WFTDA Releases February 15, 2017 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, 2015. This is the ninth edition of the rules that the WFTDA has developed and published under the leadership of the WFTDA Rules Committee comprised of WFTDA and Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA) members, and with participation and approval by WFTDA and MRDA member leagues. Today’s initial release is in English only.

The WFTDA is excited to release the rules on a new microsite: This mobile-friendly site was developed by the WFTDA Tech team and designed by Blase Design. It has been built to hold the latest updates and most complete information on The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby, with a text-based design for fast updates, a simple navigation menu, and the flexibility for multiple languages. In the future, it will also house all rules-related policies. If you encounter any errors with the site while using it, please report here.

Later this month, the WFTDA Rules committee will be launching a new version of to collect feedback about the rules and associated documents from Skaters, Officials, coaches, and other interested parties. The committee will also work closely with WFTDA Officiating Education and Skater Training to create education initiatives that will support Skater and Officials’ learning of the new rules and officiating systems.

This new release introduces a significant change in the delivery of the information and contains notable changes to gameplay. In addition, many items have been moved out of the rules and into the applicable officiating standards and WFTDA policy documents.

Translated and e-publication versions of The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby as well as a new Officiating Guide and updated WFTDA policy documents will also be released with a February 1, 2017 target date.

Leagues may immediately begin adopting the new rules. All WFTDA- and MRDA-sanctioned play will be required to use the new rules by February 15, 2017.

Please read through this latest news for all the information on the changes to the format of the rules, changes to gameplay, changes to policy and standards, and for links to any additional resources.

Format of Rules:

The February 15, 2017 version of The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby will introduce a new format, with the rules presented via two separate documents: the actual Rule Set (The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby Rule Set) and an accompanying Casebook (The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby Casebook), which complements the Rule Set and presents detailed scenarios and guidance for Skaters and Officials. The Casebook is easily updatable so the WFTDA Rules Committee can add further guidance and scenarios as needed, without requiring an update to the rules document.

With this new format, the Rule Set will be broken up by principle (what makes something illegal) and impact rather than action. Penalty determination is therefore based on principle and an impact-based distinction. This concept is carried through into the Casebook, demonstrated by specific scenarios that are to be followed explicitly. These scenarios are also used as a guide for illegal actions that do not fall cleanly into any specific scenario, based again on the principle and assessment of impact relative to the outlined cases.

It is the intent that this modified format will aid in comprehension, support both current and ever-changing game play, and minimize exploitation of loopholes. Questions and concerns can be sent to or sent via email to

Changes to Gameplay and Game Structure:

This edition introduces some notable changes to gameplay and game structure, reviewed and developed by the WFTDA Rules Committee with input and guidance from WFTDA and MRDA member leagues, including:

  • Modifying the threshold for a Cutting the Track penalty (previously Rule 5.11) to allow a Skater to immediately yield position in order to avoid a penalty
  • Updating the metric for penalty assessment for low blocks/tripping (previously rule 5.3) and use of illegal blocking zones (previously rule 5.4) to be consistent with other metrics for impact
  • Updating rules related to helmet covers to clarify that covers cannot be hidden and that a helmet cover removed due to game play is not a loss of Lead Jammer status
  • Modifying Penalty Box rules as follows: (1) allow for entry to the box in any direction; (2) removal of a penalty for leaving the box after completion of penalty time without instruction to do so; (3) allow for teammates and support staff to enter the box so long as they do not fully enter

For a list of changes to gameplay and game structure, see Changes to Gameplay and Changes to Game Structure.

Changes to Policy and Standards:

Many procedures and WFTDA policy items have been moved out of the rules and into the applicable officiating standards and WFTDA policy documents. The WFTDA will release updates to the following documents with a target date of February 1, 2017:

Until this release, guidance for these issues can be found under the current documents, now located at, and in the 2015 version of The Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby (all previous editions can be found at

For an outline of major policy items moved to other documents, see Items Moved to WFTDA Policy and Officiating Documents.

Visit to see the new format of both the Rules and the Casebook.

Important Links:

*NEW* Dec 20: Errata and new pages on

Changes to Gameplay

Changes to Game Structure

Items Moved to WFTDA Policy and Officiating Documents

Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby Archive