ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT THE DATES OF THE XXXIII IRF WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS 2022

Colorado Springs, CO-USA, August 04, 2022.

Dear Players, Teams, and the Worldwide Racquetball Family,

For reasons of hotel availability in Guatemala City, the host city of the XXXIII IRF World Junior Championships, we are forced to change the dates of the event to December 2 to 10, 2022. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, and we very much look forward to seeing you there!

Sincerely,

The IRF Board of Directors and the National Racquetball Association of Guatemala

IRF Announcement Regarding Scoring for Upcoming Tournaments

Dear Racquetball Family,

The IRF sends greetings to everyone and would like to clarify scoring for the remainder of 2022.

Rally scoring (in other words a point scored on every rally won) applies in all of the below:

For the World Games in Birmingham, USA (16 men and 16 women, singles only):

The same scoring will be used as the individual competition at PARC in Bolivia — Best of 5 games, with the first four games to 15 points and a tiebreaker game if necessary to 11 points, with just that tie-breaking fifth game winning by 2 points. The difference with the World Games is that with the single elimination format and only 32 competing, matches that are too short would not provide the international exposure desired for Racquetball.

For the IRF World Championships and IRF World Junior Championships, the scoring will be best of 5 games to 11 points, all games won by 2 points.

 

For those who would like more background, please continue reading:

Racquetball, along with many other sports, has the opportunity to provide support to and cooperation with international sports organizations such as the IOC and Panam Sports that make decisions on inclusion of various sports in premier high-level events like the Pan American Games.

The desire is that racquetball matches should be exciting, fast-moving, not overly long, and easily understood by spectators, both live and later on the Olympic Channel, YouTube, et al. Very lengthy racquetball matches can seem endless to new and casual spectators. When we lose spectators, the future of our sport is in jeopardy.

Additionally, a number of other factors that are well known to experienced tournament directors must be considered, such as length of the tournament in days; available courts; number and types of divisions offered; duration of matches; number of countries and athletes participating; being able to offer both individual and team competitions at each event, etc. Matches shorter in length can open up potential opportunities for improved tournaments experiences.

Adjustments to scoring approaches may seem to many to be a “moving target,” and we appreciate the patience of the international racquetball community as we find just the right balance.

In this year of change and transition, the IRF Technical Committee and the IRF Board of Directors are dedicated to identifying the best equation for success as we work to ensure that Racquetball will be included and competed for many years to come!

Official communication letter

 

IRF Rules Changes Announcement

Dear International Racquetball Family,

As many of you have probably already heard, we at the IRF have approved some significant changes to Racquetball competition on the international level. We would like to take this opportunity to describe these changes and the rationale behind them. Keep in mind that these changes will become effective 1 February 2022.

1. The first is the scoring system, often referred to as “rally scoring.” With rally scoring, a point is earned at the end of each rally, by the winner of the rally, regardless of whether the winner of the rally is the server or the receiver.

  • The best of five (5) games will be played.
  • The first four (4) games will be played to 15 points, win by one (1) point.
  • If a fifth (tiebreaker) game is necessary, it will be played to 11 points, win by two (2) points.
  • There will be one (1) timeout per game.
  • There will be a limit of two (2) appeals per game.
  • The time between games will be two (2) minutes.

The main reason for this move to rally scoring is that many times our matches are too long in duration. That negatively affects the feasibility of televising, in addition to negatively affecting Racquetball in Olympic Chain tournaments with the extensive number of days that are required to complete all of the matches. Additionally, we know the general public often does not understand Racquetball and becomes lost and confused trying to follow our scoring format as it has existed in the past.

In short, we want to make Racquetball a game that everyone, players and spectators alike, can enjoy equally, whether or not they know it and understand it well.

We understand that change sometimes brings uneasiness and requires short-term adjustments, but we have learned from the experience of other sports that made the same scoring changes years ago (as with Volleyball, Badminton, and Squash). They feel it was very positive for them.

Another benefit of rally scoring is that we can also provide the return of the team competition to our tournaments. This is something that we have been wanting to do for a while, but it was just not possible due to match length. Instead, with the new rally scoring system, creating games of shorter duration gives us the time to again offer the team competition.

Rally scoring will take effect beginning 1 February 2022 at each IRF, PARC and ARF tournament going forward including the IRF World Junior Championships later in 2022.

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Two additional changes we consider very positive for inclusiveness and heightened opportunities in international competition are:

2. Adding a Mixed Doubles division to each tournament, something that has already been done successfully in several tournaments. Mixed Doubles is steadily gaining in popularity, and lead organizations across the globe are actively looking for ways to make sports even more inclusive and interesting for women to play.

3. Adding a Junior 21 & Under division to the IRF World Junior Championships. We believe this move is very important since it covers an age range between 18 and 21 years old when many players who do not yet have the experience and expertise to qualify for the adult teams. Those players have been known to leave Racquetball for other sports. Now, they will have the possibility to continue their international competitive development playing the sport of Racquetball.

World Cup age ranges will consist of 21 & Under; 18 & Under: and 16 & Under. Esprit Cup ranges will now be 14 & Under; 12 & Under; and 10 & Under. Bringing 14 & Under into the Esprit Cup category will give non-point-earning experience to additional players who did not qualify for their country’s national teams but are seriously preparing for future success in the older World Cup divisions.

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IRF Rule Change

At the World Congress at the IRF World Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala, on 28 November 2021, a rule change* was approved concerning appeals, effective 1 January 2022: The player must stop in the moment of a perceived wrong call and make an appeal immediately concerning the last play between the players. *This rule change will be reflected in the updated 2022-2024 IRF Rulebook to be released soon.

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Conclusion

Please be assured that these important changes underwent a long process of research and analysis involving many people and organizations who walked the path with us. Our gratitude goes to everyone for their invaluable collaboration.

We are confident that these decisions will benefit Racquetball and create further strength and momentum for success on the World stage and in the Olympic Chain of Events.

We wish everyone a smooth transition to these announced international competition changes, and we hope that the pandemic will allow us all to return to full normal activity as soon as possible!

Sincerely,

The IRF Board of Directors

Osvaldo Maggi (President/Argentina), Marcelo Gómez Pacheco (Vice President/Costa Rica), Luke St. Onge (General Secretary/USA), Cheryl Kirk (Secretary/USA), Carlos Ruiz (Treasurer/Venezuela), María Renée Rodríguez (Athlete Representative /Guatemala), Dr. Estuardo Wer (Guatemala), Miguel Perea (Mexico), Dr. Cho Wangki (Korea), Yunhui Cobb (USA), Aisling Hickey (Ireland).

IRF CHANGES ANNOUNCEMENT

 

The International Racquetball Federation, through its participation in ARISF, is pleased to announce that the International Testing Agency (ITA) is making available to International Federations a number of resources including anti-doping experts, educational tools, controls, and monitoring programs to support compliance with WADA-requested standards in the fight against doping in sport.

More information here or on our Anti-doping page.

ACODEPA Meeting

The Association of Pan American Sports Confederations (ACODEPA) Board met for the first time separate from the PASO GENERAL ASSEMBLY in Miami to discuss the future of the sport in the Americas.
Luke St. Onge, Secretary General of Pan American Racquetball Confederation is a member of the ACODEPA Board of Directors. Topics included: Future Pan Am Games, Pan Am Youth Games, and Pan Am Beach Games. PASO has changed its name from PASO to Pan American Sports as part of the major restructuring of sport in the Americas.
The 2019 edition of the Pan Am Games will take place in Lima Peru with opening ceremonies on
July 26 Racquetball will be a full medal sport as part of the program. They are building three new courts
in addition to the existing, racquetball will have 5 Racquetball courts one of which is a four-wall glass exhibition court.
Country qualifying will take place at the Pan American Racquetball Championships slated for April
15 to 21 in Barranquilla, Colombia.