20 Strangest Rules in Sports

Society relies on rules and laws to function properly, and the same is true for sports. Without regulations, sports would be chaos and the world would go mad.

However, some of these rules can be downright bizarre. Despite their peculiarities, though, good sportsmanship dictates that we follow them.

For instance, in wrestling, female athletes cannot wear underwire bras and all wrestlers must have a handkerchief at hand. Meanwhile, in basketball, players used to be able to air dribble, a skill that looked like juggling a ball in mid-air.

In race-walking, one foot must remain on the ground at all times, although this rule is frequently broken. Similarly, in soccer, goalies cannot be replaced during a shootout unless they are injured.

Softball players who injure themselves while rounding the bases are not allowed help from their teammates, as per the rulebook. Nevertheless, in a remarkable display of sportsmanship, opposing team members may assist the injured player.

Golfers must sign their scorecards, or face disqualification, while runners who remove their shirts during a race will also be disqualified. In show jumping, horses cannot have cuts on their legs, as it is believed to help them jump higher.

Water polo players are forbidden to touch or grab their opponents’ groin area, and splashing water in the face is also prohibited. In baseball, if a pitched ball lodges in the umpire’s mask, all runners advance a base.

Gymnasts must wear nude-colored or matching underwear with their leotards, or their team will be penalized. In Formula E racing, the electric motor of the driver who receives the most Twitter mentions during a race receives an extra boost.

Showing too much cleavage during a chess match can result in a loss, as judges may deem it distracting to the opponent. In football, after a fair catch, the team may choose to attempt an uncontested field goal.

Tennis players who lose their hats during a game risk losing the point, as their opponents may claim it was a distraction. Finally, in baseball, if a fielder attempts to catch a ball with their hat, the batter is awarded third base, and kicking the ball with a shoe is considered a handball in soccer.

In Canada, it’s possible to earn a point for making an error in Canadian football. This only applies if a field goal is missed and the ball travels far enough to land beyond the end zone. In Australia, if an AFL grand final game is tied at full-time, it’s played again the following week as there is no overtime – although this has recently changed. Meanwhile, there is a soccer field that has a tree standing in the middle of it, which is not a written rule but perhaps should be included in the rulebook.


1. Can a soccer player score with their hand?

No, soccer players are not allowed to score a goal with their hand. If a player intentionally touches the ball with their hand or arm, they will be penalized with a free kick or penalty kick.

2. Why are tennis players not allowed to curse on the court?

Tennis players are expected to maintain a certain level of sportsmanship and respect towards their opponent and the game. Cursing or using profanity on the court is considered unsportsmanlike conduct and can result in a penalty or disqualification.

3. What happens if a baseball player catches a ball with their hat?

If a baseball player catches a ball with their hat, it is considered an illegal catch and the batter will be awarded a single base. The player may also be penalized for using their hat to make the catch.

4. Can a basketball player dunk during warmups?

Yes, basketball players are allowed to dunk during warmups. However, some leagues may have specific rules regarding dunking during pregame activities.

5. What is the penalty for a false start in track and field?

A false start in track and field can result in disqualification from the race. The number of false starts allowed may vary depending on the competition’s rules.

6. Why are golfers not allowed to touch the line of their putt?

Golfers are not allowed to touch the line of their putt because it can affect the course of the ball. Any external influence on the ball’s path is considered a violation of the rules of golf.

7. Can a hockey player score a goal with their skate?

Yes, a hockey player is allowed to score a goal with their skate as long as it is not a distinct kicking motion. If the referee determines that the player intentionally kicked the puck into the net, the goal will be disallowed.

8. What happens if a football player celebrates too much after scoring a touchdown?

If a football player celebrates excessively after scoring a touchdown, they may be penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. This can result in a loss of yards or even a disqualification from the game.

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