Falling foul of rules and regulations in sport can be very frustrating. The offside rule is one that immediately comes to mind – hasn’t every footballer experienced running clean through on goal only to catch the pesky linesman with his flag up? Or in netball when the dreaded whistle goes and the umpire blows up for footwork.

The most frustrating thing about rules and regulations like these is that you are consciously aware to not commit them, and yet everyone still does! Offside? Hold your run. Footwork? Don’t run with the ball. Rules are vital to sport; no-one likes a goal-hanger or a two-footed challenge.

The majority of regulations then are pretty important and actually make sense. Some rules however, are just so painstakingly ridiculous that you have to wonder why on earth they are even part of the rulebook…

So in an attempt to amuse all sports fans, here are some of the weirdest and most unnecessary rules in sport.



Let’s be honest tennis outfits are cool. I mean who doesn’t enjoy a bit of Raphael Nadal or Maria Sharapova decked in immaculate Nike wear? Even the most heterosexual being can appreciate a fine outfit hugging the impressive athlete bodies of tennis players. No really, can anyone actually beat Nadal’s biceps? Can anyone remember that time when Andy Murray had to replay a point he had just won in the US Open 2012? Yeah me neither, but it happened. Basically in tennis if you start a point wearing a hat, you have to finish the point wearing a hat. Murray, in one of those Murray moments (you know the ones where if you are not Scottish you call him a stupid Scot instead of a stupid Brit) lost his hat while playing a point. He had to replay the point and still won. Yeah I know, big anti-climax.



Ever participated in a sport and been so overcome with joy that you felt an overwhelming need to whip your top off in pure, unadulterated celebration? No? Me neither, but Mehiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was! On the home straight in the European Championships, the French runner decided to bare his bod to the world. A great idea until afterwards his Gold medal was revoked for infringement. So please, refrain from getting naked on the athletics track at the European Championships, ok?


If an incoming batsman is not ready within three-minutes, the batsman can be timed out. Simple enough rule here. The only dilemma lies in whether or not to finish your cuppa and egg and cress sandwich first, or risk being timed out? I think we all know what we would do.

Show Jumping


Equestrian sport has come under a lot of animal-rights scrutiny over the years and so this rule will help put worried equestrian fans at ease. Some people believe that cutting the legs of horses can encourage horses to jump higher therefore show-jumping prohibits the cutting of horses’ legs (try saying that really quickly without making a mistake). My issue with this rule lies in the fact that this actually needs to be stated in the show jumping regulations. Does it not already come under the bracket of be-nice-to-all-living-things? You know, a common decency to not mutilate actual living animals?


Do not kick or hit anyone in the crotch area when playing water polo. Not only will a really scary, strong water-polo player be pretty annoyed at you, but you’ll also be breaking the rules! Simple enough? Oh yeah, and don’t splash water in anyone’s face because that’s illegal too… Right.



Ok so, if the ball becomes lodged in the umpire’s helmet all runners get to advance one base. No, seriously, baseball players are genuinely being rewarded for whacking a ball into the face of an umpire. You couldn’t make it up.

By Tegan Nichols