Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rules of Elephant Polo

1. The Game will be played by three players on each team using a standard size polo ball.

2. Preliminary games will consist of two 7 minute chukkas of playing time, with an interval of 15 minutes. The whistle blown by the referee stops and starts the play. Finals and semi-final games will consist of two chukkas with the same interval.

3. The pitch will be marked with a centre line, a circle with a radius of 10 metres in the centre of the field, and a semi-circle, in front of the goals, with a radius of 20 metres, measured from the centre of the goal line at either end of the pitch will form the D.

4. Elephants and ends are changed at half time.

5. To be a goal, the ball must travel over and across the goal line.


1. START OF THE GAME:The play is begun when an Umpire, from outside the centre circle, throws the ball between two opposing elephants inside the ring. No other elephants may enter the ring until the ball has been hit out by either of the two opposing players. To do so is foul. A spot hit is to be given to the fouled team, from the spot where the ball was when the foul occurred. Defending elephants must be 15 metres from the ball before the spot hit is taken.

2. NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS ON THE PITCH:(a) No team may have more than two elephants playing in one half of the pitch at any given time, including at the throw-in before the start of the game, and the throw-in after each goal is scored. To do so constitutes a foul. A spot hit will be given from the place where the foul occurred. Elephants from the defending side should be 15 metres from the ball.(b) The elephant that is designated to be in the opposing half must position itself anywhere in the opposition’s half, but no less than 15 metres from the ball, at the throw-in, after each goal. The elephant in the opposing half may switch positions, during play, with another of its team as long as there are no more than two elephants in one half of the pitch at any given time during play. In order to avoid a foul the switch should be made during the time that the game has stopped. The Umpire should be informed by the Captain before the switch is made.

3. GOAL/SEMI CIRCLE – NO MORE THAN ONE ELEPHANT FROM EACH SIDE ALLOWED IN THE D:If the Attacking team has more than one elephant in the semi-circle, then the Defending team is given a free spot hit from a point on the semi-circle line opposite the middle of the goal. Opposition players are to be 15 metres from the ball. If there are two defending elephants in the semi-circle, this also constitutes a foul. A free hit is given to the Attacking team from the point at which the ball is when the foul occurs. Elephants from the Defending side must be 15 metres from the ball. This could mean that the elephants from the Defending side must be over the back-line, or at the sides of the semi-circle – 15 metres from the ball, even if it results in an undefended goal mouth.

4. HIT IN/OUTS – SIDELINE/BACKLINES AND ON 20 METRES SEMI CIRCLE TO THE D :a. All opposing elephants must be 15 metres away from the ball, whether the hit-in be from the sideline, the backline or a spot hit awarded in the field, for whatever reason, as decided by the umpire.b. Rebounding off elephants – “No Penalty”: Should an Attacking player hit the ball and the ball goes out of play, having deflected off any elephant, then it is a knock in for the Defending team. All Attacking elephants must be 15 metres from the spot, with only one Attacking and one Defending elephant, in the D allowed.c. Should a Defending player hit the ball out over the back-line, whether or not it is deflected off any elephant, it will be hit for the Attacking team 20 metres out opposite where the ball crossed the line. All Defending elephants must be 15 metres from the spot and only one Defending and one Attacking elephant may be allowed in the “D”.d. Should the Defending player hit the ball and it rebounds off an Attacking player’s stick before going out directly, or off any elephant, on its way out, then it is a knock-in for the Defending team from where the ball crossed the line. All elephants of the Attacking team are to be 15 metres away and one Defending and one Attacking elephant are allowed in the D. Should the knock-in be on line within the radius of the D then the Defending elephants taking the hit shall be considered as the one Defending Elephant allowed in the D.e. An Attacking team will be awarded a free hit from 20 metres opposite from where the ball went over the back line, should the ball strike a Defender’s stick, either having been struck at, or the ball accidentally hitting the Defender’s stick, whether of not the ball deflects off an elephant. The Defending elephants must be 15 metres from the spot be allowed in the spot with only one Defending and one Attacking elephant allowed in the D.f. Should a Defending or Attacking player hit a penalty or spot hit from the 20 metre semi-circle comprising the D, then that elephant is considered as the one allowed in the D from his side. No others may be allowed to stand in the D to supplement the player taking the shot.An elephant from the opposing side from the one taking the penalty, or spot hit, may be allowed, in the D.

5. ELEPHANTS - SIZE - SEX AND BEHAVIOUR:There shall be no restrictions as to the height, weight or sex of the elephants.
6. NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS & MAHOUTS:A team consists of three elephants. Teams are made up from the pool of elephants and balanced out as fairly as possible bearing in mind size and speed of the elephant. Once the team of elephants has been selected it shall be categorized and marked as A,B,C,D, E, F. Once chosen the elephants can not be changed from one team to another, except in case of injury to an elephant. The umpire and referees will decide which elephant(s) are to be substituted. Wherever possible they will choose an elephant of similar size and speed to replace the injured elephant(s).The mahout of the elephant chosen must play the entire tournament on the elephant originally assigned. The mahout cannot be changed at anytime except for injury or circumstances accepted by the Umpires and/or the Referee.
7. No elephants may lie down in front of the goal-mouth. To do so will constitute a foul. A free hit shall be awarded to the opposing side from the 20 metres semi circle in front of the goal, with only one elephant defending 15 metres from the spot.
8. An elephant may not pick up the ball with its trunk during play. To do so shall constitute a foul. A free hit shall be awarded to the opposing team from the spot where the ball was picked up. The defending players shall be 15 metres away from the spot.
9. FALLING OFF:If a player falls from an elephant, the play is stopped while the rider remounts. In case of injury, where the player cannot continue, a replacement may be called upon from among the reserves nominated, at the beginning of the Championship. Also see rule 20. Play is commenced with a throw-in by the Umpire between two elephants – one from each team, similar to the start of the game, but from the spot where the ball was when the player fell off. All other elephants shall be 15 metres from the spot.
10. ELEPHANT HARNESS:Should there be any failure in the elephant’s harness, the elephant shall retire to the side, or end line, to repair it. The game is stopped and restarted by a throw-in between two opposing elephants where the ball was when the game stopped.
11. BROKEN STICK:Should a stick be broken, when play is in the D, the game will not be stopped until the ball leaves the D. For a broken stick when the play is outside of the D, the game will be stopped while the player changes his stick. Play commences with a throw-in by the umpire, between one elephant from each side. All other players being 15 metres away.
12. HEAD GEAR:Elephant drivers and players must wear a protective hat of a design approved by the Referee, Umpire and Tournament Doctor. Should a player’s hat fall off outside the “D”, the game is stopped while it is recovered. A spot hit is awarded to the opposing side and the game shall resume when the Umpire signals to do so by a whistle and flag. Defending players must be 15 metres from the spot. Should the hat fall inside the “D”, the game will continue, and will only stop when the ball clears the “D”.
13. PICK-ME-UPS:Sugar cane or rice balls packed with vitamins (molasses and rock salt) shall be given to the elephants at the end of each match and a cold beer, or soft drink, to the elephant drivers and not vice versa.
14. PERSONAL FOULS: The following acts constitute a foul.a. Hooking the opponent's stick.b. Deliberately crossing in front of an elephant when the opponent is moving with the ball. Elephants may ride each other off or may be deliberately placed between elephants without the ball in order to impede their progress in getting to the ball, but deliberate crossing in front of the elephant with the ball constitutes a foul.c. Standing “on” the ball, backing or going forward over a ball to stop a player reaching the ball.d. Intentionally hitting another player, mahout, elephant, or Umpire with a stick.e. Dangerous play. “Round house” swings considered a danger to another player or elephant. “Round house” swings are allowed if there are no other players, or elephants, of either side, at the risk being hit. The definition of “too close” is at the discretion of the Umpire.f. Excessive use of any tool to discipline the elephant, either by mahout or player. Persistent infringement will lead to the player being sent from the field for the duration of the match, at the referee’s discretion a further ban of one chukka may be awarded for this offence. The player is responsible for the behaviour of their mahout. THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF THE ELEPHANTS USED IN T.E.P.A. TOURNAMENTS IS A PRIME CONCERN, ABUSE OF THE ELEPHANT IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE MOST SERIOUS OFFENCE.

15. PENALTIES:When a player from a team commits a foul, from a, b or c, of “Personal Fouls”, the opposing team is allowed a free hit, from where the foul occurred. Elephants from the teams that fouled, must be 15 metres from the spot.a. The penalty for breaking Rule 14(d) and 14(e) will be at the discretion of the Umpire. The Umpire may award a spot hit against the offending team, from the spot where the ball was when the foul was committed, or if serious enough, especially following repeated warnings, may award a penalty from the 20 metre semi-circle with no opposition player guarding the goal. All other elephants must be 15 metres from the penalty spot with only one opposing player in the D but not in front of the goal.

16. UMPIRES, REFEREE, GOAL JUDGES, AND TIME KEEPER:There will a Senior Umpire together with an assistant Umpire mounted on the Referee elephant. The official Referee can be on the Referee Elephant, or be positioned on the sideline near the centre of the field of play. The Referee and Umpires must follow the play as closely as possible without impeding it. The Senior Umpire may consult with the Referee should there be any serious doubt as to infringements and penalties to be awarded, or concerning any official protest from a team captain.a. There will be a goal judge at either goal.b. There will be at least two Time keepers on one side of the pitch at the mid-line.i. When the ball is knocked out of bounds time is stopped until, at a signal from the Umpire using a whistle and flag, it is knocked in again.ii. Time is also stopped when a penalty is called by the Umpire. Again by using a flag and a whistle, the game is started again.iii. The first chukka will end at the ten minute bell/bugle.iv. Second chukka – at the end of 10 minutes play the bell/bugle shall signify the end of the normal chukka – play stops. However, if the ball is the in the D at the end of the 10 minutes the game shall be signaled when the ball travels out of the D, whether goal or not .

17. THE LEAGUEWIN = 2 points, DRAW = 1 point1. Should there be a draw in any of the two Leagues to decide first and second semi finalists there will be a penalty shoot out from the centre of the 20 metre D with no elephant defending the goal. Should it still be a draw after all three players from each team have made their hit then a “sudden–death” penalty shoot out will be used to determine which team is first or second.

2. Should there be a draw for second and third place then two-five minute chukkas will be played between the teams to decide who is second and third. Should there be a draw at the end of the two-five minute chukkas then a penalty shoot-out between those teams will also be conducted as with rules spelled out in 17a.

3. Should there be a draw for third and fourth place then it is to be decided upon by penalty shoot out.

4. Should multiple teams draw in any league then penalty shoot-outs will be taken between each team.

5. The penalties shall be taken from the centre of the 20 metre semi-circle. The ball may only be hit once. Should the player miss the ball completely other swings may be taken until there is contact. A goal is awarded whether the ball goes directly in across the line or deflects off a post across the line.

18. T.E.P.A FINALS:1. The top two teams from each league go through to T.E.P.A Championship Finals.

19. EXTRA TIME AND PENALTY SHOOT-OUTSa. If the score is a draw at the end of both chukkas, the game shall be decided by “sudden death”. Ends shall be changed, but not elephants. The first team to score a goal wins the match. The period of play shall be 5 minutes of playing time. Should there still be a draw at the end of the extra time, then the game shall be decided by a penalty shoot out. Each member of the team will take a penalty shot, in turn, from the 20 metres spot on the D opposite the goal as in rule 17a.b. Should there still be a draw after both teams, have shot at goal, then “sudden –death” penalties will take place. The Captain of each team shall choose the order of the players and elephants to take the penalties. The team that scores the first goal during sudden death shoot out wins.

20. INJURY OR SICKNESSIn the case of injury, sickness or extenuating circumstances a substitute(s) is allowed. The substitute(s) must be of a similar standard, or less, than the injured, or person being replaced.

21. HANDICAPPINGHandicaps will be assigned by the T.E.P.A. Handicapping Committee who will adhere to the following rules.a. Professional Horse Polo Players: The handicap awarded to any registered professional horse polo player shall total half of their horse polo handicap.PLAYERS WHO HAVE NOT BEEN ASSIGNED A HANDICAP UNDER RULE A, WILL BE CONSIDERED ELIGIBLE FOR HANDICAP ASSIGNMENT UNDER RULE B.b. Professional and Seasoned Elephant Polo Players: A half goal handicap will be assigned to any player that has played in three or more World Series (WEPA, TEPA or CEPA) Elephant Polo Championships anywhere in the world and does not have a horse polo handicap.c. The T.E.P.A. Committee reserves the right to assign a handicap to any player for reasons other than those outlined in a. and b. In order to do this a special meeting of all team captains will be called before the tournament commences. Player handicaps may not be changed during the tournament.d. Should a the team's total handicap when summed result in a half goal, the handicap will be rounded down.


a. If any player or team representative should show dissent toward any decision made by the umpire or referee a free hit may be awarded to the opposition from where the ball was when the dissent occurred.

b. Should a free hit already be awarded when the dissent occurs the free hit will be taken from a position five metres closer to the goal of the dissenting team.

c. Continued dissent will result in further five metre penalties.

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