Click here to view official FINA WP rules as well as interpretations for Water Polo Canada.
polo is an extremely fierce, competitive and demanding game played over
four, eight minute periods. Each team is made up of 13 players and due
to the intense nature of the game, regular substitutions are common.
Seven players from each team are in the pool at any one time.
Each team consists of 13 players and has seven players in the pool – a goalie, six field players.
dimensions for games should be 25 metres (women) and 30 metres (men) in
length by 20 (not less than 17) metres wide. The depth is ideally 1.8
metres or more.
Attacking Team/ Defending Team
attacking Team is the team that has the ball and is trying to
score. The defending team tries to stop an attack and to get the ball so
that they can become attackers.
ideal game time is four periods, of at least 8 minutes long. There is a
five minute half time rest period and two-minute rest periods between
quarters one and three.
are allowed to substitute players using the re-entry rule (re-entry
area for exclusion foul) at any time during play and of course after a
goal is scored and during rest periods.
start of each period is very exciting. The two teams line up along
their goal line and stay there until the referee signals the start of
play. The player of both teams race for the ball as hard as they can to
try to gain possession of it and go on the attack.
Restarting Play (after a goal is scored)
one team scores a goal, both team have to stay on their own side of the
centre of half distance line. The team that is scored against is given
the ball. They go on the offensive as soon as the referee gives the
signal to start the action.
goal is scored when the whole ball crosses the goal line within the
goal posts. A goal can not be scored directly from a free throw,
unless shot is taken from 5 metres or further with undue delay. You can
shoot for goal and you are also allowed to carry the ball right in
There are three kinds of fouls in this game. Minor, exclusion and penalty fouls.
Minor Fouls (free throw awarded to opposing player)
An ordinary foul is awarded against players by the referee if they commit any of the below offenses:
Advance beyond the goal line before a start or restart of game
Assist a player at the start or restart of game
Push off the posts or sides or bottom of the pool
Impede or prevent the free movement of a player unless they are holding the ball
Push, or push off from an opponent
Hold the ball under water when tackled
Hit the ball with fist
Touch the ball with both hands at the same time
Be within 2 metres of the opponent’s goal line without the ball
Deliberately waste time (in the lat minute of the game a penalty throw is awarded to opposition team)
Delay unduly when taking a free throw, goal throw or corner throw
Exclusion fouls are called for the more serious offenses, for instance:
Holding or sinking an opposing player by pushing him beneath the surface
Pulling back a player
Splashing water in an opponent’s face
Blocking a shot with 2 arms
Kicking or hitting another player (brutality)
a major foul, a personal fault is called against the offending
player. He is sent out of the pool for 20 second…leaving his team one
person down. If the other team cores a goal while he is off, he can
return to the game immediately. Otherwise the re-entry of the excluded
player is signalled by table official by holding up flags (blue or
white-same as cap color) on expiration of 20 second.
a player gets more than three personal faults, he is sent out of the
pool for the remainder of the game (red flag from table officials).
Should a major foul be committed within attacking teams 5 metre area, then a penalty throw must be awarded (penalty foul).
Ejection For the Entire Game
(misconduct and Brutality)
Players guilty of misconduct shall be excluded from the remainder of the game, with substitution after the earliest occurrence.
offences include the use of unacceptable language, violent or
persistent foul play, refuse obedience to or show disrespect for a
referee or official, or behaviour against the spirit of the rules and
likely to bring the game into disrepute.
a player deliberately, as deemed by the referee, strikes or attempts to
strike another player using any part of the body the player will be
excluded from the game (brutality). A substitute player can enter field
of play after 4 minutes of play.
(awarded to player when opponent commit an ordinary foul)
player who takes a free throw may either pass the ball to a teammate or
drop it in front of him and play it himself. The player who is fouled
take the free throw from the point where the foul occurs – or on the 2m
line if the foul takes place within the other team’s 2m line. The
opposing team can not interfere with the taking of a free throw (i.e. if
a player throw the ball in the air or place it on the water, the
opposing team can not try and take the ball off the player). When taking
a free throw you must not delay taking the throw. Allow a couple of
seconds to pass or play the ball themselves.
A goal can not be scored directly from a free throw unless taken from 5m or further. The shot must be taken without undue delay.
goal throw is awarded when any player other than the goalkeeper of the
defending team touches the ball from a shot at goal and the ball passes
beyond the goal line a goal throw is awarded (instead of a corner
throw). Any player of the team from anywhere within the 2 metre area can
take the goal throw.
corner throw is awarded when the goalkeeper touches the ball from a
shot at goals and the ball passes beyond the goal line or when a
defending player deliberately sends the ball over the goal line. The
corner throw is taken from the 2 metre mark on the side nearest to which
the ball crossed the goal line.
penalty throw is awarded to a player when an opponent commits a major
foul in the 5 metre area. The player taking the penalty throw on the 5
metre line must throw the ball at the goals with undue delay when the
whistle is blown. All players except the defending goalkeeper must be
outside the 5 metre area. The goalie must not be in front of the goal
neutral throw is awarded when the referee can not be 100% sure who
committed the first foul, normally the foul occurs simultaneously, such
as both players take the ball under the water. The referee puts the ball
back in play, with each team being given an equal chance to get it.
in most sports, there are special rules for goalkeepers-after all; they
have a special job to do. Unlike the rest of the players, a goalie is
allowed to walk or stand on the bottom of the pool. He can hit the ball
with his fist, and he can touch or catch the ball with both hands. A
goalkeeper can score a goal but must not go past halfway.
goalkeeper is not allowed to move his net during play or sink the ball
whilst defending an attacker close to goal. If he moves his net to stop a
shot from going in or sinks the ball under pressure of attacking
player, a penalty throw is awarded to the other team.