Game Rules

Rules of Netball 2020 Edition

The 2020 Game Rules can be accessed here

A short synopsis of the variations of note are listed below.

Game Rules Update for Winter 2020

The 2020 rule book has seen a large number of small changes, mostly technical. There’s no significant change to the way the game will be officiated, but the points we should be aware of are as follows: 

  • When a penalty pass is awarded in the goal circle, and then the timekeeper signals the end of play, the umpire will blow the whistle immediately for time, and then advise the players that time is being extended for the penalty pass to be taken. [4.1.1 (iii) & 7.1.3 (iii)] 
  • If a team does not have 5 players available at any point, the match is awarded to the opposing team [this was previously not stated explicitly] [5.1 (ii) (a)] 
  • When penalising an infringement, the correct terminology should be used, as outlined in Appendix C. Particularly, this means saying ‘footwork’ for all footwork infringements other than a drag, where you say ‘drag’. [6.1.2 (i) (a) & Appendix C] 
  • If a player was in possession of the ball when time was held, any player from that team allowed in the area may have possession of the ball for the restart of play [9.3 (ii) (d)] 
  • If a team delays taking the court after a stoppage (i.e. injury, etc), once play resumes they are penalised for delaying. A penalty pass is awarded, which is advanced, the captain is cautioned, and the Centre stands out of play for the penalty pass. Note that cautioning the captain will require time to be held again [8.1.1 (ii)] 
  • A team delaying taking the court after an interval remains as before – a penalty pass is awarded in the centre third at the transverse line with the Centre out of play (there is no caution). [8.1.1 (i)] 
  • A centre pass will be ruled not to have been taken at the end of a quarter if: 
  • The ball is still in the Centre’s hands and their team has not been penalised for an infringement 
  • The Ball has been knocked out of the Centre’s hands by an opponent 
  • An intentional infringement by the opposing team has been penalised and the penalty pass has not yet been taken [8.2 (ii)] 
  • If a late player or substitute enters the court at the incorrect time (i.e. without waiting for a goal), they are sent from the court until the correct time and a penalty pass is awarded to the opposing team where the ball was (this was previously a free pass). A player from the infringing team stands out of play, and the infringing team decides who this will be. [5.1 (ii) (b), 9.2 (iv), 9.3.1 (x), Match Guidelines] 
  • The rule stating that a ball may not be thrown deliberately at another player has been removed. • Short pass has been clarified – at some point between the ball being released and caught, there must be sufficient space for an intercept with a hand. The free pass is awarded where the thrower was standing. [9.5.1 (i)] 
  • A player may not kick the ball, fall on the ball to gain possession or strike the ball with a fist. There is no longer a need for these actions to be deliberate. [9.4.1 (vi)] 
  • A player may not roll the ball to another player. Previously this only applied to a player in possession of the ball. [9.4.1 (vi) (d)] 
  • A penalty pass is awarded if a defending player causes the goalpost to move and interferes with a shot at goal. The words ‘and cause it to miss’ have been removed, which returns the application to pre-2016. [10.2 (ii) (a)] 
  • If the player with the pivots in a way that brings the nearer part of their landing foot closer to a defender, that defender must adjust so that they are 0.9m from the (new) nearer part of that foot. [11.1 (iii)] 
  • A caution is binding on the co-umpire. [13.1 (iii)] 
  • A player may only be warned once, and may only be suspended once. [13.1.2 (ii) & 13.1.3 (ii)] 
  • Dangerous play (which now includes reckless play) is no longer split up into accidental and deliberate actions. The umpire either gives a warning (minimum), suspends, or orders off at their discretion. [13.2.2] 
  • If bench officials or players are dealt with, a penalty pass is awarded where the ball was (previously a free pass), and no player is out of play [13.3]