World Elephant Polo Association
Rules as of December 1998
Organisation of the Game
- The game will be played by four players on each team on a marked pitch 120
x 70 metres, using a standard size polo ball.
- The game will consist of two 10 minute chukkers of playing time, with an
interval of 15 minutes. The whistle blown by the referee stops and starts
- 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.
- Elephants and ends are changed at half time.
- To be a goal, the ball must travel over and across the goal line.
Rules of the Game
- START OF PLAY:
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 offending player fouled. Defending elephants must be 15
metres from the ball before the spot hit is taken.
- NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS IN THE PITCH:
No team may have more than three elephants 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 point where the foul occurred. Elephants from
the defending side should be 15 metres from the ball. The elephant that is
designated to be in the opposing half must position itself anywhere in the
opposition's half, at the throw-in, or after each goal. The elephant in the
opposing half may switch positions with another of its team as long as there
are no more than three elephants in one half of the pitch at any given time
during play. In order to avoid a foul the elephants switching during play
must cross over the half-way line at exactly the same time. If the switch
is to be made during the time that the game has stopped the Umpire should
be informed by the Captain before the switch is made.
- 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 should 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
- HIT IN/OUTS - SIDELINE/BACKLINES AND ON 20 METRES SEMI CIRCLE TO THE
- All opposing elephants must be 15 metres away from the ball, whether
the hit-in be from the sideline, the backlin or a spot hit awarded in
the field, for whatever reason, as decided by the umpire.
- 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.
- 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 stick, either having been struck at, or the ball accidentally
hitting the Defender's stick, whether or 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.
- Should a Defending player hit the ball out over the back-line,
whether or not it 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.
- 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 opposite 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.
- 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.
- ELEPHANTS - SIZE - SEX AND BEHAVIOR:
There shall be no restrictions as to the height, weight or sex of the elephants.
- NUMBER OF ELEPHANTS AND MAHOUT:
A team consists of four 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 categorised
and marked as A,B,C,D. 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 the
will choose an elephant of similar size and speed to replace the injured elephant(s).
The mahout of the elephants chosen must play the entire tournament on the
elephant originally assigned. The mahout cannot be changed at any time except
for injury or circumstances accepted by the Umpires and/or the Referee.
- 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
sem-circle in front of the goal, with only one elephant defending 15 metres
from the spot.
- An elephant may not pick up the ball in 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 at the spot where the ball was at the time the game was stopped, all
other players being 15 metres away.
- HEAD GEAR:
Elephant drivers and players must wear a hat in the form of the traditional
solar topee or a polo helmet, at all times. 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.
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 drinks, to the elephant drivers, but not vice versa.
- PERSONAL FOULS:
The following acts constitute a foul:
- Hooking the opponent's stick.
- 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.
- Standing "on" the ball, backing or going forward over a ball
to stop a player reaching the ball.
- Intentionally hitting another player, elephant, or Umpire with a stick.
- 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
of being hit. The definition of "too close" is at the discretion
of the Umpire.
- The use of the ankush is forbidden during all games. The ankush may
be carried on elephants considered dangerous by the mahouts but can only
be used when absolutely necessary.
- When a player from a team commits a foul, from a, b, or c, of "Personal
Fouls," the oppposing team is allowed a free hit, from where the
foul occurred. Elephants from the team that fouled, must be 15 metres
from the spot.
- The penalty for breaking Rule 15d and 15e [sic] 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.
- Umpires, Referees, Goal Judges, and Time Keeper:
- There will be 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 ans official protest from a team captain.
- There will be a goal judge at either goal.
- There will be at least two Time keepers on one side of the pitch at
- 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
- Time is also stopped when a penalty is called by the Umpire. Again
byusing a flag and a whistle, the game is started again.
- The first chukker will end a the ten minute bell/bugle.
- Second chukker -- at the end of 10 minutes play the bell/bugle
shall signify the end of the normal chukker -- play stops.
- THE LEAGUE:
WIN = 2 points, DRAW = 1 point
- 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 four 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.
- Should there be a draw for second and third place then two five-minute
chukkers will be played between the teams to decide who is second and
third. Should there be a draw at the end fo the two five-minute chukkers
then a penalty shoot out between those teams will also be conducted as
with rules spelled out in 17a.
- Should there be a draw for third and fourth place then it is to be decided
by penalty shoot out.
- Should multiple teams draw in any league then penalty shoot-outs will
be taken between each team.
- 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. Once decided the first two teams from each League play
off for the WEPA Championship. THe remaining teams play off for the Amateur
- W.E.P.A. FINALS:
The top two teams from each league go through to W.E.P.A. Championship Finals.
- If the score is a draw at the end of both chukkers, 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.
- 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.
- CHIVAS REGAL - QUACHE FOR AMATEUR TROPHY:
- The "Amateu" teams comprises of the teams not reaching the
semi-finals of the two leagues. The Amateur teams must not include professional
or experienced elephant mahouts or players, nor experienced horse polo
- At the beginning of each tournament the Committee of the WEPA members
present will decide which players are considered to be professional or
experienced with elephants, or experienced horse polo players and therefore
to be dropped.
- Those dropped must be substituted by a non experienced horse or elephant
- If a team that did not reach the WEPA Championships consists of all
professional or experienced elephant mahouts or players or experienced
horse polo players then the entire team must drop out. The other three
teams then play off to decide the winner of the Amateur League.
- Should a "professional" team need to drop out then, in order
that the team can still play maximum games, exhibition or visitor team
challenges will be arranged.
- INJURY OR SICKNESS:
In 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.
The W.E.P.A. Committee, members and Captain shall meet at the beginning of
each championship to decide each team's handicap. Their decision shall be
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