BY Mansib Ahmad

We all know rules are essential to all kinds of sport. 

Without them, there’d be balls and bats flying everywhere. That doesn’t mean they all make sense though! Read on for a taste of how unbelievable and unfortunate some sports rules can be.

Dead Ball – Cricket

Whether or not technology is a blessing or a curse has been a heated debate for a while. In cricket, the answer is pretty straightforward. Now that cricket matches are regularly recorded and aired, cameras are an expected feature on the pitch. If the ball hits the Spidercam or Flying Fox camera, then it is automatically considered as a dead ball. Glen Maxwell suffered this fate when he hit the camera in the first Gilette T20 against India at the Gabba.

In the same vein, Docklands stadium in Australia is covered with a roof during matches, so if the ball hits the roof, it is given a dead ball. Check out this clip where this situation occurred during a charity game between Australia and World XI.

Hat Hindrance – Tennis

Having your hat fall off your head or the ball fall out of your pocket is considered to be an involuntary hindrance, according to the USTA handbook of tennis rules and regulations, and your opponent can call for a let. If approved, the opponent can replay the stroke. This happened in a three-and-a-half-hour match between Nathalie Dechy and Ana Ivanovic in 2008 during Wimbledon. Dechy fired a shot just as her hat slipped off, prompting the referee to negate the point, ultimately securing Ivanovic’s victory.

Keep Your Shirt On – Steeplechase

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but in 2014, French steeplechase runner Machiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad was disqualified from the 3000 metre European championship for taking off his shirt and bib for the last 100 metres of the race. Mekhissi-Benabbad claims his reason for doing so was to celebrate his lead. “When I took off my vest,” he said, “it was because of my joy. I was so happy to defend my title.”

Unfortunately, the officials at Spain didn’t particularly care; Mekhissi was scrapped as a competitor.

Building a Stance – Golf

In golf, rule 13-3 states that “a plater is entitled to place his feet firmly in taking a stance, but he must not build a stance”. Basically – don’t shuffle around or dig your feet into the ground and compromise your position or the turf. South Korean Sun-Ju Ahn finished 9th, after incurring a two-stroke penalty when she built a stance during the 2014 Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Birkdale.

Don’t Leave the Piste – Epee Fencing

In the 2012 Summer Olympics semi-finals, South Korean competitor Shin A-lam controversially lost to German Britta Heidemann after a timekeeping error. While officials deliberated on the situation, Shin was prevented from leaving the piste due to a by-law stating that if she did so, she would lose. For an hour and a half, Shin remained on the piste, crying, as the appeal process carried out. She was ultimately denied and lost her chance to win a medal.