General Rules

Urban Polo is distinguished from other codes of polo by the smaller dimensions of the field, larger ball size (as well as its unique density and material) and the fact it is commonly played in urban and city parks within close proximity of the public.


To protect players as well as the pubic, and to create a code of polo that increases spectator enjoyment, Urban Polo operates under its distinct rules.


(a) The suggested playing area should measure 140m by 60m.

(b) A 10m ‘run-off’ zone is recommended at either end of the field behind the goals, and a 7m ‘safety’ zone beside the side-boards.

(c) Surface of the playing field can be grass or dirt.

(d) Sideboards should be used, and have a height of 22cm.


(a) Goal posts should be 5m apart.

(b) Goal posts should be padded for their entire length, ideally using 2 inches of plastic foam encased in a leather tube.


(a) The ball shall have an approximate diameter of 9.5cm and a circumference of 31cm, and be made of composite foam/plastic sufficiently soft and light not to cause injury to members of the public, but with sufficient density to maintain true flight.

(b) Traditional Hurlingham Rules polo mallets can be used. Alternative mallets can only be used with UPA’s permission for an event to be sanctioned.


(a) There shall be a team captain for each team, who shall assign the positions and direct the plays of his teammates. He shall have the sole right to discuss with the Referee questions arising during the game, and to enter protests with the Referee when a player claims a foul. Other players shall testify only when requested by the Referee, and in the event of a protest further than that made by the Captain, after due warning by the Referee, the player who protests may be issued a yellow card.

(b) If the display continues, the referee may issue a red card, and in the most severe cases, the player may be ordered off of the playing area, at the sole discretion of the Referee.


(a) The hosting club (or event organizer, whichever applicable) shall provide a timer; a scorekeeper; two flaggers (one for each goal); and either one or two umpires and/or a Referee.

(b) At the club’s or event organizer’s discretion, the host club or event organizer may choose to provide a mounted umpire, but will still be required to provide a Referee on the sidelines to afford two officials for the game.


(a) There shall be four (4) players on each team, numbered consecutively starting with No.1, and substitutes. Variants of the game may, however, be played with three aside.

(b) If a player withdraws due to injury following the start of the game, the team will be allowed to continue play with less players in the absence of a replacement.

(c) When a player is replaced by a substitute he cannot return to the game in the same chukker, except to take the place of another player, where other substitute is available.

(d) A substitute entering a game “in play” shall be of the same or lesser handicap of the player he is relieving, but must assume the handicap of the replaced player if his handicap is lower.

(e) A disabled or disqualified player may return to the game any time during the game after the completion of the chukker from which he has been disabled or disqualified.


Only players and the Umpire shall be allowed in the field during the progress of the game. All gates, entrances and exits must be closed while the game is in progress and appropriate security at the goal ends to prevent public from straying onto the field.


(a) The choice of ends shall be determined by agreement between the two captains or the toss of a coin.

(b) Direction of play shall remain the same until half time, whereupon teams swap direction.


(a) The Referee shall instruct the Timer to give the signal for the commencement of the game. The Referee shall then throw in the ball between the contestants on the ground, who shall be lined up in parallel lines, each player on his own side of the center line behind a cross line and at least three (3) feet apart with mallets down.

(b) In case the ball is driven outside the field while the game is in progress, time shall be called until time can be resumed, when the Referee shall throw in the ball between the contestants who shall be on his own side at least three (3) feet apart and lined up as at start of game, from a point nearest to spot where ball was hit out of bounds.


(a) Following the scoring of a goal, the ball will
be put into play by the Referee from the center line.

(b) When the ball crossed an end line (in the case of an arena with open goals and goal posts) it is out of bounds, and the side defending the goal at that end is entitled to a knock-in, the ball being placed on the line at the point where it crossed, but in no case nearer to the goal post or the side walls than five (5) meters.

(c) The entire ball must be over and clear of the line to be out.

(d) When the player having the knock-in causes delay the Umpire shall throw a ball on the field and call play. No opponent shall come within 5 meters of the ball when placed for a knock-in until the same has been hit by a mallet or thrown in by the Umpire As soon as the ball has been knocked in by a mallet or thrown in by the Umpire, it is in play and subject to the rules of play.

(e) A goal cannot be scored on a knock-in. On the chance that a knock-in carries through the goal posts (untouched by another player), the play will result in a throw-in at midfield.


(a) Play will consist of four (4) consecutive periods of seven (7) minutes each, with three (3) minute intervals between first and second-third and fourth periods, and a twenty (20) minute interval between the second and third periods (half time).

(b) When a game is stopped for causes provided in Rules 20 and 21, the Referee shall declare “time out” and the Timer will stop the clock.

(c) The Referee shall call time upon notification by the timekeeper of the expiration of a chukker. Play shall stop in the last chukker on the Referee’s whistle.


(a) In the event of a tie at the end of the last chukker, a penalty shoot-out shall ensue. Players from each team shall alternate to hit the ball at a distance of 30m from goals. The team to miss twice first loses.

(b) If all 4 players from each team hit goals, then the process starts again. The Captain of each team shall decide the order in which his players hit the ball.


(a) In the event of the game being stopped for any cause, which prevents the completion, it shall be resumed at the point where it stopped, both as to score and position of the ball, at the earliest convenient time, unless otherwise settled by agreement between the two captains, and reported to the field Referee.

(b) If a game cannot be resumed, the team that scored the most goals is the winner.


(a) A goal counts one point.

(b) A goal made as the direct or indirect result of a foul does not count.

(c) The ball must pass between the goal posts or goal lines of the goal posts, or hit the wall inside the goal (in the case of a fixed goal) to count as a goal.


The team with the most goals (points) wins the game.


(a) The Referee shall declare any violations of Rules 18, 19, 20 and 21 as a foul, when seen by him, without waiting to have it claimed; or, when not seen by him, upon evidence satisfactory to him.

(b) When a foul is called by the Referee, the game clock is stopped, and will not begin again until the ensuing penalty is extracted.

(c) In case a player is disabled by a foul so that he is unable to continue, the side which has been fouled shall have the option of providing a substitute, if more than one substitute is needed and not available, a man may be removed from the opposing team, thereby equalizing the number of players on each team, or the game may be stopped by the Referee and awarded as score stands after foul had been deducted.

(d) A player who persists in fouling may be put out of the game at the discretion of the Referee.


(a) The confirmation of penalties may be afforded at the discretion of the Umpire(s)/Referee in direct proportion to the severity of the foul, its location or its effect on the game. When a fouled is observed by the Umpire(s)/Referee, he may or may not stop the game according to his judgment as to the advantage gained or lost by the foul.

(b) Penalty 1-The team fouled shall be awarded a goal. On the resumption of play, the fouled team shall be awarded a Free Hit from the center of the ground. No opponent shall be within 5m of the player making the hit. Play shall continue in the event that no goal is scored on the free hit.

(c) Penalty 2- A Free Hit at the ball by a member of the team fouled, from a spot 15m in front of the center of the goal. No opponent shall be within 5m of the player making the hit. Members of the fouled team must be behind the hitter. (In the case of a closed goal, all players must line up behind the hitter. In the case of an arena created with goal posts and a run-off zone, all members of the fouling team must line up behind the goal line). Play will continue in the event no goal is scored on the Free Hit.

(d) Penalty 3- A Free Hit at the ball by a member of the team fouled, from the “spot” of the foul. No opponent shall be within 5m of the player making the hit. Play continues once the ball has been hit or hit at.

(e) Penalty 4- A Free Hit at the ball by a member of the team fouled from the center of the ground at midfield. No opponent shall be within 5m of the player making the hit. Play continues once the ball has been hit or hit at.


(a) Careless or dangerous horsemanship or lack of consideration for the safety of others is a foul. The following are examples of riding prohibited under this rule:

(i) Bumping at an angle dangerous to a player or to his mount;

(ii) Pulling up in front of or across a player or to his mount;

(iii) Zigzagging in front of another player riding at a gallop;

(iv) Stopping on the ball;

(v) Hitting the ball directly over the sideboards or wall towards the public.


(a) The right of way is given to the player who has last hit the ball or to the player who has entered safely on the line of the ball between it and the last hitter, or (as against players not in possession of the ball) to the player who is following nearer than any other player the line of direction of the ball where last hit.

(b) When following a ball down the side-boards or wall, the player who has last hit the ball has the right of way over a player or players coming from an opposite direction.

(c) A player shall not cross the player having the right of way except at an unquestionably safe distance; nor shall he pull up in front of the latter, but must make it possible for the rider following to continue without interfering with his play, nor shall he pull up across the latter under any consideration whatsoever.


Whenever two players are riding in opposite directions to a ball in open play, each shall approach the ball on his right side.


(a) A player shall not appear in the arena during the progress of a game unless attired in his club colors, helmet or cap.

(b) A player shall not strike his own mount with a mallet, or use sharp spurs with rowels.

(c) A player must not pull up or stop on or near the ball when it is in play.

(d) A player must not strike an adversary or his mount with the hands or mallet, or strike the ball when dismounted.

(e) A third player may not enter a melee between two opposing players when the ball is caught between them. All other players must remain at least two horse lengths away while the two opposing players battle for control of the ball. A foul will be called on the team of the third player entering the fracas.

(f) Each team must ensure that one of their players remains in their half at all time. If all players vacate their half at any point, that team is offside, which will attract a foul.

(g) A player shall not hook his adversary’s mallet unless he is on the same side of the adversary’s mount as the ball, or in direct line behind, and his mallet is neither over nor under the adversary’s mount. The mallet may not be hooked unless his adversary is in the act of striking the ball.

(h) A player shall not put his mallet over or under his adversary’s mount, either in front or behind, or across the mount’s forelegs for the purpose of striking the ball.

(i) A player shall not seize with the hand, strike or push with the head, hand, arm or elbow, but a player may push with his shoulder, provided the elbow is kept close to his side.

(j) A player requiring a mallet, mount or assistance from an outside person during the game, shall ride to the gate or behind the end lines to procure it. No person shall come upon the field to assist him.

(k) A player shall not hold the ball in his hand, arm, or lap; nor shall he kick or hit the ball with any part of his person. He may, however, block the ball with any part of his person or with his mount.

(l) The Umpire shall exclude from the game any blind, dangerous or vicious mount.

(m) The Umpire shall stop the game in the event of a player losing his helmet, time being taken out.


(a) The Umpire may impose a penalty and/or a fine on any of the players of the team who are not on the field ready to play at the time announced for the game to begin, unless notification of absence is given to the team captain in advance and a substitute has been provided.

(b) The Umpire may also impose a penalty on any team or member of a team for any misconduct or violation of the rules during the progress of the game.


(a) Penalty 4- A Free Hit at the ball by a member of the team fouled from the center of the ground at midfield.No opponent shall be within 5m of the player making the hit.Play continues once the ball has been hit or hit at.

(b) In case of an accident to a player or to a mount, or to a mount’s gear, which in the opinion of the Umpire involves danger to a player, he shall stop the game.It shall not be stopped for a broken or lost mallet, stirrup leather, curb chain, or martingale (unless liable to trip a mount).


When a ball bursts or trodden into the sand in a manner to be unserviceable, in the opinion of the Umpire, or when it strikes the Umpire or his mount (if the Umpire is mounted) so as, in his opinion, to affect the game seriously, he shall stop the game and substitute another ball by throwing it toward the middle of the field between the players at the point where the event occurred.


In all cases, the play is not suspended until the Umpire’s whistle blows, but the game shall be considered stopped at the time the event occurred. The ball, when placed again in play, shall be thrown by the Umpire towards the middle of the field at the point at which the ball was when the event occasioning the suspension of the game occurred.