Major Changes to the FIAS Refereeing Rules

18 February 2020 FIAS
Major Changes to the FIAS Refereeing Rules

Since the beginning of 2020, a number of changes have been made to the FIAS Refereeing Rules.


  1. Head of the mat concept
    In the edited Rules their functions are performed by the Deputy Chief Referee. Now the three referees include an arbiter and 2 side referees.
  2. Caution
    The edited Rules provide: 1st warning (doesn’t affect scoring), 2nd and 3rd warning - affects scoring, 4th warning - withdrawal from the bout.
  3. Protests
    No protests are provided for in the edited Rules.
  4. Voice commands
    The edited Rules provide only gestures.
  5. Round robin competition system
    The edited Rules provide only a system with distribution into groups, elimination, and repechage bouts.
  6. Classification of results and match scores
    The edited Rules provide for two types of the winner determination – a victory ahead of time (total victory) or a victory at the end of the bout time.
  7. Red line in the mat layout
    Now the markings include a yellow circle on the blue square of the mat cover.


1. The weigh-in procedure was supplemented by a number of provisions relating to the inclusion of information in the weigh-in report, as well as the procedure for conducting the weigh-in procedure.

  1. The weight of an athlete must be within the range of the specified weight category. For example, the category of up to 82 kg: 74,1 – 82,0 kg. Only weights up to tenths (one digit after the decimal point) are recorded.
  2. At the weigh-in, referees record the exact weight of an athlete in the report.
  3. If an athlete’s weight does not match the weight category, a referee records the exact weight, writes N/A (not applicable), and the athlete signs opposite this mark.
  4. In case of a weight mismatch, an athlete may take part in the weigh-in of the next weight category, if the team is not represented by another member in this category.
  5. The weigh-in results are signed by all members of the refereeing team. Next to the names of athletes who were absent, the Deputy Chief Referee puts ABS (absent), and signs.

2. In article 14. Arbiter, there emerged definitions that the referees had known about before, although the Rules had not stipulated them.

  1. If the defender starts executing a painful hold during a hold-down, the Arbiter initiates the hold-down time countdown for one athlete and painful hold time countdown for another athlete by showing the appropriate gestures; moreover, after the end of the hold-down time, the bout is not interrupted and the painful hold time continues.
  2. If both athletes execute a painful hold at the same time, then the Arbiter must start counting the painful hold time for both athletes simultaneously by showing the appropriate gesture, and the painful hold time expires at the same time for both athletes.
  3. If during a painful hold the defender switches himself to a painful hold, the Arbiter must first open the painful hold countdown for one athlete and then – the painful hold countdown for the second athlete, and the painful hold time countdown for both athletes shall start from the painful hold initiated by the first athlete.
  4. If during a painful hold the defender puts the opponent in a hold-down, the Arbiter, without interrupting the painful hold countdown, initiates a countdown of the hold-down time with an appropriate gesture; and once the painful hold time is over, the Arbiter cancels the countdown of the painful hold with an appropriate gesture and continues counting the hold-down time.
  5. If the defender violates the Rules during the painful hold, the Arbiter, without interrupting the painful hold countdown, calls to stop the violation by patting the athlete’s hand or leg, and gives the next warning by showing the appropriate gesture according to the present Rules.
  6. If during the bout there are no technical actions evaluated or there is the same number of warnings received at the same time, then the bout shall be interrupted at half-time, and the three referees shall define the active athlete and announce the warning to his opponent.
  7. If during the bout the situation has not changed, the athlete who was given the warning shall be considered the loser.
  8. If a painful hold occurs in the middle of a bout, then the active athlete is determined at the end of the painful hold countdown.
  9. If in the middle of a bout a hold-down that has not given an advantage (the opponent has escaped it) is recorded, then the definition of the active athlete occurs after the attack is finished.

3. In Articles 11. Chief Referee and 12. Deputy Chief Referee items regarding their authority have been introduced.

  1. Chief Referee has no right to:
    • cancel the decision of the referee trio;
    • interrupt or interfere in a bout (except for force majeure circumstances).
  2. Deputy Chief Referee:
    • decides to withdraw an athlete from a bout;
    • prepares a report for the Chief Referee on the work of the referees at the mat he supervises.

4. The procedure of scoring for warnings has changed.

From now on, 1 point is given for the 2nd and 3rd warnings (without progression).

5. Bout duration (preliminaries and medal-winning bouts).

  • for adults and juniors (men, women) - 5 minutes;
  • for youth and cadets (boys, girls) - 4 minutes.

6. Article 23. The content of the bout was extended with provisions on evaluations of throws from a lying position, as well as the rule for escapes from painful hold and fixation of a hold-down.

  1. Evaluation of technical actions of an athlete in a standing position, who attacks an opponent in a lying position, is carried out at half the evaluation of technical actions performed from a standing position.

    Four points are given:
    - for a throw without falling, in which the opponent in a lying position fell on his back or in the "bridge" position;

    Two points are awarded:
    - for a throw with a fall in which the opponent in a lying position, fell on his back or in the “bridge” position;
    - for a throw without falling, in which the opponent in a lying position, fell on his side or in the "half-bridge" position;

    One point are awarded:
    - for a throw without falling, in which the opponent in a lying position, fell on his chest, stomach, buttocks, lower back or shoulder.

    Defender falls


    in a standing position


    in a lying position

    Attacker executes a throw

    without falling

    with a fall

    without falling

    with fall

    On the back, the "bridge"

    Clear throw

    4 points

    4 points

    2 points

    On the side, the “half-bridge”

    4 points

    2 points

    2 points

    1 point

    On the chest, lower back, buttocks, abdomen, shoulder

    2 points

    1 point

    1 point

    no point

  2. Painful hold on leg should be stopped as soon as the defender goes into a standing position.
  3. Painful hold on arm should be stopped as soon as both athletes are in a standing position (complete detachment of the opponent from the mat).
  4. Hold-down is a technique by which an athlete for a certain time forces an opponent to lie with his back to the mat, and  presses himself from above by his own torso to the opponent’s torso (or to the opponent’s arms, held close to the body).
  5. Torso means the anatomically central part of the body that does not include head, neck and limbs.

7. The off-mat position was supplemented by the following definitions.

  1. The “off-mat” position occurs when both athletes are in the lying position outside the mat bout area, or one of the athletes is found outside the mat (outside the mat's safety area).
  2. Hold-down and painful hold are allowed to be initiated, carried out and scored in the “on-mat” position (while either of the athletes has contact with the mat bout area, and the other one is within the mat’s borders (within the mat’s safety area).

8. SAMBO Mat

  1. The SAMBO mat’s dimensions are 11x11 meters, the mat bout area on which bouts take place is a circle with a diameter of 8 meters.

9. Warnings are summarized in a table, for convenience.

  1. Violations of the Rules, for which an athlete is given successive warnings (from 1st to 3rd), are as follows:



    Avoidance of

    the fight

    free or intentional overstepping of the mat bout area in a standing or lying position;

    avoiding a grip in a standing position;

    false attack – moving to a lying position without a real attack (the defender kept his balance);

    pushing outside (intentional direct impact on thr opponent with the aim of moving him outside the mat bout area, without the intention to make a throw);

    intentional violation of the uniform rules (such as rolling up the jacket sleeves, untying the belt, etc.);

    imitation of fighting;

    Prohibited grips

    Intentional grip on one’s shorts, jacket flaps, the belt ends, the opponent's jacket sleeve from the inside;

    grips on the opponent’s fingers or toes;


    leaving the mat without the Arbiter’s permission (including for medical assistance);

    being late for the mat on 30 seconds following the first call - 1st warning;

    being late for the mat on 1 minute following the first call - 2nd warning;

    being late for the mat on 1.5 minute following the first call - 3rd warning;

  2. Prohibited techniques, for which an athlete must be given a preliminary warning with a score, include:



    Carrying out a prohibited technique

    intentional throw of an opponent on the head;

    painful hold in a standing position;

    throws with grips for painful hold ("knot", "lever");

    direct painful impact (pressure, hyperextension) on spine and neck;

    painful techniques on fingers and hands;

    foot “knot”;

    knee “lever” by bending leg not in the plane of its natural folding;

    bending hands behind the back (police hammerlock);

    straightening crossed legs on the opponent’s torso with intentional squeezing;


    direct impact with hands, legs, or head on the opponent’s face;

    direct impact with one’s elbow or knee on any part of the opponent’s body;

    kicks in the legs, a rough fight for a grip (rough conduct of the fight).

10. Disqualification



Unethical behavior

intentional hits, scratches, bites;

offensive language and gestures addressed to the opponent, referees, participants and spectators; cheating referees;

refusal of a handshake at the beginning or at the end of a bout.

11. Article defining the team competition procedure

These rules stipulate the team completion regulations, which prescribe the order of bouts, teams presentation, greetings, draws, etc.


  1. All applications have been amended.
  2. The regulations on Combat SAMBO were removed from these Rules and collected in a separate document.
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