute; it shall be treated as an out as otherwise through the course of play.
            3. NO KICKING BALLS: Kicking of balls over the midcourt plane is not allowed on the dodgeball court. A player may kick the ball on their own side of the court as a pass to a teammate or to bring that ball to a desired place. Any kick with aggression or without strategic intent is not permitted.
            4. The head referee has the final say on all rulings. The referees shall determine what occurred but may consult the coach or other official for interpretation of the rule.  The head referee shall indicate how the rules apply to the circumstances as determined and described by all referees who witnessed the play.
            5. Only the captains of the playing teams may speak to the referees to question a call. Any other player addressing the referee during the game may be ejected from the game at the referee’s discretion, considering factors such as level of aggression, issuance (and heeding) of warning, intent, and such other factors as may be relevant in the situation.

14. Sportsmanship

EuroGames in 2021 strives to create an inclusive environment for all participants. All players are expected to conduct themselves with the highest level of sportsmanship.

  1. Sportsmanship is defined as fairness and respect for one’s opponents, teams, coaches, and referees, as well as exhibiting graciousness in winning or losing.
  2. Threatening language, verbal threats, or slurs against race, religion, age, ethnicity, sexuality, size, or gender/gender expression will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Note that the focus here is the intent and the effect; joking among friends that transcends division and underlines acceptance of differences is not the focus of this rule.
  3. In the gym or at any tournament function, any player who deliberately tries to harm or intimidate another player through the use of force, threatening language, or verbal threats will be subject to league consequences including warnings, ejections from the gym, suspensions from games, and expulsions from the tournament without any refund of their paid player fee. The level of penalty imposed is at the sole discretion of the tournament organizers and will be based on the severity of the infraction.
  4. It is expected that all players will be allocated equal playing time per day of play. Captains are responsible for starting players an equal number of games (as even as possible) per match per night for all regular season games and regular season tournaments. No player may be seated out two games in a single match before another player has been seated out at least one game, except in the instance of injury.
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