Please remember that our referees are volunteers, and generally young people, giving up their time to support the league. Referees are an integral part of the game, and Flippa Ball provides a safe opportunity to develop their skills and confidence.
It is never appropriate to approach a referee during a game. If you have feedback or questions, please talk to a league coordinator in the first instance.
The referees shall interpret what they observe to the best of their ability, and their interpretation of the rules shall be obeyed throughout the game.
A team consists of seven (7) players in the water at one time: one (1) goalkeeper and six (6) field players. A team can have up to six (6) substitutes who can be interchanged either after a goal or at any time during play from their corner of the pool, providing that the substituted player has also reached the corner. We recommend 3 substitutes to maximise game time between players.
A game is made up of two (2) halves of eight (8) minutes each, with teams switching ends at half time. The break at half time is approximately two (2) minutes.
To start the game, players line up along their respective goal line. At the referee’s whistle, players may move to the centre line, where the ball will be released. The first offense is granted to the team who takes possession of the ball first. The player taking possession of the ball must swim, not run, from their goal line.
A goal is scored when the entire ball has passed fully over the goal line, between the goal posts and underneath the crossbar. The ball carrier can only shoot when they are in the offensive half of the pool. It is not permissible to score from one’s own half.
To restart play after a goal is scored, players from each team must return to their own half. The ball starts at halfway with a player of the team not having scored the goal. On the referee’s whistle, the ball must first be passed backward to a teammate.
A corner throw (taken from beside the 2m cone) will be awarded if the ball is knocked out of play by a defending goalkeeper, or intentionally by a defending field player.
Minor foul infringements will result in a free throw being awarded. The free throw must be taken from where the foul occurred or an area not closer to the offensive goal of the team awarded the foul. The player taking the free throw cannot shoot a goal after receiving a foul and defenders cannot interfere with the taking of the free throw.
The below infringements will result in a free throw being awarded.
For a field player to contact the ball with 2 hands
For any player to take the ball under the surface of the water
For a player to walk or run with the ball
For a player to hit the ball with a closed fist
For a player to swim on or over an opponent’s legs
For a defensive player to contact an offensive player
For an offensive player to fend away a defensive player
Offside play (see FB 17)
Major foul infringements will result in a free throw awarded to the offensive team and the defending player excluded to his/her team’s corner of the pool for a period of either 20 seconds or when the referee signals the player back into the court of play. Major foul infringements include splashing, sinking, holding and pulling back.
Aggressive play and use of abusive language are prohibited in the game of Flippa Ball and the penalty will be exclusion for the remainder of the game with a substitute entering play on signal from the referee. Aggression is defined as deliberately striking or attempting to strike another player.
Substitutes are to sit on the team bench or designated bench area. Players are not to wear items such as jewellery, goggles, glasses or anything that could cause harm or injury to any player, including themselves.
During the game, coaches must be situated in their team’s corner of the pool and can only move between that corner (up to the 2m cone) and their defensive goal.
Field players can use only one hand to catch, pass, shoot or defend the ball. The goalkeeper may use two hands.
The pool is shallow, allowing players to stand up. Players are permitted to walk along the bottom if they do not have the ball. However, if in possession of the ball, the player must swim or pass.
A player cannot take the ball under the surface of the water. The player whose hand is closest to the ball will be the player deemed to have taken the ball under.
An offensive player will be deemed offside if they enter the offensive 2 metre zone while not in possession of, or following a player in possession of, the ball. If the ball carrier enters the two (2) metre zone, other offensive players are then allowed to enter, so long as they remain behind the line of the ball. A goalkeeper is deemed offside if they enter their team’s offensive half.
When two (2) players simultaneously gain possession of the ball, the referee will signal a neutral throw. One player from each team faces the referee, who will throw the ball between the players, for them to attempt to gain possession by jumping and tapping the ball to another player on their team.
Holding the ball under the elbow, or between the hand and forearm when tackled by a defender, is a minor foul with possession being awarded to the opposing team.
The league coordinator may warn coaches and spectators about abusive behaviour and, if the behaviour continues, request the person to leave the pool facility.