WFTDA Releases 2019 Update to The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) has released a new version of The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, which is an update to the previous edition published January 1, 2018. The WFTDA has developed and published The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby under the leadership of the WFTDA Rules Committee comprised of WFTDA, Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) and Junior Roller Derby Association (JRDA) members, and with participation and approval by WFTDA and MRDA member leagues. Today’s initial release is in English only.

Leagues may immediately begin adopting the new rules. All WFTDA-sanctioned play will be required to use the new rules by February 1, 2019.

The 2019 release of The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby incorporates the following significant changes, also outlined on the change summary page and full line-by-line change detail PDF (though everyone is encouraged to read the new rules in their entirety as no summary can capture every change).

  • Jammers only score on opposing Blockers (Jammer Lap Points and Not-On-the-Track points for opposing Jammers have been removed).
  • Failed (Illegal) Star Passes from a Jammer to a Pivot are not considered to have sufficient impact to warrant a penalty.
  • Avoidable, forceful contact to an opponent’s back will be penalized regardless of impact on the game.
  • The Head Referee’s discretion to add another Jam to the end of the game has been expanded to include when there is any officiating error in the last Jam that potentially impacts the winner/loser of the game.

In addition, the following changes and clarifications are included:

  • There are additional clarifications on how scoring is impacted by a Star Pass (see C3.1.A and C3.3.J).
  • If a Pivot comes into control of the Jammer helmet cover but does not become the Jammer, they will be warned that they are not the Jammer.
  • If a Blocker illegally recovers the Jammer helmet cover, they may immediately drop it to avoid a penalty.
  • Verbiage from previous versions of the rules describing what is required of skaters during a No Pack or when they are Out of Play has been restored.
  • A Glossary definition of Forceful Contact is added.
  • The definitions of In Bounds and Out of Bounds are aligned to clarify that a Skater’s entire arm does not render the Skater out of bounds.

Additional changes have been made to address grammar, punctuation, capitalization, organization, consistency, and clarity/comprehension.

New Casebook Entries:

  • C2.2.G – Yielding a False Start
  • C2.5.A – Scoring on a penalized Blocker while they are still on the track
  • C3.3.J – Scoring on a former Jammer after a Star Pass
  • C4.1.1.I – New Back Block penalty standard
  • C4.1.1.J – New Back Block penalty standard
  • C4.3.K – Blocking an opponent into a downed Skater
  • C4.4.D – Failure to exit the track for a penalty
  • C4.5.C – When to start timing a penalty for a Fouled Out Skater

Removed Casebook Entries:

  • C3.1.C – Inconsistent definition of lapping a Not on the Track Skater
  • C3.2.A – Jammer Lap Point scoring
  • C3.2.E – Jammer NOTT scoring
  • C3.3.G – Jammer lapping position
  • C3.3.H – Jammer Lap Point scoring

Other documents released with updates to accompany the Rules are:

WFTDA Officiating Cues, Codes, and Signals

WFTDA Officiating Committee has adjusted the penalty codes, verbal cues and hand signals document to work with the 2019 edition of The Rules and to adjust one verbal cue:

  • The Jammer Lap Point is removed and a new “Incomplete Star Pass” warning added.
  • The verbal cue “Pass Interference” has been changed to “Star Pass Interference.”

This and other Officiating documents can be found in the Officiating section.

WFTDA StatsBook

  • Integration of the PLT (Penalty/Lineup Tracker) and THNSO modules into the main StatsBook
  • New LT Penalty Box trip nomenclature that removes the “glyph” from LT/PLT paperwork
    – = Enter the box
    S = Started the Jam in the box or continued service from previous Jam
    | = Completed penalty time, resulting in a “+” or “$”
  • IGRF: Removed italics for optional officiating roles. The officiating roster may be customized to suit the needs of the game/tournament as long as all required roles are filled and required stats are submitted.
  • Penalty Summary: Fixed Illegal Procedure Label for Visiting team.
  • Penalties: Fixed Home team expulsion penalties to include Illegal Contact.
  • Penalty/Lineup Tracker module: Fixed shading to be consistent.
  • Game Summary: Added “Star Passes Received” column for each Skater and modified “Lead %” column to exclude Jams where skater received a Star Pass.
  • Lineups: Modified “Points Against” columns to account for opposing team Star Passes   and fixed number of Skaters included in Jam. Changed the paperwork method for tracking Penalty Box entry/exit in a way that removes the glyph to facilitate paperwork matching data entry.Penalty Box: Updated reference to timing at end of Jam.

These documents in US Letter and A4 formats can be found on the StatsBook page.

WFTDA StatsBook Manual

  • The WFTDA StatsBook Manual was adjusted to accompany the Rules updates.
  • IGRF (Team Rosters): Indicate which skaters are no longer on the roster on printed paperwork by a crossing out a Skater’s name and Number with a clean, bold line.
  • Score (Period Totals): Tallies for the Lost, Lead, Call, INJ, NI columns are optional.
  •  LT:
    • “Teams did not field a full complement of Blockers” should be marked with “n/a”
    • “Trackers were not able to capture all Lineup information” should be marked with “?”
    • Updated guidance on data entry for these cases
  • Penalty Box: There are multiple correct ways to indicate substitution in the penalty box
    • Indicate in margin which skater is being substituted
    • Mark the players “original / substitute” like “123 / 99” when Red 123 earns the penalty and Red 99 serves the penalty
  • IGRF Data Entry: Clarifies how to mark skaters who are no longer skating in the game that will activate conditional formatting that will spot mistakes.

These documents in US Letter and A4 formats can be found on the StatsBook page.

WFTDA Sanctioning Policy

Small updates were made to the document as follows:

  • Changed uniform number policy to clarify punctuation not allowed within charter or uniform numbers.
  • Clarified helmet number requirements.
  • Cleaned up officiating staffing requirements to remove redundancy with other policy documents.

WFTDA Sanctioning Policy Website
WFTDA Sanctioning Policy (PDF)

WFTDA Expulsion and Suspension Policy

  • WFTDA Continental Cups follow the same procedures as WFTDA Playoffs and Championships.

This release will be followed by these additional releases in January 2019:

  • The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby in French, German, Spanish and Chinese.
  • WFTDA Skater Rules Test update to coincide with the Rules changes. This will be in an online version only with accompanying PDF. WFTDA Education will revamp the test to better support the needs of leagues in 2019 via a skater testing guide.
  • The WFTDA Officiating Certification Basic Test will be updated for the Rules changes. Re-testing of those who already passed the test will not be required.
  • Online Officiating Education “Scoring” module.
  • The WFTDA Regulation Track Setup Guide will be re-titled and adjustments made per user feedback.

Feedback for The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby and other documents can be sent to WFTDA committees via the Timeout online database –