Strange rules and curiosities of the world of sport

Publicado por LabHipermedia en

Sports fans, among whom we are included in LabHipermedia, we think that we know all the rules of our favourites, but the sports world is very wide and full of them. We know how the basic rules of our favourite competition are applied, as they are the ones that dictate the game, but there are others that we do not know, as they tend to be unusual occasions or circumstances that occur infrequently. We have compiled seven rules and cases that we are not used to seeing in competitions, either because the rules have been changing over time, others because we have been able to see them and we do not deeply know the protocol while some seem to us practically impossible, but in the world of sport you never know what can happen.

Own goal disallowed (Football)

We are sure that most of us know the concept of an own goal, when a team ends up putting the ball in their own goal line, but there are cases in which, if this happens, the goal would be cancelled. If, in a free throw, the ball ends up in the goal line of his own goal and no one touches the ball, that goal will be annulled. This rule is contained in the Rules of the Game drawn up by the IFAB, concretely rule 13 which is referred to free throws. This rule also applies to corner kicks, although it is practically impossible that when taking a corner kick the ball ends in the own door of the team that has launched it.


For example, if the shot was passed to the goalkeeper and the goalkeeper did not hit the ball and ended in his goal, the goal would not raise to the score. Instead, a corner would be awarded for the rival team.

This happened in the group three of the Spanish Second Division B in a match where Atletico Levante faced Badalona. After a favourable foul against Atletico Levante, a player put the ball into play by making a pass towards the goalkeeper. He does not touch the ball and it ends up inside the goal, but the referee allowed the goal. As we have seen, it is not the correct protocol to follow according to the rules, so the goal had to be disallowed and the referee had to award a corner kick to the rival team.

From goal line to goal line (Football)

In Spain, we have a common phrase that many of us have heard during a match at school or in a park. We can translate it as «from goal line to goal line, dirty mess». The truth is that if the goalkeeper scores a goal in the opposite goal with his hands, it would be disallowed, granting a goal kick to the opposing team. On the other hand, if this goal is made by the goalkeeper with the foot, it would be a legal goal and it would go up to the score. Another peculiarity is that you can’t indicate outside after a goal kick. It is considered a similar case to the throw-in, so the striker can wait for the ball behind the second-to-last defender and this will not be considered as an illegal situation.

Breaking boards (Basketball)

Throughout the history of the NBA we have seen players like Shaquille O’Neal or Darryl Dawkins break the board during a game. This act is not only perceived as an unsporting behaviour in which a technical fault will be awarded, but an economic sanction can also be added for the damages caused to the board. Breaking a board was a way to gain time before, but now the boards have been reinforced so it’s harder to see a player dunking while the splinters fall onto the parquet floor.

Darryl Dawkins, known like Chocolate Thunder or The Gorilla, is considered the first NBA board-breaker: in three weeks he broke two, the first in Kansas City and the second at the Wachovia Spectrum in Philadelphia. Darryl said he knew how to break the glass behind the hoop when it came to perform his famous dunks; in fact, it is rumoured that he forced the search and creation of more resistant and modern hoops.

Hit the ball twice (Tennis)

Occasionally, tennis players accidentally or unintentionally hit the ball twice, which happens when they hit first with the strings and then with the frame. This type of action was prohibited regardless of intentionality when performing the two blows until the 1970s. Currently, the rule of tennis 24 f, taken from the regulation of the International Tennis Federation, states that the player loses the point if he deliberately stops or retains the ball in play or deliberately touches it with his racket more than once intentionally. Otherwise, if this were done by accident, nothing would happen and the match would continue as normal.


Loss of caps (Tennis)

The tennis player must wear all the clothes in place at the beginning of a point and at its end; that is, he must wear the same clothes at the beginning and the end of the point including caps, visors or other complements. In the event that the player loses the cap during the point, it shall be repeated.  This case occurred in a 2012 United States Open match between Andy Murray and Thomas Berdych, where the Scotsman lost his cap due to the wind, a fact that did not prevent him from winning the tournament.

It can also be the case that the player, in the middle of the point, drops the ball out of the pocket. The same law applies as with the cap. This can only happen once since the first time is considered to be an involuntary act, but in the following times it leads to the loss of the point. If it happens often, perhaps the best thing for the player is to change the brand of pants…

Spitting on the ball (Baseball)

Pitchers are always looking for an advantage when it comes to taking the ball out. Formerly, a popular way was to add saliva on the ball, but this was banned as it was discovered to create a movement that complicated the contact of the batter with the ball. To this prohibition is added the prohibition to clean the sweat or any other substance with the ball before the launch, or to approach the fingers to the mouth since it would be sanctioned with a bad ball.

In short, any adulteration that hinders the batter will be penalized. According to the Real Federacion Española de Baseball y Sofbol, it is considered a prohibited pitch, listed in article 6.02 that corresponds to the illegal actions of the pitcher.

Take off your shirt (Athletics)

Taking your shirt off during an athletics event causes an immediate disqualification. This was proved by French athlete Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad in personal. After winning the 3,000-meter obstacle final at the 2014 European Championship, the Spanish delegation claimed that the Frenchman had taken his shirt off 100 metres away from the finish. This event was considered as a lack of professionalism and little respect for the other participating athletes based on article 143.1 of the International Association of Athletics Federations. Although it is true that the rule does not include disqualification for taking off the shirt, but the use of it in an offensive way. After the disqualification, Yoann Kowal took first place and Mahiedine Mekhisii-Benabbad lost one of the most important victories of his life by performing this act.

The world of sport is full of rules: some are applied regularly while, as we have seen, others are less frequent. Some rules have changed around the evolution of the sport, while others remain unchanged thinking that we will never see that rule applied. But, although some of the rules described may seem unlikely to us, one never knows when will come the time when the most forgotten parts of the rules arised.

Therefore, having platforms like CloudLab is essential. Activities such as videotest trivia, recently introduced in our e-learning system, constitute a unique opportunity to strengthen the theoretical concepts of sport by studying its laws of the game and, in this way, enjoy a fairer game.

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