About the Petanque Libre Project

Par les joueurs. Pour les joueurs.
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The rules of petanque published by the FIPJP are badly written and poorly designed for use in games played without umpires. Grass-roots players around the world need a set of rules that they can understand, interpret, and apply without an umpire. The goal of the Petanque Libre Project is to develop such a set of rules.

The canonical version of the rules is the English-language version available here at PetanqueLibre.wordpress.com. We welcome translations into other languages and will be happy to work with you if you decide to prepare a translation.

The French word libre means “free”, “open”, and “independent”. Stephen Ferg, an American who started the Petanque Libre project, chose the project name to indicate the fact that the project is independent of the FIPJP. Although Stephen was the only author of the current version of the rules, his hope was that the rules of Petanque Libre would be developed and maintained as an open international standard by a working group of interested and qualified players. See this interview with Steve Ferg.

To download a copy of the rules
Click on the “Rules of Petanque Libre” link in the menu bar at the top of this page.
The FIPJP rules can be found HERE and on the FIPJP web site.

To receive news about the Petanque Libre Project
News and announcements will be posted on our News & Announcements blog. To get email notifications of those posts, look to the right side of this page and find the Follow Blog via Email heading. Use it to subscribe to our posts. Your email address will not be publicly visible, and it will not be used for any other purpose. Email messages from Petanque Libre will contain an “unsubscribe” link, so you can unsubscribe whenever you wish.

To contact the Petanque Libre Project
Use the Leave a comment field (below) or email us at:

3 thoughts on “About the Petanque Libre Project

    1. Hi Blarty,
      In 2016 BOULISTENAUTE.COM conducted an informal survey of world-class players. (The Youtube video “Pétanque le TaT à 3 ou 4 boules? Interwiews” is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYTgJVBooKo ) By a ratio of 2 or 3 to 1, those players said that they would prefer to play singles with 4 boules. That’s why (as the section on differences between FIPJP and PL says) “PL rules contain a deliberately provocative specification (4 boules) because PL wants players to make an active decision about this matter— something that the Consensus Rule allows them to do.” The Consensus Rule allows players to play singles with whatever number of boules they prefer– 3, 4, 5, 6.


  1. I mean that’s great, but how many people can even purchase four boules? Everything is sold in sets of three. Who is going to buy two sets per person?

    Pétanque is already an incredibly esoteric sport outside of France. Why make it even less accessible and more confusing for the average person by specifying a configuration they can’t even obtain without needless expense?

    What petanque needs is more players, not more confusing rules. Just my opinion.

    I will say that I support the heart of this project. The FIPJP rules are poorly drawn, mostly poorly thought-out and could use a complete overhaul. In fact much of the sport itself could use a complete overhaul if you want to make it television or YouTube friendly such as larger jacks.

    Simplify and clarify and make it more spectator-friendly and friendlier for people who want to enter the sport and have a good time. Part of that is making it easier for people to find, understand and purchase the tools required for the game.


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