International Table Hockey Federation

Tournament Rules


Changed 2007-02-19


This is the official document for all International Table Hockey Federation (ITHF) sanctioned tournaments. If a tournament differs in any way from these written guidelines tournament organizers are responsible for notifying the ITHF and all the tournament participants. If notification is not made, all ITHF competition guidelines must be met or the ITHF reserves the right to disqualify the tournament from the list of sanctioned tournaments.




  1. ITHF Tournaments

1.1              Requests for tournaments

1.2              Season schedule


  1. Rules for tournaments

2.1              General rules

2.2              Committee of referees

2.3              Playing system

2.4              World tour

2.5              International championship

2.6              Other tournaments


  1. Rules for organizers

3.1              Introduction

3.2              Tournament hall

3.3              Games

3.4              During the tournament

3.5              After the tournament


  1. Rules for participants

4.1              Where to play

4.2              Writing results

4.3              Play-off

4.4              Making a complaint to the committee of referees

4.5              Leaving before the end

4.6              Exclusion from the tournament


  1. Conclusion



1. ITHF Tournaments

One of the basic tasks of the ITHF is to increase its player base and international awareness of the sport of table hockey. Therefore, the ITHF is the governing body for the largest Stiga tournaments in the world.


The official table hockey rules must be kept during all tournaments sanctioned by the ITHF.

1.1 Requests for tournaments

Organizers (national associations, clubs or individuals) can ask the Executive Committee of the ITHF (EC) to sanction their tournament. It must be done in advance of request deadlines announced by the EC (typically March). Requests must be sent by email (or by mail) to the EC (or to the seat of the ITHF). Organizers requesting tournament dates must submit a written request indicating the requested dates, location of the tournament and the names of the tournament organizers. In addition, requests must also indicate any variations to these written guidelines and tournament rules that the organizers are proposing to use at the tournament.


If a tournament in any country is not organized by its national association, then the request sent to the ITHF must first be reviewed and approved by the National association thus guaranteeing that the tournament will follow all ITHF guidelines and rules.


Organizers of international championships such as The European Championships and World Championships are recommended to the EC by vote of the Delegate Conference. Organizers of the following year’s championship should be selected during the present years championship. Requests for organizing any international championship must be sent to the EC at least one month before the voting delegate conference.

1.2 Season schedule

Scheduling of each season’s tournaments is done by the EC before the start of each season (usually before the end of previous season). If there is any international championship during the season, then it must be scheduled as the final ITHF tournament of the season.


All national associations - members of the ITHF must respect ITHF schedules and schedule their national tournaments on alternate dates. If they find that some date conflicts exist then they must ask the ITHF for an exception. Exceptions will be granted by the ITHF especially when conflicts with any other WTHT tournament dates exist (i.e. not the Big Six Tournaments). If an ITHF tournament date is changed after it is announced, national associations with previously scheduled tournament dates that conflict will not be expected to change their dates.


2. Rules for tournaments

Tournament rules and guidelines can be proposed by the organizers. However all proposed changes between this document and tournament rules must be announced to the ITHF when requests for tournament are submitted. Any additional change required by the organizers must be approved in writing by the ITHF before the tournament. Organizers must insure that all tournament participants know the entire tournament rules before they register for the tournament.


2.1 General rules

All official ITHF table hockey rules and regulations must be used at the tournament.


Playing classes

Each tournament may hold several different competitions for the following classes:


Organizers can arrange any other classes of players and announce the rules for such classes before the tournament registration period.


Organizers can decide that all classes except the open class will be open only for domestic players. Open class cannot be restricted by any condition.



Participants of the individual tournament have to be seeded by the world ranking of the open category which can be found at the web page Organizers must use current (at most seven days old version since the day the tournament is held) world rankings for seeding of all players. In a special case, when some player is expected to be much better than his/her ranking shows, the organizers can estimate his/her rank without respect to the players real ranking.


If only a few foreign (less then 10) players come to the tournament then national seeding rankings can be used for those players. Foreign players will be seeded in accordance with their rank at the world ranking and their national ranking.


Seeding of teams to the team competition should be done by using the world ranking of the three best members of each team.



All participants of the individual tournaments must be distributed to the basic groups with respect to their seeding. Each group should be of the same quality with respect to the seeding of the players, thus insuring that each group is equal in competitive strength to all other groups.


Organizers can select the way participants will be distributed into the basic groups. It can be done randomly by drawing from lots or by using seeding system (e.g. if there are four basic groups then players seeded like number 1, 8 and 9 will play in basic group A etc.). Unseeded players should be distributed to the groups randomly.


Each basic group should have the same number of participants, if possible.


If there is another group stage (or even stages) then distribution into this stage will be made in accordance with the playing system of the tournament and the results from the previous stage of the competition. Mutual matches of players promoting from the same groups to the same final (or next stage) group can be counted into the final (next stage) group, if it was written in the playing system of the tournament.


If there are more than eight participants in the team competition they shall be distributed according to their seeding into at least two divisions. Before the competition there could be a qualifying round for some teams to decide in which division the team shall play. One basic group can be played if there are eight or less team participants.

Points System

For determining final standings for each round, two (2) points will be given for wins and one (1) point for draws.


The organizers can decide to give three (3) points for wins. The organizers must announce using three points for wins to all participants and to the ITHF in advance at the time of opening registration for the tournament.


Placement of players in particular groups will be decided by using the following criteria (in order as it is written):

1)     overall number of points,

2)     number of points from mutual matches of players with the same number of points,

3)     goal difference (number of goals for minus number of goals against) from mutual matches,

4)     number of goals for from mutual matches,

5)     overall goal difference (number of goals for minus number of goals against),

6)     overall number of goals for,

7)     overall number of wins,

8)     an extra overtime match finishing with 1st goal.


If a player has a default lost with one of the members of a group of players who have the same number of points, than to decide the ranks in this group, this player's default result is not counted, as well as his/her results with any other members of this group.


Time schedule of the tournament

Tournament competition cannot start earlier than at 8:00 and must end before 22:30. There should be a lunch break for all participants of at least one hour in duration.

2.2 Committee of referees

Organizers of each tournament must form a committee of referees (committee). The head referee shall be a person from the organizing committee who can answer questions about the tournament and clarify and enforce all ITHF rules and guidelines. The committee of referees is responsible for running a successful and enjoyable tournament.


At least one member of the committee must be fluent in the English language.


The committee must always have three (3) members:

All members of the committee are selected by the organizers of the tournament.


If there is no member of the TC in the tournament then his/her position in the committee can be taken by any representative of the ITHF. If there is no representative of the ITHF present in the tournament then any foreign player selected by the organizers can take the third position in the committee. If there are no foreign players in the tournament then the board of the local association has to select the third member of the committee.


If any member of the committee or any member of the TC of the ITHF present at the tournament finds some conflict with ITHF rules of competition before the tournament starts, he must report it to tournament organizers immediately. Organizers must correct it before tournament starts and insure that there are not critical delays in the tournament.


The committee must resolve any disputes as soon as possible. Committees can ask the organizers to delay the tournament if any disputed results can potentially affect tournament results.


When solving any disputes, the whole committee must hear each player involved in the dispute.


Each member of the committee has one vote. Each dispute resolution must be made in consultation with the entire committee.


If any member of the committee is involved in the dispute then he must be replaced by a substitute when the committee is resolving this dispute. The substitute must be selected by the organizers in accordance with all rules for selecting committees of referees.


The committee must announce the final decision to both sides of the dispute.


The committee of referees must select a person if a player or both opponents ask for a referee to watch their play-off matches. It must be ensured that both opponents will understand the referee. An interpreter may be used. The referee does not need to be a member of the tournament’s committee of referees.

2.3 Playing system

The playing system used at a tournament must be announced before the end of the registration period. The playing system used at ITHF tournaments may vary, but the following guidelines are mandatory for every tournament:

-         Each participant must have an equal chance to win the tournament.

-         The playing schedule must be designed such that matches are scheduled randomly, thus ensuring that no single player shall play against the top seeded players in their basic group in succession.

-         The top 16 players must compete in best of seven matches during the final playoffs. All other playoff groups may play best of 5 or best of three at the tournament organizers discretion. If a tournament is late, organizers may have the option of making first round playoff matches 3 out of 5.

-         Re-seeding during playoffs is not allowed. Playoff brackets must be defined prior to the start of all playoffs and be maintained throughout.


Bronze medal matches do not have to be held and the bronze medal can be either shared or decided with respect to the standings of the final group.


If any team match ends with a draw during the play-off then no overtimes take place, but a “captain’s match” will be held. If the captain’s match ends in a draw the overtime will be played till scoring a goal. The team that is represented by the captain who wins the captains match will win the whole team match.

2.4 World Table Hockey Tour

The World Table Hockey Tour (WT) is an individual open series of tournaments that runs over one season. Tournaments belonging to the WT are divided in two classes. The biggest and most prestigious are designated the World Table Hockey Tour Big Six Tournament (WTB6). The others are called the World Table Hockey Tour Tournament (WTHT).


Selection of the Big Six Tournaments is done by the Executive Committee of the ITHF.


Participants of each WT tournament get points according to their final rank. There are two options for computing overall number of points for each player:

1)     the best three results for each player from all WT tournaments are counted,

2)     the best two results for each player from all WT tournaments are counted together with number of points which is computed by following formula: the best two results of player from all WT tournaments that are not WTB6 and do not belong between the best two player’s results are added together and multiplied by 0.75; it means that four tournaments can be counted into the overall WT ranking if two WT results are counted as described. This rule can be used just for two WT tournaments for each player in the season.

The best option for each player will be selected automatically in the overall WT ranking, e.g. if a player gets more points using the first option it will be used. But if the result using the second option is better, then the second option will be used.


When multiple players have the same number of ranking points the following tiebreakers are used:

  1. comparing the players' highest points,
  2. comparing the players' points in tournaments that they all have attended,
  3. comparing the numbers of participants in tournaments where the players got their highest points,
  4. comparing the results of all matches between the players during the whole season,
  5. comparing the score from all WT tournaments,
  6. ITHF World Ranking – version valid after the last WT tournament of the season.


Point system of the WT tournaments


WTB6 points system

WTHT point system


150 p

75 p


140 p

70 p


130 p

65 p


125 p

63 p


120 p

60 p


118 p

59 p


116 p

58 p


114 p

57 p


110 p

54 p


108 p

53 p


106 p

52 p


104 p

51 p


102 p

50 p


100 p

49 p


98 p

48 p


96 p

47 p


92 p

44 p


90 p

43 p


88 p

42 p


86 p

41 p


84 p

40 p


82 p

39 p


80 p

38 p


78 p

37 p

In placements 25 to 100 for WTB6 tournaments points will descend by one from 76 to 1. In placement 25 to 60 for WTHT tournaments points will descend by one from 36 to 1.

2.5 International championship

Each international championship shall be held at most every two years. Players may only represent countries for which they possess a valid passport.


The World Championship is open for representatives of each country. Maximum numbers of representatives from each country are shown in the following table. Numbers of participants from organizing countries are stated in the brackets.

Open category

8 (12)

Ladies category

3 (4)

Juniors category

3 (4)

Veteran category

3 (4)


At the European championship only the European citizens (i.e. holders of passports of a European country) can participate. Numbers of participants are stated in the following table. Numbers of participants from the organizing country are stated in the brackets.


Open category

10 (14)

Ladies category

4 (5)

Juniors category

4 (5)

Veteran category

4 (5)


The best 10 players from the overall World Table Hockey Tour ranking will get a direct nomination for the international championship held in the same season. Up to 3 players from one nation can get this direct nomination. Direct nomination is not transferable to any player below 10th position at the WT ranking. The European Championship is conditioned by owning a valid passport from a European country.


Defending champions in each category can participate (the only exception is the juniors category, where defending champions can participate only if he/she fulfils the age requirement). If the defending champion of the open category is placed among the best 10 players in the overall World Table Hockey Tour ranking then the 11th player from the WTHT table can get the direct nomination to the international championship – if the condition from the previous paragraph is fulfilled (the defending champion is excluded also from the rule describing the maximum count of players from one nation getting the direct nomination).


The organizers of the international championships have to prepare schedule for the group stages of all competition classes in a way that players from the same nation meets during first rounds of the group. This rule must be kept as much as possible.


The Executive Committee of the ITHF reserves the right to award special exemptions for entry to special guests at the World and the European Championships in any class except the team competition.


Only one national team can represent each country in the team competition and in the ladies team competition. The EC of the ITHF can allow participation of a team international in the team competition. But none of members of the Team International can be representatives of a country that is participating in the team competition.


Each team must consist of at least four players. The maximum number of team members is ten players. The captain of each team must be announced to the organizers no later than the start of the play-off or the placement matches. Any substitution of players during team matches is forbidden.


It is recommended that all participants wear national jerseys during the international championships.


Rules for other international championships will be set by the Executive Committee of the ITHF when necessary.

2.6 Other tournaments

The ITHF can decide to organize any other tournament. Exact date, rules and conditions must be announced at least two months before the tournament to enable all interested persons to participate.


3. Rules for organizers

3.1 Introduction

A notification must be sent to the ITHF at least one month before the tournament. The invitation must contain the date and time for the tournament, the deadline for registrations, the location and venue for the tournament, directions to the venue, entry fee, and method for payment, availability of chairs, phone numbers and contact information for the organizers, local rules and any other necessary information. Organizers are asked to make an internet web page containing all this information and they must send the link to the ITHF.


Organizers of every ITHF tournament should send out press releases and make significant media contact concerning the tournament.


Prizes should be awarded for the top three (3) finishers in the tournament and to each play-off winner of each group. The organizers may determine any additional prizes and awards.


Organizers should provide basic refreshment and comfort facilities during the tournament.


Tournament time schedules made by the organizers should allow all participants to have enough and sufficiently long breaks during the tournament for toilet breaks, food and refreshment. If any participants of a group are scheduled to play more than 16 matches in a row, there must be at least one break for all members of the group.

3.2 Tournament hall

The tournament hall must be large enough to accommodate the number of participants registered in the tournament. The tournament shall be played in one hall. If it is not possible then identical conditions must be ensured at all used rooms.


There must be sufficient light and good ventilation at the playing hall during the entire tournament. No smoking is allowed in playing hall and at all rooms reserved for the participants of the tournament. Drinking of alcoholic beverages is not allowed in the playing hall.


The playing hall must be kept clean and the final playoff shall be played in a special area that is clean and appropriate for media coverage and the prestige that a final playoff commands.


There must be sufficient space between particular games – it is recommended to have free space at least 1.5 m behind both goal cages and 0.5 m besides both sides of each game – it means games should not be closer than 3 metres (1 metre) from each other. Free space for play-off matches shall be larger.


Height of tables used under the games must be between 700 and 800 mm.

3.3 Games

The organizers must provide the following conditions for all games:


Number of games used during the tournament should correspond with the number of participants and selected playing system. All games should be in excellent and similar conditions, if any problem occurs, organizers are obliged to repair the game or replace it by another one. This should be done without any serious delays of the tournament.


There should be several prepared reserve games available to prevent delays
caused by repairing of the broken games. It is recommended to have at least
1 reserve game for every 15 used games.


At least two pucks should be available for each game. The organizers are responsible for checking of this number of pucks before start of each stage of the tournament. At least five pucks must be available for each play-off series.


Organizers must ensure the sufficient number of spare figures which must be available close to the games to allow fast changing of broken figures.

3.4 During the tournament

The organizers should collect all registration fees from participants before the tournament begins. All tournament revenues belong to the organizers; no fee is paid to the ITHF.


The organizers should make all participants familiar with the timer that will be used for measuring playing time before the tournament begins.


The organizers have to announce to all participants names of members of the tournament’s committee of referees before the tournament starts.


The organizers should provide continuous reports of tournament results and standings. Participants should have a right to see their group standings at least once during each group’s schedule.


The organizers are responsible for maintaining the official result sheets during the tournament to allow the possibility of checking the results for each player.


The game and the side must be determined in the match schedule for each match – the only exception is play-offs, where players can select games by themselves from the group of games which were chosen by the organizers for play-offs.


During the play-off all players must have sufficient time to prepare themselves for their matches, even for finding the game where they want to play.


The organizers should ensure that all the series of the same round of play-offs will start at the same time.


The organizers must insure that no participant will be bothered during the tournament by other players, or by the audience. Players can ask for sufficient free space around them and around the table especially during the play-off matches. The organizers must ensure that the audience will not disturb the players in any way, including loud talking or yelling.


The organizers should not organize any ceremony during play-off series matches. The ceremony can be held during the break between play-off series


There must be an exact translation of the playing rules and the playing system in the English language available.


It is recommended that tournament results are posted online at the Internet during the international tournaments.

3.5 After the tournament

Organizers must send results to the world ranking and to the ITHF within five days after the tournament. All participants of the tournament should know their results immediately after the tournament.


4. Rules for participants

Every participant shall respect these rules, the committee of referees and organizers will during the whole tournament. Players must behave properly during the course of a tournament. Players must follow the playing schedule made by the organizers, cannot move the games and tables without permission of the organizers and must play all matches on the games, with game parts and figures prepared for the tournament - do not use their own.

4.1 Where to play

If it is not decided where a game shall be played, the home player for that game shall decide where to play. The home player can let the opponent select the game and where to play and instead he may choose the side of the game. The player who chooses the game has to let the opponent choose the side.


During a match the only repair allowed is to replace broken player figures – the game can only be seriously repaired if both opponents agree. If the players can not agree with the quality of the selected game, the committee of referees shall decide if there is any need for repairs or replacement of the game, any figure or any rod.


In the team competition, the home team has a right to select side of games. Members of such team do not change games for the whole team match. The home team is the team which was placed higher in the previous stage of the competition. If both teams were ranked the same, then in the first stage of the competition the home team is the higher seeded team.

4.2 Recording Scores

Players must accurately record the score of their match and accurately report it to the scorer’s table. Each result must be written on the official sheet no later than before the next round begins. The winner of the match is responsible for writing the result. If the game ends in a draw then it is up to both players to make sure that the result is written and that it is recorded correctly.


If a player doesn’t submit the result, the scorekeeper can request the result during the next round (even while playing). If the scorekeeper can not find the result (or if the players don’t want to tell it, or both players can not be found) then the match will not count for both players.


No result can be changed after the group stage is done, unless there was a scoring mistake while entering the results into the computer. If any player claims such mistake, then the organizers must provide to him or her the official score sheet for review. Claims about scoring mistakes must be reported promptly after publishing final results. Organizers should announce the deadline for reporting mistakes found in official results.

4.3 Play-off

The players can select games where they want to play their play-off series from the group of games prepared by the organizers for the play-off. The selection is done as it is described in the paragraph 4.1 – the home player is the player ranked higher in the group stage (stage for which standings are used for seeding of the play-off). If both players played in different groups and their ranking in these groups was the same, then the home player is the one who was seeded higher in the tournament.


If several players select the same game then the series played by player who was ranked higher in the group will be played on that game. If players were ranked the same, their tournament seeding will be used.


Players can select the game, but they must respect selection of the table made by the organizers.


Players should change the sides of the game after 2nd, 4th and then after any other game of the play-off series. Both players can agree on not changing the side – it can be agreed either before the series begins or when the first changing of the sides is done. If any of players want to change the side, the other must respect it.


The whole play-off series should be played on the same game – the only exception is when the game is broken and cannot be repaired quickly. Selection of the new game is done the same way as the broken game was selected.


Any participating player can ask the Committee of Referees for a referee before any of his/her play-off matches. Referee will watch keeping the table hockey rules and can be asked by any of the opponents to make all face-offs during the match.

4.4 Making a complaint to the committee of referees

Any player can submit a complaint to any member of the tournament’s committee of referees (committee).


The committee shall meet after that and the whole committee will hear both sides of the dispute. The committee can also hear witnesses.


The final decision of the committee must be announced to both sides of the dispute.

4.5 Leaving before the end

If any player retires from any group stage then all his/her matches in this group will be eliminated and the group standings will be recalculated. “Retirement” is a situation when the player does not play more than last two matches scheduled in the group without any reasonable explanation to organizers.


If any player retires from the tournament between two group stages or between a group stage and play-off, another player cannot replace him.


A player who retires from the tournament with a good reason (for example injury, sickness, family reason or a long delay caused by the organizer) will get the placement and points from the tournament if he/she has completed at least the first group stage.


Disqualified players and the players who retire without a good reason don’t get any points, placement or the World Ranking points. The final tournament standings of other participants are affected by this (players ranked behind the disqualified/retired players get better final tournament placement).

4.6 Exclusion from the tournament

If any player in a tournament is drunk or impaired or if the organizers (or committee of referees) think that he/she is disturbing the tournament then such player can be disqualified from the tournament. The player can be also banned from further ITHF tournaments – this decision must be done by the Executive Committee of the ITHF.


Any player found intentionally altering the score reported to the scorer’s table or any player found intentionally playing a match to a draw (tie score) or to a loss will be disqualified from the tournament by the tournament’s committee of referees or by the tournament organizers.


If a player is disqualified all his results from the current group stage will be eliminated and the group standings will be recalculated. If a next group stage or play-offs are already started, the results from previous groups are not affected by the disqualification.


If a player is disqualified during a match in the team competition the team must play with reduced number of players. After the team match a substitute can be called to the team – the maximum number of members of the team is not changed by this disqualification.


All disputes shall be solved during the tournament by the organizers and tournament’s committee of referees. If it cannot be solved during the tournament, it must be passed to the national association of the country where the tournament is held. The association can ask the ITHF for help with solving the dispute.


All incidents must be reported to the ITHF by the organizers. In special and grave cases the ITHF can decide about further punishment of the player in accordance with all ITHF documents and rules. The ITHF reserves the right to suspend a player from ITHF tournaments but the ITHF cannot stop a player from playing in tournaments that are not sanctioned by ITHF. The ITHF can only recommend to all national associations to suspend the player from their tournaments.


5. Conclusion

Adhereing rules described in this document should be controled mainly by tournaments committee of referees, by representatives of national associations of each country where tournaments are held and by representatives of the ITHF.