The prescribed penalties for each particular foul or type of foul can be found in section 3 under rule 10.
This rule deals with all the different ways of fouling and what the referee should award to the non-striker for each of them.
They are split into 4 different categories which are: -
1. Fouls that carry the penalty of a minimum of 4 points and a maximum of whichever is the value of the ball on for that particular stroke.
2. Fouls that carry the penalty of a minimum of 4 points and a maximum of the value of the ball on or the ball concerned for that particular stroke.
3. The higher value of the two balls struck when a simultaneous strike occurs except when both are reds or one is a free ball and the other is a ball on, when in either case, a foul has not occurred.
4. Fouls that incur the maximum seven-point penalty.
There are 12 fouls that come under the first category, 6 under the second, the third deals with only 1 and the fourth with 7.
The first twelve can only have a penalty of 4 points regardless of whatever else happens while the striker is at the table, with the proviso that no other fouls occur in which case the higher valued foul will be penalised. If all the balls have been cleared up to and including the brown when the minimum value of any ball on would be 5 then that would be the penalty for any of these fouls. Similarly, after a red has been potted and the striker has nominated either of the blue, pink or black balls the value of the ball on would be the value of the penalty in that case.
Examples would be, playing improperly from in hand, or playing a stroke when not in contact with the floor, or playing a jump shot.
As can be seen these types of fouls affect no other balls on the table other than the one or ones that can be lawfully struck with the first impact of the cue-ball and is why they are gathered under the heading of ‘value of the ball on only’.
The second group deals with those fouls that can be affected by balls other than the ball on during any particular turn at the table, such as striking before the referee has completed the spotting of a colour. The striker will not be playing at that ball and it will more than likely not be involved in any way in the stroke played but it is still the ball concerned in the awarding of the foul and if it were either the blue, pink or black then 5, 6 or 7 points would be the penalty not the value of the ball played at. Other examples of fouls in this category are, causing a ball not on to enter a pocket. Again this ball may not be part of any stroke played by the striker but if it were a ball with a higher value than 4 then the penalty would still be the higher one. Striking when any ball is not at rest is another in this section and a little thought will make it obvious that the moving ball could well be one of the higher valued colours when the striker plays at any other ball, with the ball moving not any part of the stroke played but still the ‘ball concerned’ and the reason for the referees call.
The third group is not a group at all, just one single rule that deals with a simultaneous hit that cannot be categorised in any of the other groups.
The final group deals with all the fouls that could occur that don’t necessarily involve the black ball but where no particular value can be ascribed to the fouls and are by decree, penalised by the maximum allowable.
As these are so important to know they are listed here with the reasons for the stated penalty being ascribed to them.
1. Uses a ball off the table for any purpose.
A ball that is off the table is neither a ball on or a ball not on. It is in effect, a dead ball and as such carries no value. This determines that the penalty must be the highest value allowable.
2. Uses any object to measure gaps or distances.
The same argument as in 1. applies here too as an object, whatever it is, has no assigned value. Therefore, the highest allowable is the penalty. The ABSC Code of Ethics states that players shall not leave chalk blocks on a rail for the duration of a stroke. This is because it could be misconstrued as a measuring aid and the referee is within rights to ask for its removal and to award 7 penalty points upon refusal. This should not be confused with other reasons for placing chalk on the rail. Some players will remove the chalk from a pocket when leaning across the table and place it on a cushion behind them as an obvious aid to comfort, or to avoid it falling out of a pouch whilst stretching across the table. Both of which are entirely acceptable as it can in no way be misinterpreted as a measuring aid if it can’t be seen.
3. Touches any ball during consultation as described in Section 3 Rule 14(g)
To avoid the necessity of trying to think of all the possibilities that could arise here and the different penalties that would have to be imposed, the rules committee has decided that 7 points shall be the penalty for this infringement, regardless of which ball is touched.
4. Plays at reds, or a free ball followed by a red in successive strokes.
Here the referee cannot know which colour the striker would have played at following the first red. Therefore, and again, there can be no assigned value to this action and a seven-point penalty is mandatory.
5. Uses any ball other than the white as the cue-ball for any stroke after the frame has started.
This clause is also in the same group as the first two in this section, namely that the cue ball does not carry an assigned value and as with both 1. and 2. the penalty prescribed is seven points.
6. Fails to declare which ball is the ball on when requested by the referee.
Here the rule addresses the fact that the referee could have no possible knowledge as to which of the colours the striker intends to play at and as in 3. must apply the highest available penalty.
It is this rule that makes it imperative that the referee call for a declaration from the striker, if none is forthcoming, when, after a red has been potted, which ball is the intended ball on if the cue ball comes to rest touching a colour. All other requests from the referee for a declaration must also be answered or incur the maximum penalty.
7. After a Red has been potted (or a free ball nominated as a Red), commits a foul before a colour has been nominated.
This also ties in with 3. and 4. above, the referee cannot know which of the colours was the ball on and must therefore award seven penalty points.
All these last seven fouls could involve the black ball but could equally happen without any involvement of that ball but must still have a 7-point penalty and is why they need a separate section to all the other rules on fouls.