On May 26 at a meeting in Budapest, all the Water Polo Federations present unanimously agreed and declared that the proposed changes from the FINA Bureau to the water polo rules will not be supported. The proposed rules from the FINA Bureau were to start competing in a 25m pool with 5 players per team (plus a goalie), as compared to the standard 30 meter pool and with 6 per side (plus a goalie). The rules will not be in effect at World Championships this summer.
FINA’s goal is to speed up the game making it an even more popular spectator sport. In addition, the new rules would make it easier for countries to become involved who want compete in the sport.
With two less players in the water (one less on each team) there should be more space in front of the goal making the 10 players move around more. This change is hoping to make the game more visually appealing to spectators. In addition, the goal of competing in a 25m pool instead of 30m was to allow countries without access to 50m pools to pick up the sport and become competitive internationally. These new rules have been tested though and it appeared that during the games nothing changed, the style of play was the same as it was with 6 players on each team.
The members present at the meeting in Budapest decided that “such changes to the rules do not in any way improve the quality of the sport and can seriously negatively affect that spirit of the game from both technical and promotional aspects thus limiting the development of the sport from a worldwide perspective,” according to a press release from LEN – the European governing body for the sport.
The members present at the meeting also want to have support from all other nations outside of Europe to make sure that the game of Water Polo is protected.