World Flying Disc Federation Releases Spirit Scores from 2012 World Ultimate Championships

In News, News by WFDF

The World Flying Disc Federation today released 2012 World Ultimate and Guts Championships : Spirit of the game results (WUGC) held July 7-15 in Sakai, Japan. The following teams were honored for receiving the top scores in their respective divisions:  Philippines Open, Canada Women, South Africa Mixed, New Zealand Open Masters, and Germany Women Masters.  

As cited in the first section of the WFDF Rules of Ultimate, all players are responsible for administering and adhering to the rules — also known as Spirit of the Game (SOTG) — which places responsibility for fair play on every player in this non-contact sport played with a flying disc. As such, Spirit Scores are considered an integral part of the overall competitive success of participating teams.

The objectives of the WFDF Spirit of the Game (SOTG) scoring program are to:  (1) educate players on what Spirit of the Game is; (2) help teams to improve specific parts of their Spirit; and (3) celebrate SOTG by awarding a prize to the team that gets the highest score. The Spirit scores are compiled from ratings given by the players on each team to the other team after each game of an event, and ratings are given on a ranking from “0” (poor) to “4” (Excellent).  According to the Explanation Sheet which accompanies the WFDF Spirit of the Game Scoring sheet, it is expected that that all teams display normal, good spirit. The baseline score for each of five scoring categories is “Good” which equals 2 points. Points are issued by teams for their opponent after each game in five categories: Rules Knowledge and Use, Fouls and Body Contact, Fair-Mindedness, Positive Attitude and Self-Control, and Our Spirit Compared to Theirs. A final score of 10 is considered Good Spirit, although the SOTG Committee acknowledges that more work is needed to educate teams to score their opponents in the way it is defined by the scoring system to ensure consistency of data.

According to Patrick van der Valk, chair of the WFDF Spirit of the Game Committee, “the goal of the Spirit of the Game Scoring System is to recognize teams that serve as models for the sport, as well to help identify teams that need guidance regarding poor on-field behavior and lack of respect for the rules. WFDF is committed to SOTG as a core component in Ultimate, and we will continue to take efforts to ensure that all players are taking responsibility for fair play.”

In response to concerns voiced regarding unsportsmanlike conduct in certain games at the recent WUGC, WFDF Rules Committee chair Rueben Berg commented that, based on the WFDF Conduct Policy, avenues are available to deal with unsportsmanlike conduct during any WFDF event, if these issues are brought to the attention of the Tournament Rules Group (TRG). The measures available to the TRG include the ability to censure a player or team, adjust a result, order a game to be replayed, or disqualify a player or an entire team from the event if a player or team “exhibits violent, obscene, abusive, disruptive or illegal behavior, cheats, or otherwise attempts to create an unfair advantage for themselves or disadvantages others through circumvention of the rules; or otherwise causes substantial hardship, inconvenience or annoyance to spectators, officials or players.” According to WFDF, a number of teams were contacted during the tournament regarding their Spirit scores but no official complaints were lodged with the TRG during the tournament.

Following the event, WFDF has been communicating with several national associations regarding their teams’ spirit score performance and areas for improvement.

Robert “Nob” Rauch, WFDF President, added that “the WFDF Rules of Ultimate state clearly that Ultimate is a non-contact, self-refereed sport and that no player will intentionally break the rules. While from time to time players in a small percentage of games may fail to adhere to these rules, WFDF will continue to support the position of its members that Ultimate remain self-officiated. Self-refereed games, at all levels, have worked well for more than 40 years and we believe that, with ongoing commitment by the players, this system will continue to showcase Ultimate in the best possible light.”