You Make the Call!
Here’s the Scenario:
In a non-officiated pickleball match, (and from the other side of the net) you notice your opponent has their foot on the NVZ Line during execution of the volley. You call them on the fault. Both opponents disagree. What’s the call?
Who Has the Authority to Call Faults on the Opponents?
This is a scenario that frequently sparks confusion about who has the authority to call faults on whom in non-officiated, sanctioned play. Can your opponents call you (and it be subsequently enforced) for non-volley zone infractions? What about service foot faults? Double bounces? Illegal serves? Illegal contact above the wrist? Distractions? What does your opponent across the net have the authority to call and enforce if there is disagreement?
Opponents (in 2019, no longer in 2020) have the Authority to Call and Enforce 2 Infractions without “Agreement” from the “Offending” Team
Rule #13.D.1.b in the 2019 Official Tournament Rulebook specifies the only two “infractions” that are enforceable by one team only — NVZ infractions and service foot faults. So, in this hypothetical scenario, because the call was made on a NVZ infraction, you can, indeed, make the call and enforce the fault — even if both of your opponents “swear” that their foot was not on the kitchen line. Note: This rule was changed in 2020. See below.
For all other calls (including double bounces, illegal serves, illegal contact, distractions, etc.), at least one of the players from the “offending” team must “admit” the fault. If both players from the “offending” team deny the infraction, the fault from the [supposed] infraction is not enforceable.
Shown below is an excerpt from the 2019 Official Tournament Rulebook.
2019 International Federation of Pickleball — Official Tournament Rulebook
Rule #13.D. Player Line Call Responsibilities:
Rule #13.D.1. Non-Officiated Sanctioned Play.
Rule #13.D.1.b. Players may call the NVZ faults and service foot faults on the opponent’s side of the court.
2020 Rule Change
According to the 2020 Rules Change Document, Rule #13.D.1.b. now reads, “Players may call NVZ faults and service foot faults on the opponent’s side of the court. If there is any disagreement among players about the called fault, a replay shall occur.”
Reason: This rule was changed to allow a replay if the opponents disagree with an NVZ or Service Foot Fault called by their opponents.
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