Tough Calls
At the champions league each week, experts are analysing the games. In order to improve the understanding of referees' decisions and to increase the transparency towards the fans, they publish some of those "tough calls", together with an explanation. These situations and explanations are very useful also for referees to make better decisions in difficult situations.

Video rule book

Focusing on the most important ones
(Travelling and Unsportsmanlike fouls)

During its meeting in July 2017, the FIBA Central Board approved several rule changes.

FIBA released a summary of the rule changes valid as of 1 October 2017 that you will find in the attached link after this article.

This summary is about the most important changes with video illustrations.

Travelling rule (Art. 25.2)

  • When players are executing a normal lay-up, and especially when it is done with a spin move, it often occurs that they pick up the ball when one of the feet is on the floor and then they make 2 steps before releasing the ball.

    This is normal basketball movement and without using slow motion replay it is difficult to realise whether the foot touches the floor before taking the 2 steps or not. However, according to the current rules it is a travelling violation.

    The rules in the USA allow this move and FIBA now adjusts its rules when modifying the travel rule as follows:

    While moving and having one foot on the floor while catching the ball or ending a dribble the next foot or feet to touch the floor is „Step 1“ and will become the pivot foot.

    The cases shown on the 3 videos below will be legal after the rulechanges:
  • The start of a dribble after receiving a pass or catching the ball will become less strict.

    A player, who receives the ball and catches it while he is progressing, shall release the ball to start his dribble before his foot touches the floor at his second step.

    Up to now the ball has had to leave the hand of the player before his foot, that touched the floor at the first step, leaves the floor.
    On the video below the start of the dribble so far has been travelling violation, however after the rule change will be legal.
  • However the case of so-called ’Hop step’ has become violation as it is also a violation in the NBA. This means: A player may not touch the floor consecutively with the same foot or both feet after ending his dribble or gaining control of the ball.

    As the 2 clips below show in case of gathering the ball at the left foot to jump and land on the left foot, or in case of right foot to jump and land on the right foot is illegal.
    However if the player jumps from his right foot and lands on left-right foot or on both feet simultaneously, that is legal.

     Summarising it: 
    A combination of steps left-left-right is illegal, while left-right-left or right-left-right is legal.

Unsportsmanlike foul (Art. 37.1.1)

  • During fast breaks teams have often used a tactic to commit a foul in order to stop a fast break or a quick counter attack. If this has been done by the last defensive player from behind or laterally, the current rule already penalises it with an unsportsmanlike foul. However, if the player who committed the tactical foul was not the last defender the judging of these plays were not unified and consistently called by the referees and furthermore different championships have applied different criterias.

    Since such interruptions strongly decreased the dynamics and spectacularity of the game, FIBA decided to make the rule stricter:

    From now it shall be considered as unsportsmanlike foul to make contact by the defensive player with no legitimate attempt to directly play the ball within the spirit and intent of the rules, causing an unnecessary contact in order to stop the fast break or the progress of the offensive team in transition. This applies until the offensive player begins the act of shooting.

    The following 3 examples show when the defensive player is not the last one but he does not play the ball but wants to stop the fast break. This type of situations will be called as unsportsmanlike fouls.:

Team definition (Art. 4.2.1 and Art. 2.4.5)

  • The maximum number of accompanying delegation members who may sit on the team bench with special responsibilities, has been extended to 7. Therefore, there shall be a maximum of 16 seats available in the team bench area. The max total number of the team members is 21 (12 players, 2 coaches and 7 accompanying delegation members)

Team uniforms (Art. 4.3)

  • The shirts and shorts must be of the same dominant colour.
  • If shirts have sleeves they must end above the elbow. Long sleeves shirts are not permitted.
  • Socks need to be visible.
  • Shoes may have any colour combination, but left and right shoes must match.
  • No flashing lights, reflective material or other adornments are permitted.

Team’s equipment (Art. 4.4)

The following equipment (accessories) is permitted:

  • Arm compression sleeves of the black or white or the dominant team uniform colour, but one same colour for all players of the team.
  • Leg compression sleeves of the black or white or the dominant team uniform colour, but one same colour for all players of the team.
  • Headgear, black or white or the dominant uniform colour as shirts but one same colour for all players on the team. The headgear cannot cover any part of the face entirely or partially (eyes, nose, lips etc.) and cannot be dangerous to the player wearing it and/or to other players. The headgear cannot have opening/closing elements around the face and/or neck and cannot have any parts extruding from its surface.
  • Wristbands, maximum of 10 cm wide textile material of the black or white or the dominant team colour as shirts, but one same colour for all players of the team.
  • Taping of arms, shoulders, legs etc. of the black or white or the dominant team colour as shirts, but one same colour for all players of the team.
  • Ankle braces of the transparent or black or white but one same colour for all players of the team.
  • All accessories must be of the same colour for all players of the team (either black, white or team uniform dominant colour).

Game disqualification (Art. 36.3.3 and Art. 37.2.3)

  • The game disqualification is now also valid for 1 technical foul and 1 unsportsmanlike foul. A player shall also be disqualified for the remainder of the game when he is charged with 1 technical and 1 unsportsmanlike foul.

Protest procedure (C)

Purpose: To adapt the protest procedure to match FIBA’s Internal Regulations.


  • A team may file the protest if its interest have been affected by
    - an error in scorekeeping, time-keeping or shot clock operations which was not corrected by the officials.
    - a decision to forfeit, cancel, postpone, not resume or not play the game.
    - a violation of the applicable eligibility rules.
  • In order to be admissible, a protest shall comply with the following procedure:
    - The captain shall, no later than 15 minutes following the end of the game, sign the scoresheet in the column ‘Captains signature in case of protest’.
    - The reasons for the protest shall be submitted in writing no later than 1 hour following the end of the game.
    - A fee of CHF 1.500 shall be applied only if the protest is rejected.
    - The crew chief shall report in writing the incident to the FIBA Representative or the President of the Technical Committee.
  • The competent body shall decide on the protest as soon as possible, and no later than 24 hours following the end of the game.
  • The decision of the competent body is also considered as a field of play rule decision and is not subject for further review or appeal.

Basketball Equipment (Chapter 2 and 10)

Purpose: To adapt to the current technical needs.


For level 1 and 2:

  • The backboards shall be equipped with lighting along its perimeter at the top, mounted on the inside borders of the backboards and which lights up in yellow only when the shot clock signal sounds.
  • The shot clock shall have the signal sounding for the end of the shot clock period when the display shows zero (0.0).
  • The shot clock shall indicate the time remaining in seconds; and tenths (1/10) of a second only during the last 5 seconds of the shot clock period.
  • Recommendation 1 Oct 2017 / Mandatory 1 Oct 2018

Summary of the main changes

Edited to a videofile by Peter Srikwerda

Untitled Document

Rules, Interpretations

September 2022 v1.0
Official Rules
October 2022 v1.1
Summary of Rule Changes
October 2022 v1.0a
Rules Equipment
November 2022 v12.0
Social Media Guidelines
Table Officials Manual
2020 v3.2
IRS Referees and IRS-operators
November 2020 v3.0

Officiating (Mechanics - Fitness - Mindset)

Officiating Terminology
November 2020 v1.0
3 Person Officiating
December 2020 v1.0b
Advanced 3PO
December 2020 v1.2
Officiating Techniques
2022 v1.2
Self - quarantine
April 2020 v1.0
Polar – M430 & H10
June 2020 v1.1
Physical demands & profile
July 2020 v1.0
Physical Training Manual
July 2020 v5.0
Fitness test
mp3 (english)
Jet lag management
June 2020 v2.0
Growth mindset
February 2022 v2.0
Physical demands & profile
February 2022 v1.0
Control the controllable
February 2022 v1.0
Self - discipline
February 2022 v1.0


Official Interpretations
April 2020
Rules Summary
November 2021
Rules - Short Version
Rules and Equipment
November 2021

Wheelchair basketball (IWBF)

Wheelchair Basketball Rules
IWBF Executive Council
Wheelchair Basketball Rules
Comments and Interpretations
3X3 Wheelchair Basketball Rules

Other documents (national)

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