Changed Ball Repsonse Requirements #soccer-rules-2024

The current rule that a robot has to respond to the ball in a direct forward movement has a couple of disadvantages:

  • There is a loop hole where a robot can behave as a goalie that almost exclusively moves left and right if it moves forward a bit only if the ball is right in front of it. That was never intended behaviour as overpowered goalies are bad for overall gameplay.
  • The testing procedure interferes with game play and can therefore only be done when there is some other interruption in the game (e.g. a lack of progress situation or kick off). Even then other robots also move at the same time and the game situation ends up changed and a neutral kick off may become necessary in some cases to continue the game without giving any team an advantage from the referee intervetion.

To address these the idea would be to change the rules as follows:

Any robot must approach and touch the ball when it is placed on the nearest
neutral spot before lack of progress is called. When on its own side of the field,
any robot must be able to move the ball from the nearest neutral spot to the
opponent’s side of the field. If a robot does not do these things, it may be deemed
damaged at the referees discretion. (See <<damaged-robots, Damaged Robots>>)
However, this rule does not apply if the robot is hindered from detecting or playing
the ball by the opponent.

This would make a lack of progress situation have an in-built opportunity to check if robots are working and reduce the overall amount of interventions referees have to do in game play.

What do you think?

  • Keep “direct forward movement” requirement
  • Move to “must approach at nearest neutral spot” as described
  • Something else (please post your suggestion below)

0 voters

Please provide reasons for your opinions in this thread so we can consider all arguments

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PDF of this draft version is available here:

GitHub PR here: Add rule regarding ball play on the nearest neutral spot by marcodankel · Pull Request #104 · robocup-junior/soccer-rules · GitHub

Results from our open discussion via Zoom on 8/23:

Question: Marco explained the proposed rule change for ball response so that a ball test does not interrupt the game; see details on [reference to this thread].

Discussion: needed clarification that a bot is only declared damaged if the ball is placed on the nearest neutral spot to the robot potentially after multiple lack of progress calls; agreement made after clarification.

What if a robot blocks the nearest neutral spot, where does the ball go? A referee may use discretion to place the ball near the robot if there is suspicion that the robot is damaged. Marco pointed out that sometimes a neutral spot is not neutral in a situation that placing a ball could easily advantage or disadvantage a team.

TODO: need rephrasing in rules to cover the situation of when a neutral spot may not be one and when a neutral spot is covered by a robot. Adrian made suggestions that this should be decided before each tournament; Marco added that referee discretion can occur in every rule and agreed. Potential TODO: put a captain’s meeting requirement for tournaments with point by point agenda on how certain situations will be handled.

Result: no opposition once clarification is made.