SUGGESTED USA PICKLEBALL RULE CHANGES FOR 2025

Rule change submissions will close on May 15th, 2024, at 11:59 PM. Comments on the existing rule change submissions will remain open until May 31st, 2024, at 11:59 PM.

Rule Submission TitleFault for Service Foot Fault Clarity
Existing Rule #4.A.9
Proposed Rule Change

4.A.9. Replay or Fault. In officiated matches, the referee may call for a replay if they are not certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve has been met, other than rule 4.A.4. The replay must be called before the return of serve. The referee shall call a fault if they are certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve, other than Rule 4.A.6, has not been met. In nonofficiated matches, if the receiver determines that manipulation of spin has been imparted prior to the serve, or the release of the ball is not visible, the receiver may call for a replay before the return of serve. In non-officiated matches, the receiver has no authority to call for replays or faults for service motion violations.

Original Rule Text

4.A.9. Replay or Fault. In officiated matches, the referee may call for a replay if they are not certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve has been met. The replay must be called before the return of serve. The referee shall call a fault if they are certain that one or more of the requirements of the serve, other than Rule 4.A.6, has not been met. In nonofficiated matches, if the receiver determines that manipulation of spin has been imparted prior to the serve, or the release of the ball is not visible, the receiver may call for a replay before the return of serve. In non-officiated matches, the receiver has no authority to call for replays or faults for service motion violations.

Reasoning Behind Suggested Change

The initial sentence in 4.A.9 needs clarity because it has been expanded to allow a referee to call for a re-serve when 4.A.4 has been violated. Basically, for the first time ever, a referee is now allowed to call for a re-serve if they are not certain if a player's foot has touched the service line or the court during the serve. This is in complete contradiction to every other time when a referee sees a fault (concerning a body part and a physical court line/space).  This expansion of this interpretation of this rule now allows a referee to say, "I'm not sure if your foot touched the line, so let's replay the rally." This is an egregious principle to adapt. It undermines any future time when a referee calls an NVZ fault. The player could have a legitimate complaint on why the referee wasn't sure about a foot fault on the opponent's serve, but certain when calling a foot fault on them.  It is a horrible concept and opens a gigantic can of worms.  Concerning body parts/equipment touching a physical object (court line, net, net post, opponent) faults are either committed or they are not. A referee should not be allowed to call for a re-serve under these conditions. Either a fault was committed or it was not.

Scenarios In Which the Rules Applies

The referee calls a fault when the server had stepped on the service line at the moment of serve. Under the current Casebook 1-24, the referee "could" call for a re-serve if they were not certain if the player stepped on the service line. With this rule change, just like every other time a player commits a foot fault, the referee either calls a fault or they do not.

Rule Book Year2025
Rule Change ID1736
Date CreatedMay 7, 2024
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