Updated Rules of Flat Track Derby Released

March 3, 2014

The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) has released a new version of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, to update the edition published June 2013. This is the seventh edition of rules the WFTDA has developed and published since the organization created the first shared rules for the sport of women’s flat track roller derby in 2005.

The changes, which were approved by WFTDA member leagues, include routine revision and update to include Publications and clarifications since the last publication.  They also reflect a handful of more significant changes to the game, which were beta tested by the roller derby community, reviewed and developed by the WFTDA Rules Committee, and voted on by WFTDA member leagues:

  • Penalty time is reduced to 30 seconds per penalty, in an effort to reduce the impact of penalties (and in particular, power jams) on scores and game outcomes.
  • Direction of Game Play penalties were revised, to bring those penalties in line with the impact spectrum of other contact penalties.
  • The standards for Cutting the Track penalties were tweaked and the Skating Out of Bounds penalty section now includes expanded examples to better describe when actions are penalizable.
  • New language regarding Multi-Player Blocks formalizes the principle that impeding an opponent with an impenetrable wall is illegal. (This does not change the types of actions that may be penalized, but descriptions of such actions were clarified.)
  • Language related to Blocker False Starts has been revised to allow Blockers to yield more simply, without being fully lapped by the pack.
  • Star Passes now delineate a single point of transfer of both helmet cover and position at the point when the jammer releases the Star into the Pivot’s grasp.

Teams may begin playing under the new rules immediately. All sanctioned bouts must be played under the revised rule set starting April 1, 2014.  Accompanying the rules document, WFTDA has published several associated materials for open use by the public, as well use by as member leagues in sanctioned games:

  • Updated Rules Q&As, including a new Cutting the Track Q&A
  • An updated publication of the WFTDA Officiating Hand Signals

In the coming weeks, the WFTDA will also release:

  • Updated WFTDA Officiating Standard Practices  
  • Updated WFTDA Officiating Verbal Cues
  • Current WFTDA Rules Test
  • Paperback, pocket-sized rules handbooks of the new version

WFTDA has worked over the last year to establish standard terminology for translation into other languages, as well as complete preliminary draft translations.  In 2014, the WFTDA will release official versions of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby in French, German and Spanish.

In early April, WFTDA will also release apps for both iOS and Android, which include easy reference to rules content on mobile devices.  Customers who have previously purchased the iOS app will receive a free upgrade to the new content.

The WFTDA Rules Committee will continue to use timeout.wftda.com to collect feedback about the rules from skaters, officials, coaches and other interested parties. Timeout will remain open indefinitely, but the deadline for feedback for the December 1, 2014revision review cycle will be May 1, 2014.

View or download the new rules, read a summary of changes, or download our line-by-line change detail document at Rules Central. The MRDA version can be found at http://www.mensrollerderbyassociation.com.

Real. Strong. Athletic. Revolutionary.