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The Laws of Badminton

As revised in the year 1939 and adopted by
The International Badminton Federation
(incorporating all amendments subsequently adopted).

Note: Imperial measurements,
some of which may vary slightly from the metric measurements,
are quoted in brackets and comply with the laws.

New laws as of
August 1, 1998
Setting - see SCORING, and
Court   Posts   Net   Singles/Doubles Court Layout
Singles Only Court Layout   The Shuttle   The Racket   Players
The Toss   Scoring   Doubles Play   Singles Play
Faults   General   Continuous Play, Misconduct and Penalties



1(a) The court shall be a rectangle and laid out as in the following Diagram A (except in the case provided for in paragraph 1(d) of this Law) and to the measurements there shown, and shall be defined preferably by white or yellow lines or, if this is not possible, by other easily distinguishable lines 40mm (1 1/2 inches) wide.

1(b) To show the zone in which a shuttle of correct pace lands when tested (see Law 4(d)), an additional four marks 40mm by 40mm (1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches) may be made up as follows:

-inside each side line for singles of the right service court, 530mm (l foot 9 inches) and 990mm (3 feet 3 inches) from the back boundary line.

In making these marks, their width shall be within the measurement given, i.e., the marks will be from 530mm to 570mm (1 foot 9 inches to 1 foot 10 1/ 2 inches) and from 950mm to 990mm (3 feet 1 1/2 inches to 3 feet 3 inches) from the outside of the back boundary line.

1(c)(i) The width 40mm (1 1/2 inches) of the centre lines shall be equally divided between the right and left service courts.

1(c)(ii) The width 40mm (1 1/2 inches) of each of the short service line and the doubles long service line shall fall within the 3.960 metres (13 feet) measurement given as the length of the service court.

1 (c)(iii) The width 40mm (1 1/2 inches) of all other lines shall fall within the measurements given.

1(d) Where space does not permit the marking out of a court for doubles, a court may be marked out for singles only, as shown in Diagram B. The back boundary lines become also the long service lines, and the posts, or the strips of material representing them as referred to in Law 2, shall be placed on the side lines.

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The posts shall be 1.55 metres (5 feet 1 inch) in height from the surface of the court. They shall be sufficiently firm to keep the net strained as provided in Law 3,and shall be placed on the side boundary lines of the court. Where this is not practicable, some method must be employed for indicating the position of the side boundary line where it passes under the net, e.g., by use of a thin post or strips of material, not less than 40mm (1 1/2 inches) in width, fixed to the side boundary line and rising vertically to the net cord. Where this is in use on a court marked for doubles it shall be placed on the side boundary line of the doubles court irrespective of whether singles or doubles are being played.
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The net shall be made of fine natural cord of artificial fibre of a dark colour and even thickness and not less than 15mm (5/8 inch) and not more than 20mm (3/4 inch) mesh. It shall be firmly stretched from post to post, and shall be 760mm (2 feet 6 inches) in depth. The top of the net shall be 1.524 metres (5 feet) in height from the floor at the centre, and 1.55 metres (5 feet 1 inch) at the posts, and shall be edged with a 75mm (3 inches) white tape doubled and supported by a cord or cable run through the tape and strained over and flush with the top of the posts.
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The shuttle may be made from natural, synthetic or other manufactured product or
any of those combinations. The feel on the racket and the flight characteristics,
generally, should be similar to those produced by the natural feathered shuttle,
which has a cork base covered by a thin layer of leather.


Having regard to the principles:

 4(a) General Design

4(a)(i) The shuttle shall have 14 to 16 feathers fixed in the base.

4(a)(ii) The feathers can have a variable length from 64mm to 70mm (2 1/2 inches to 2 3/4 inches), but in each shuttle they shall be the same length when measured from the tip to the top of the base.

4(a)(iii) The tips of the feathers shall form a circle with a diameter within a range of 58mm to 68mm (2 1/4 inches to 2 5/8 inches).

4(a)(iv) The feathers shall be fastened firmly with thread or other suitable material.

4(a)(v) The base shall be:

-25mm to 28mm (1 inch to 1 1/8 inches) in diameter

-rounded on the bottom.

4(b) Weight 

The shuttle shall weigh from 4.74 to 5.50 grams (73 to 85 grains).

4(c) Non-Feathered Shuttles

4(c)(i) The skirt, or simulation of feathers in synthetic or other manufactured materials, replaces natural feathers.

4(c)(ii) The base is described in paragraph 4(a)(v).

4(c)(iii) Measurements shall be the same as in paragraph 4(a)(i)-(iv). However, because of the difference in the specific gravity and behaviour of synthetic and manufactured materials in comparison with feathers, a variation of up to 10 percent in the stated measurements is acceptable. 

 4(d) Pace and Flight

A shuttle shall be deemed to be of correct pace when it is hit by a player with a full underhand stroke from a spot immediately above one back boundary line in a direction parallel to the sidelines and at an upward angle, to fall not less than 530mm (1 foot 9 inches) and not more than 990mm (3 feet 3 inches) short of the other back boundary line.

 4(e) Modifications

Subject to there being no variation in the general design, pace and flight of the shuttle, modifications in the above specifications may be made with the approval of the national organisation concerned:

4(e)(i) in places where atmospheric conditions due either to altitude or climate make the standard shuttle unsuitable; or

4(e)(ii) if specific circumstances exist which make it otherwise necessary in the interests of the game.

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4(f)(i) The hitting surface of the racket shall be flat and consist of a pattern of crossed strings connected to a frame and alternatively interlaced or bonded where they cross - and the stringing pattern shall be generally uniform and, in particular, not less dense in the centre than in any other area.

4(f)(ii) The frame of the racket, including the handle, shall not exceed 680mm (26 3/4 inches) in overall length and 230mm (9 1/16 inches) in overall width.

4(f)(iii) The overall length of the head shall not exceed 290mm (11 7/16 inches).

4(f)(iv) The strung surface area shall not exceed 280mm (11 inches) in overall length and 220mm (8 5/8 inches) in overall width.

4(f)(v) The frame, including the handle, and the strings shall be free of attached objects and protrusions, other than those utilised solely and specifically to limit or prevent wear and tear, or vibration, or to distribute weight, or to secure the handle by cord to the playerís hand, and which are reasonable in size and placement for such purposes; and shall be free of any device which makes it possible for a player to change materially the shape of the racket.

The International Badminton Federation shall rule on the question of whether any racket
or prototype complies with the above specifications or is otherwise approved or not
approved for play. Such ruling may be undertaken on its own initiative or upon
application by any party with a bona fide interest therein, including any player,
equipment manufacturer or National Association or member thereof.

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5(a) The word "Player" applies to all those taking part in a game.
5(b) The game shall be played, in the case of the doubles game, by two players a side and in the case of the singles game, by one player a side.

5(c) The side for the time being having the right to serve shall be called the "In" side, and the opposing side shall be called the "Out" side.

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Before commencing play, the opposing sides shall toss, and the side winning the toss
shall have the option of: 

(a) Serving first:

(b) Not serving first; or

(c) Choosing ends.

The side losing the toss shall then have choice of any alternative remaining.

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7(a) The doubles and menís singles game consists of 15 points provided that, when the score is 13-all, the side which first reached 13 has the option of "setting" the game to 5, and that when the score is 14-all, the side which first reached 14 has the option of "setting" the game to 3. After a game has been "set" the score is called "love-all", and the side which first scores 5 or 3 points, according as the game has been "set" at 13- or 14-all, wins the game. If players choose to "set", the score is no longer called "love-all"; instead the score continues to be called to 17. In either case tThe claim to "set" the game must be made before the next service is delivered after the score has reached 13- or 14-all.

7(b) The ladiesí singles game consists of 11 points. Provided that when the score is "9-all" the player who first reached 9 has the option of "setting" the game to 3, and when the score is "10-all" the player who first reached 10 has the option of "setting" the game to 2 3.

7(c) A side rejecting the option of "setting" at the first opportunity shall not thereby be debarred from "setting" if a second opportunity arises.

7(d) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) above, it is permissible by prior arrangement for only one game to be played and also for this to consist of 21 points, in which case "setting" shall be as for the game of 15 points with scores of 19 and 20 being substituted for 13 and 14 respectively.

7(e) In handicap games "setting" is not permitted.

The opposing sides shall contest the best of three games, unless otherwise agreed. The players shall change ends at the commencement of the second game and also of the third game (if any). In the third game the players shall change ends when the leading score reaches:

8(a) 8 in a game of 15 points;

8(b) 6 in a game of 11 points;

or in handicap events, when one of the sides has scored half the total number of points required to win the game (the next highest number of points to win the game - the next highest number being taken in case of fractions). When it has been agreed to play only one game the players shall change ends as provided above for the third game. In a game of 21 points, the players shall change ends when the leading score reaches 11 or in handicap games as indicated above.

If, inadvertently, the players omit to change ends as provided in this Law at the score indicated, the ends shall be changed immediately when the mistake is discovered, and the existing score shall stand.

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9(a) It having been decided which side is to have the first service, the player in the right-hand service court of that side commences the game by serving to the player in the service court diagonally opposite. If the latter player returns the shuttle before it touches the ground, it is to be returned by one of the "In" side, and then returned by one of the "Out" side, and so on, till a fault is made or the shuttle ceases to be "in play" (vide paragraph (b)). If a fault is made by the "In" side its right to continue serving is lost, as only one player on the side beginning a game is entitled to do so (vide Law 11), and the opponent in the right-hand service court then becomes the server; but if the service is not returned, or the fault is made by the "Out" side, the "In" side scores a point. The "In" side players then change from one service court to the other, the service now being from the left-hand service court to the player in the service court diagonally opposite. So long as a side remains "In", service is delivered alternately from each service court into the one diagonally opposite, the change being made by the "In" side when, and only when, a point is added to its score.

9(b) The first service of a side in each innings shall be made from the right-hand service court. A "Service" is delivered as soon as the shuttle is struck by the serverís racket. The shuttle is thereafter "in play" until it touches the ground, or until a fault or "let" occurs, or except as provided in Law 18. After the service is delivered the server and the player served to may take up any positions they choose on their side of the net, irrespective of boundary lines.

The player served to may alone receive the service, but should the shuttle touch, or be struck by, his partner the "In" side scores a point. No player may receive two consecutive services in the same game, except as provided in Law 12.
Only one player of the side beginning a game shall be entitled to serve in its first innings. In all subsequent innings each partner shall have the right, and they shall serve consecutively. The side winning a game shall always serve first in the next game, but either of the losers may receive the service.
If a player serves out of turn, or from the wrong service court (owing to a mistake as to the service court from which service is at the time being in order), and his side wins the rally, it shall be a "Let", provided that such "Let" be claimed and allowed, or ordered by the umpire, before the next succeeding service is delivered.

If a player of the "Out" side standing in the wrong service court is prepared to receive the service when it is delivered, and his side wins the rally, the mistake shall stand and the playersí positions shall not be corrected.

Should a player inadvertently change sides when he should not do so, and the mistake not be discovered until after the next succeeding service has been delivered, the mistake shall stand, and a "Let" cannot be claimed or allowed, and the playersí position shall not be corrected.

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In singles, Laws 9 to 12 hold good except that:

13(a) The players shall serve from and receive service in their respective right-hand service courts only when the serverís score is 0 or an even number of points in the game, the service being delivered from and received in their respective left-hand service courts when the serverís score is an odd number of points. Setting does not affect this sequence.

13(b) Both players shall change service courts after each point has been scored.

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A fault made by a player of the side which is "In", puts the server out; if made by a player whose side is "Out", it counts a point to the "In" side.

It is a fault:

14(a) If in serving,

14(a)(i) the initial point of contact with the shuttle is not on the base of the shuttle, or

14(a)(ii) any part of the shuttle at the instant of being struck be higher than the serverís waist, or

14(a)(iii) if at the instant of the shuttle being struck the shaft of the racket is not pointing in a downward direction to such an extent that the whole of the head of the racket is discernibly below the whole of the serverís hand holding the racket.

14(b) If, in serving, the shuttle does not pass over the net, or falls into the wrong service court (i.e., into the one not diagonally opposite to the server), or falls short of the short service line, or outside the side boundary lines of the service court into which service is in order.

14(c) If the serverís feet are not in the same service court from which the service is at the time being in order, or if the feet of the player receiving the service are not in the service court diagonally opposite until the service is delivered (vide Law 16).

14(d) If, once the service has started, any player makes preliminary feints or otherwise intentionally balks his opponent, or if any player deliberately delays serving the shuttle or in getting ready to receive it so as to obtain an unfair advantage. (When the server and receiver have taken up their respective positions to serve and to receive, the first forward movement of the serverís racket constitutes the start of the service and such must be continuous thereafter).

14(e) If, either in service or play, the shuttle falls outside the boundaries of the court, or passes through or under the net, or fails to pass the net, or touches the roof or side walls, or the person or dress of a player. (A shuttle falling on a line shall be deemed to have fallen in the court or service court of which such line is a boundary).

14(f) If, when in play, the initial point of contact with the shuttle is not on the strikerís side of the net. (The striker may, however, follow the shuttle over the net with his racket in the course of a stroke).

14(g) If, when the shuttle is "in play", a player touches the net or its supports with racket, person or dress.

14(h) If the shuttle be caught and held on the racket and then slung during the execution of a stroke; or if the shuttle be hit twice in succession by the same player with two strokes; or if the shuttle be hit by a player and his partner successively.

14(i) If, in play, a player strikes the shuttle (unless he thereby makes a good return) or is struck by it, whether he is standing within or outside the boundaries of the court.

14(j) If a player obstructs an opponent.

14(k) If Law 16 be transgressed.

14(l) If a player is guilty of flagrant repeated or persistent offences under Law 21.

14(m) If the server, in attempting to serve, misses the shuttle.

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The server may not serve till his opponent is ready, but the opponent shall be deemed to be ready if a return of the service be attempted.
The server and the player served to must stand within the limits of their respective service courts (as bounded by the short and long service, the centre, and the side lines), and some part of both feet of these players must remain in contact with the surface of the court in a stationary position until the service is delivered. A foot on or touching a line in the case of either the server or the receiver shall be held to be outside his service court (vide Law 14(c)). The respective partners may take up any position, provided they do not unsight or otherwise obstruct an opponent.
17(a) If, in the course of service or rally, the shuttle touches and passes over the net, the stroke is not invalidated thereby. It is a good return if the shuttle having passed outside either post drops on or within the boundary lines of the opposite court. A "Let" may be given by the umpire for any unforeseen or accidental hindrance.

17(b) If, in service, or during a rally, a shuttle, after passing over the net, is caught in or on the net, it is a "Let".

17(c) If the receiver is faulted for moving before the service is delivered, or for not being within the correct service court, in accordance with Laws 14(c) or 16, and at the same time the server is also faulted for a service infringement, it shall be a "Let".

17(d) When a "Let" occurs, the play since the last service shall not count, and the player who served shall serve again, except when Law 12 is applicable.

If, when in play, the shuttle strikes the net and remains suspended there, or strikes the net and falls towards the surface of the court on the strikerís side of the net, or hits the surface outside the court and an opponent then touches the net or shuttle with his racket or person, there is no penalty, as the shuttle is not then in play.
If a player has a chance of striking the shuttle in a downward direction when quite near the net, his opponent must not put up his racket near the net on the chance of the shuttle rebounding from it. This is obstruction within the meaning of Law 14(j).

A player may, however, hold up his racket to protect his face from being hit if he does not thereby balk his opponent.

It shall be the duty of the umpire to call "fault" or "let" should either occur, without appeal being made by the players, and to give his decision on any appeal regarding a point in dispute, if made before the next service; and also to appoint linesmen or service judge at his discretion. The umpireís decision shall be final, but he shall uphold the decision of a linesman or service judge. This shall not preclude the umpire also from faulting the server or receiver. Where, however, a referee is appointed, an appeal shall lie to him from the decision of an umpire on questions of law only.
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21(a) Play shall be continuous from the first service until the match be concluded except that: 

21(a)(i) in international competitive events, there shall be allowed an interval not exceeding 90 seconds between the first and second games, and not exceeding five minutes between the second and third games of all matches;

21(a)(ii) in countries where conditions render it desirable, there shall be allowed, subject to the previously published approval of the national organisation concerned, an interval not exceeding five minutes between the second and third games of a match, either singles or doubles or both;

21(a)(iii) when necessitated by circumstances not within the control of the players, the umpire may suspend play for such a period as he may consider necessary. If play be suspended, the existing score shall stand and play be resumed from that point.

21(b) Under no circumstances shall play be suspended to enable a player to recover his strength or wind, or to receive instruction or advice.

21(c) Except in an interval provided above, no player shall be permitted to receive advice during a match Coaching will now be allowed during both intervals. Players may not leave the court during the 90 second interval. With the umpireís consent, players are allowed to leave the court during the 5 minute interval.until the match be concluded.

21(d) The umpire shall be the sole judge of any suspension of play.

21(e) A player shall not:

21(e)(i) deliberately cause suspension of play, or

21(e)(ii) deliberately interfere with the speed of the shuttle, or

21(e)(iii) behave in an offensive manner; or

21(e)(iv) be guilty of misconduct not otherwise covered by the Laws of Badminton.

21(f) The umpire shall administer any breach of 21(e) by:

21(f)(i) issuing a warning to the offending side;

21(f)(ii) faulting the offending side, if previously warned; or

21(f)(iii) in case of flagrant offence or persistent offences, faulting the offending side and reporting the offending side immediately to the Referee, who shall have the power to disqualify.

21(g) Where a Referee has not been appointed, the responsible tournament official shall have the power to disqualify.

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