Applicable to all territories and member associations of

the World Coutanque Association.






Article 1 - Licenses

To enter a competition, each player must present his license provided by the World Coutanque Association.


Article 2 - Teams composition

Coutanque is a sport that is practiced in three formats:

Duel: 1 player against 1 player.

Doubles: 2 players against 2 players.

Triples: 3 players against 3 players.


In doubles and duels, each player has 3 knives.

In triples, each player has 2 knives.


Any other formula is forbidden.






Article 3 - Knives

Coutanque is played with knives provided by the World Coutanque Association and only those are approved for official competitions.


Any other knife is forbidden for reasons of equity between the players.


This knife meets the following characteristics:


1) Be engraved by the World Coutanque Association label.


2) The knives are supplied not sharp and it is forbidden to modify the blades of the knives.


3) It is also forbidden to anneal the knives to modify their hardness given by the approved manufacturer.


4) The forename and surname of the player and his/her pseudonym can be engraved as well as various logos.


5) The original weight of Coutanque's knife is 165 grams (5,82 oz) and this is its maximum. Its minimum weight is 150 grams (5,3 oz). The thickness of the knife is 3 millimeters (0,11 inch). It measures 34 millimeters (1,33 inch) at the widest and is 300 millimeters (11,81 inch) long.


Knives must not be processed or modified after receipt, and any addition or removal of material is prohibited outside of paragraph 4) of this article.


Article 4 - Targets

The targets of Coutanque are provided by the World Coutanque Association or manufactured by the organizer.

They are made of end grain and they are either round or square.

For national championships and international competitions these targets must be in spruce or better in poplar.

They must be placed horizontally on the floor of the Coutanque playing field.

These targets must meet the following characteristics:


1) The thickness should be between 5 centimeters (1,96 inch) and 15 centimeters (5,9 inch).


2) The diameter of the round target or the sides of the square target should be more than 40 centimeters (15,7 inch).


3) The nail is embedded to half its length in the center of the target.


4) The target is divided into three areas drawn in pencil or marker to easily read winning knives:

-The first area is a red disk 5 centimeters (3,9 inch) in diameter, the center.

-The second zone is a natural color ring and its outside diameter is 20 centimeters (7,8 inch).

-The third zone is a blue ring and its outside diameter is 30 centimeters (11,8 inch).


Article 5 - Nails

The nails are provided by the World Coutanque Association or manufactured by the organizer and only those are approved, for the National Championships and the International Competitions.

This nail meets the following characteristics:


1) Be in steel.


2) Have a diameter between 3 millimeters (0,11 inch) and 4 millimeters (0,15 inch).


3) Have a length between 70 millimeters (2,7 inch) and 90 millimeters (3,5 inch).


4) The head of the nail must be 4 millimeters in diameter (0,16 inch) with a tolerance: +/- 2 millimeters (0,07 inch).


5) The nail is engraved or marked at its half and it must always be visible and outside the target at the beginning of each round.


6) It can also be painted white.


Article 6 - Throwing Line

The throwing line is a rope or a white adhesive tape stretched to the ground.

It measures between five meters (16,4 feet) and must always be stretched straight.


Article 7 - Team colors

In order to distinguish the two teams, a ring of red or blue tape surrounds the knives.

This ribbon is provided by the organizer and should measure between 1 centimeters (0,39 inch) and 4 centimeters (1,57 inch) wide.

It is placed around the knife by the players as they wish.


Article 8 - Measuring instruments

A flat steel ruler is used to decide which knives win the point or points.


Article 9 - Marking of the ground

Ropes of bright colors and at least 5 millimeters (0,19 inch) in diameter are used to define the different limits on the ground.

Colored adhesive tapes may also be suitable.






Article 10 - Game Area

Any kind of field is possible to play the Coutanque provided that its surface is flat.

Coutanque playing field is in the play area.

For national championships and international competitions, the area of ​​play must have the following characteristics:


1) Minimum dimensions 6 meters (19,6 feet) deep by 5 meters (16,4 feet) wide.


2) Limits on the ground marked by cords or a sticky tape of strong color stretched on the ground. Only players involved in the match and the referee are allowed.


3) Several Coutanque playing field can play on the same area of ​​play. In case of limited space panels should separate them and whose proximity should not influence the smooth running of the match. Otherwise the organizer must provide a safe space between each Coutanque playing field of 3 meters (9,84 feet) minimum.


4) The playing area is expanded to each added Coutanque playing field.


5) If the playing area is composed of several Coutanque playing field, they must be aligned next to each other. It is forbidden to install one Coutanque playing field behind another.


6) A marked and secure space of ten meters (32 feet) behind the nail is mandatory in the absence of separation panels.


7) The items delimiting the different Coutanque playing fields must be at a minimum distance of 100 centimeters (3,2 feet) from the nail for the side panels and 150 centimeters (4,9 feet) for the bottom panel (optional).


8) These panels are 200 centimeters (6,5 feet) square and are made of wood. Sponsors and partners of the competition may be visible on these panels.


Article 11 - Coutanque playing field

This is the space in which the match is played and where the knives are thrown.

It is five meters (16,4 feet) wide by four and a half meters (14,7 feet) deep.

It starts from the throwing line and up to the separation panels.

The boundaries of the Coutanque playing field are marked with bright colored strings or colored adhesive tapes in the absence of separating panels.

The Coutanque playing field is mainly composed of three elements: the throwing line, the target and the nail.


1) The target is laid flat on the ground and the nail is embedded halfway into its center.


2) The throwing line is straight and is marked by a white rope or tape attached to the ground. It measures four meters.


3) The center of the throwing line must be placed 300 centimeters (118,11 inch) from the base of the nail.


4) Only players in action in the match and the referee are allowed to be on the Coutanque playing field during a current round.






Article 12 - Beginning of the match

Players toss a coin to determine which of the two teams will choose the Coutanque playing field (if it has not been decided by the organizers) and who will throw the first knife to the nail.

The team that wins the draw also chooses the color of the red or blue tape that will distinguish its knives and the other team will use the remaining color.


1) Players can moisten the target before the start of the match or the set if they wish.


2) Any of the players of the team who won the coin toss can open the match.


Article 13 - Throwing of the first knife and the following knives

1) The first knife of a round is thrown by a player of the team who won the coin toss or who won the previous round. Once this knife is thrown the round has begun.


2) The two teams throw their knives alternately one by one until the point is taken by one of them.


3) Thereafter, the team with no point plays until it has the point or has exhausted all its knives.


4) If, after a shot, no knife has the point anymore it is up to the other team (the one who had this point) to play in turn.


5) Once all the knives have been thrown by both teams the round is finished and the points counted.


6) The knives must be played one by one.


7) Any knife thrown cannot be replayed. However, if a knife is involuntarily deviated in its trajectory between the throwing line and the nail, by an animal, or by any moving object (ball, etc ...), it may be replayed.


8) During a match there is no test throw.


Players who do not observe these requirements may be sanctioned as provided by Article 36.


Article 14 - Sets and match

The sets are played in 11 or 13 points according to the choice of the organizer during the qualifications. The matches can be played in 1 or 2 winning sets according to the choice of the organizer during the qualifications. Quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals are always played in 2 winning sets of 13 points.

If both teams are within one point of victory, this round is decisive and is called the "gold round".


Article 15 - Points validity

The knife thrown by a player to score a point, must:


1) Have the tip of the knife planted anywhere in the horizontal part of the target. A knife planted on the vertical edge of it is not valid.


2) Be closer to the nail than the opposing knives. If several knives of the same team are closer to the nail than the best knife of the opposing team, so many points are then awarded to the team winning the round.


3) Not be disputed by the opposing team. Otherwise the referee is called to measure and designate the knife holding the point.


4) Stay planted until the opposing team has had time to play, otherwise it is counted as zero. If this happens, another knife must be thrown by the team having lost this point. Likewise, any knife that falls before the counting of points has been possible is also counted as zero, and it is the same if its fall causes other knives to fall.


5) Not bounce off the ground or a separation panels. In this case, the knife is a zero but any knives that it has moved remain in place. A player who deliberately bounces his/her knife is given a warning from the referee.


Article 16 - Coutanque throwing rules

For the knife thrown by a player to be valid, you must:


1) throw the knife from below. This is also call “under hand”.


2) have the knife leave the thrower's hand below chest level.


3) throw the knife vertically. Side throws are forbidden.


4) throw the knife in the direction of the target. Any lateral shift is prohibited.


5) Have both feet of the player in contact with the ground and not touching the throwing line.


6) Have no part of the body touching the ground in front of the throwing line before the knife has landed.


7) Be sure that the player does not use any object to throw, or mark the target to plant his knife in the desired place. The wearing of a glove is allowed.


8) Be sure that s/he does not have an extra knife in the other hand when he/she throws his/her last knife.


9) The referee judges without appeal if the throw is valid or not.


Any player not respecting these requirements incurs the penalties provided for in article 36.

As an exception, for disabled persons in wheelchairs, at least one wheel (that of the support arm) must rest behind the throwing line.


Article 17 - Time allowed to play

There is no time limit to play unless the jury decides otherwise for the smooth running of the competition.

In this case the referee can intervene and the players have one minute per throw.


Article 18 - Knives counted as zero

Any knife counts zero as soon as its tip is not planted in the horizontal side of the target.

A knife that has not been thrown within the time limit is also counted as zero until the end of the current round.

Any knife must remain in place until the end of the current round, especially if it straddles the target.

In the case where knives are equidistant from the nail these are zero and do not earn points.


Article 19 - Change of Knife

Players are forbidden to change Knives during the match, except in the following cases:

1) It is not found, the search time is limited to five minutes.

2) It breaks.


In both cases the player concerned can take a new knife or change his complete set for the next round.


Article 20 - Knife condition

After each round the players must be attentive to the good condition of their knives. A splinter created by an impact is common and it is advisable for each team to have a file, to prevent any injury.

It is forbidden to wet the knives, and before throwing the knives the player must also remove any trace of mud or deposit from them.

The thrower is advised to have a towel.


Article 21 - Contact or stopping of a knife by a player

It is forbidden for players to touch the knives on the target until the end of the count of points of the current round. If a player is at fault, s/he and his/her team suffer a penalty of at least two points. This penalty may be greater than two points and equal to the number of knives remaining in play in the opposing hands, if any.

The player voluntarily stopping a moving knife is immediately disqualified, as well as his/her team, for the current match or more according to article 36.


Article 22 - Player throwing a knife other than his/her own

The player who throws a knife other than his/her own receives a warning and the current round is cancelled.

If a player is at fault s/he and his/her team suffer a penalty of at least two points.

This penalty may also be greater than two points and equal to the number of knives remaining in play in the opposing hands, if any.


In case of recidivism during the competition the offending player and his/her team may be disqualified.


Article 23 - Knife played contrary to the rules

Any knife played contrary to the rules cancels the current round. The offending player receives a warning from the referee at first and his/her team suffers a penalty of at least two points.

This penalty may also be greater than two points and equal to the number of knives remaining in play in the opposing hands, if any.

However, the opponent has the right to enforce the benefit rule and to declare it valid. In this case, the knife is good and all that has moved remains in place for the continuation of the round. No penalty is applied in this case.


Article 24 - Attitude of players and spectators during the match

After the draw the players shake hands to wish each other a good match, and once it is over they shake again.

During the player’s preparation to throw his/her knife, the spectators and the players must observe the greatest silence.

Opponents must not walk, gesticulate, or do anything that disturbs the player.

Only the player’s team mates can stand between the nail and the throwing line. The opponents must stand behind the player and more than one meter away.

All players must have their knives in a sheath or held with the tip pointing the ground, to avoid any accident.

Knives must always be visible to easily count how many of them are still in play.

Players who do not observe these requirements could receive a yellow card if, after verbal warning from the referee, they persisted in their way of doing things.


Article 25 - Masked target

If, during a round, the target is unexpectedly masked by a tree leaf, a playing card or other object, these are removed.






Article 26 - Points measurement

The measurement of a point is the responsibility of the player who played last or one of his teammates. Opponents always have the right to measure after one of these players.

Measurements must be made with the steel ruler laid flat on the target, resting on the part of the knife closest to the nail and to the base of the latter.

Each team is advised to own this appropriate instrument.

It is not recommended to take measurements with your hands or fingers.

At the end of the round, and if necessary, the knives not winning points are withdrawn after agreement of the two teams, to measure the knives in dispute more easily.

Whatever the rank of the knives to be measured, and the time of the round, the referee can be consulted and his decision is final.

Players must stand at least two meters away from him when taking a measurement. However, on the decision of the organizing committee, particularly the case of the final stages, it can be decided that only the referee will be able to measure.


Players who do not comply with these requirements incur the penalties provided for in Article 36.


Article 27 - Knives at equal distances from the nail

When the two knives closest to the nail, belonging to each team, are at equal distance, three cases may occur:

1) If both teams have no more knives, the round is a draw and the start belongs to the team that had scored previously or who won the coin toss.

2) If a team is alone in having knives, it plays them and scores as many points as knives finally closer to the nail than the knife of the nearest opponent.

3) If both teams have knives, it belongs to the one who played the last knife to replay, then to the opposing team, and so on alternately until the point belongs to one of them.


If at the end of the round, no knife scores a point, the round is a draw and the start belongs to the team that had scored previously or who won the coin toss.

The round counts zero points in case of draw.


Article 28 - Knives or nail moved

If one of the players, making a measurement, moves by this action the nail or one of the knives in dispute two points are awarded to the opposing team.

If, when measuring a point, the referee moves or moves the nail or a knife, he decides in all fairness.

If a knife that has contact with the target is removed or moved by a player before the end of the round, at least two points are awarded to the opposing team. This penalty may also be greater than two points and equal to the number of knives remaining in play in the opposing hands, if any.

If a planted knife comes to move because of the wind, it is still valid if it remains planted.


Article 29 - Knives removed

It is forbidden for players to pick up knives played before the end of the round.

At the end of a round, any knife removed before counting points is zero.

No claim is allowed on this subject and the penalties provided for in Article 28 apply.






Article 30 - Claims

To be admitted, any claim must be made to the referee.

As soon as the match is over, no claim can be accepted.


Article 31 - Penalties for absence of team or player

At the time of the draw of the meetings and the proclamation of the results of this draw, the players must be present. A quarter of an hour after the end of the proclamation of these results, the team absent from the field of play is penalized by one point, which is credited to the opposing team.

After this time, the penalty increases by one point every five minutes.

These same penalties apply during the competition for each new match and in case of resumption of match due to an interruption for any reason.

A team which does not appear on the playing field within an hour following the scheduled start (or resumption) of the match is eliminated from the competition.

An incomplete team has the ability to start the match without waiting for its absent player however it does so without the knives of the absent player(s).

No player may be absent from a match or leave the field of play without the permission of the referee. In any case this release does not interrupt the progress of the match, nor the obligation for its partners to play their knives in the minute. If the player has not returned when s/he has to play his/her knives, they are cancelled at the rate of one knife per minute.

If the authorization has not been granted, the penalties of the article 36 shall apply. In the case of an accident or medical problem, a maximum interruption of half an hour may be granted. If the use of this possibility proved to be fraudulent the player and his/her team would be immediately excluded from the competition.


Article 32 - Arrival of late players

If, after the beginning of a round, the absent player presents him/herself, s/he does not participate in the current round. S/He is admitted into the match only from the next round.

If the absent player arrives more than one hour after the start of a match, s/he loses all rights to participate in it. If his/her teammate(s) wins this match, s/he will be able to participate in the following one. If the competition is held by a qualification tournament, s/he can participate in the second part regardless of the outcome of the first.

A round is considered started as soon as the first knife is thrown, whether it marks a point or not.


Article 33 - Replacement of a player

The replacement of a player in doubles, of one or two players in triples is authorized only until the official announcement of the beginning of the competition (whistle, announcement, etc ...) provided that the substitutes were not entered in the competition under another team.


Article 34 - Non-conforming knives


1) Any player guilty of a violation of the provisions of paragraphs 3) 4) and 6) of article 3 is obliged to change his/her knives under penalty of being excluded from the competition, as well as his/her team mate(s).


2) If a knife is not faked, but is used and does not successfully pass the examination or does not meet the standards set out in paragraphs (1) and (2) of the article 3, the player must change it.

S/He can also change his/her complete set.


3) Claims for knives made by players are only admissible before the start of the match. The latter therefore have an interest in ensuring that their knives and those of their opponents meet the official standards.


The referee or the jury may, at any time, ask to examine the knives of one or more players


Article 35 - Lack of sportsmanship

During a match teams showing lack of sportsmanship and respect towards the public, their opponents, organizers or referees, will be excluded from the competition. This exclusion may lead to the cancellation of any results obtained, as well as the application of the penalties provided for in Article 37.


Article 36 - Sanctions

For no respect of the rules of the Coutanque, players incur the following penalties:


1) Warning which is officially marked by the presentation by the referee of a yellow card to the offender.


2) If one of these players already has a yellow card, a knife will be removed for the next round.


3) Exclusion of the offending player for the part which is officially marked by the presentation by the referee of a red card to the offender.


4) Disqualification of the offending team.


5) Disqualification of both teams in case of connivance.


Article 37 - Wrong behavior

A player who is guilty of impropriety, cheating and, even more so, verbal or physical abuse of a leader, referee, other player or spectator incurs one or more of the following penalties, depending on the seriousness of the fault:


1) Exclusion from the competition.


2) Withdrawal of the license or official affiliation document.


3) Confiscation or return of rewards and titles.


4) Prohibition to participate in a Coutanque event in a period of one year or more.

The sanction taken against the offending player can also be applied to his/her teammates.


Sanction 1 is applied by the referee.

Sanction 2 is applied by the jury.

Sanctions 3 and 4 are enforced by the office board of the WCA.


A minimum correct dress must be respected by the players.

For security reasons, wear fully closed shoes protecting the feet.

Smoking is not allowed in the play area, including electronic cigarettes.

It is also forbidden to use a mobile phone during matches except for pictures or videos but the opponents must agree too.

Any player who does not observe these rules, would be excluded from the competition if s/he persisted after verbal warning from the referee.


Article 38 - Bad weather

In case of rain, all started leads must be completed, unless otherwise decided by the referee who is alone authorized, with the jury, to decide when to stop or cancel due to extreme weather.


Article 39 - Referees duties

The Referees appointed to lead the competitions are responsible for ensuring the strict application of the rules.

They have the authority to exclude from the competition any player or team that refuses to comply with their decision.

The dismissed or suspended spectators who, by their behavior, are the instigators of incidents on a playground, will be the subject of a report of the referee to the WCA.

The WCA will rule on the sanctions to be taken.


Article 40 - Jury composition and decisions

Any case not provided for in the rules is submitted to the referee who may refer the matter to the jury of the competition.

The jury is chaired by the organizer of the competition who invites before his departure between 2 and 4 members maximum to constitute this assembly.

Decisions made under this paragraph by the jury are final.

In the event of a tie, the President of the Jury has the casting vote.



Rules adopted by the board office of the

World Coutanque Association

on november the 19th, 2019

for application on January the 1rst, 2020.





• A-game : means playing at your best.

• B-game : means no longer playing your best.

• Blocker : designates a knife that is flat or straddling the target without scoring points.

• Contact : means the knife and the nail are in contact.

• Coutanque : this is a precision game played with knives thrown as close as possible to a nail placed on a log round flat on the ground.

• Coutanque playing field : this is the space in which the game is played and where the knives are thrown.

• Defense : means to place a knife on the target to avoid the opponent to score too many points.

• Fanny : means a team or a player did not score any point during a set. In this case the losers pass under the target raised by the victorious team.

• Wick knife : designates a knife that can be easily shoot.

• Gold round : this is when both teams or players are within 1 point of the victory.

• Hammer: designates a knife staying in balance on the head of the nail.

• Knife of the match : designates a knife which can win the match.

• Knife of the set : designates a knife which can win the set.

• Match : means two teams or two players being played in 1 or 2 winning sets.

• Nail : this is a piece of steel and the center of the target.

• Place: intend to plant his knife.

• Play area: this is the space in which Coutanque's playing field are arranged and where only players in action are allowed.

• Retake : it is to take the point back to the opponent.

• Round : this is the phase of a Coutanque match that ends when both teams have played all their knives.

• Schlack : very broad expression that often expresses the joy of the thrower but also any other need. For more precision ask Adam Celadin.

• Set : this is a phase of the match that is played in 11 or 13 points winners.

• Shoot: it is to throw its knife to take out an opponent knife.

• Solid knife : designates a knife well sticks and can not be easily take out in one shot.

• Splinter: it is a small fragment of metal created by an impact between two knives.

• Swap shot : means to place his knife in the place of another during a shot while taking out the affected knife.

• Take : means to have the point.

• Target : designates the surface on which we can score points. They are made of end grain and they are either round or square. For national championships and international competitions these targets are in spruce or better in poplar.

• Throwing line : this is the limit from which a knife can be thrown. It is represented by a rope or tape of white color stretched on the ground.

• Tilt : means the player is in a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts his B-game or worst.

• Touch : means a player touches or crosses the throwing line.

• Zero knife: means a knife does not earn points. For example, he may be at the same distance from the nail as an opposing knife or may have sticked after bounce. For more information, see Article 18 of the WCA Official Rules.



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