Rules from May 1st 2001
by William Winter February 2002

The new rules published by the WSF and later by the SRA include a list of all the changes made from the previous rules.  In addition they include in the preface an abbreviated version of the rules. People are urged to read the abbreviated version and if there is greater interest to attend a Rules and Refereeing lecture organised by England Squash or their County association.

The important changes made last May were:-


a) The need to make every effort to reach the ball has been reinforced by going back to the old wording which included the words “and play”  -  players must make every effort to reach and play the ball.

b) It is now written in that minimal interference is not grounds for a let.

c) Previous rules only actually stated that a stroke should be awarded if either the opponent was not making every effort to clear or if a winner was prevented. In practice referees and players have all accepted that for major interference even though every effort to clear was being made and even though a clear winner has not been prevented then a stroke is the correct decision.  This has now been written into the rules, but to prevent ‘cheap’ strokes and ‘stroke hunting’ the wording states that a stroke is the correct decision if the striker’s reasonable swing is prevented. Impeding the swing but not preventing it should only be a let.


a) Unnecessary turning (extremely rare in practice) does not give grounds for a let.

b) If the striker does turn and play the ball and hits the opponent with the ball then for safety reasons a stroke is now awarded against the striker.

c) If after turning the striker withholds the shot then the rules have not changed and provided the striker could have played the ball the decision will always be a let.

d) Because the non-striker will be awarded a stroke if hit by the ball after the striker has turned, it would be possible to think that the non-striker might deliberately try to get in the path of the ball. To allow for this the rules now say that in this situation a stroke will be awarded to the striker (although having turned).

Illness and Injury

These rules have been combined and simplified.  There are no substantive changes except to decisions after a recurrence of bleeding or injury. This used to be very complex and varied depending how the injury was caused. Now if it is a recurrence in all cases no time is allowed at all except that the player can concede the current game to take the 90 second interval and then play on (but only one game can be conceded in a match).

Players’ Responsibilities

These have now been defined in Rule 15. 

These are the main effective changes. All other changes are a matter of tidying up and improving understanding. 

William Winter (Senior Referee)
February 2002