It is easier to watch this video (vk.com, Russian social network) than explain

Libero of Sada Cruzeiro flew to the opponent's side but didn't touch the court with his feet. At the same time, his feet were in the opponent's space completely.

Rules allow this, in these sections:

  • 11.2.1 - allow penetrating
  • - allow touching with a foot
  • - allow touching with any part of the body (excepting feet)

But also Rules has this fault-section, verbatim (but with my emphasis):

11.4.3 A player’s foot (feet) penetrates completely into the opponent's court.

So, the question is: Am I right, that in the considered case libero didn't penetrate into the opponent's court? There could be other errors, but the main point of the question is libero's feet: they are in the opponent's space (assume, they don't touch the court). Is this a violation?

Update: Casebook // 2017-11-07

I've found this document: Referee Casebook 2017 (it is not listed on the site, but Google is our friend here). And do you know what? The action, described in this question is considered faulty there (see case 3.14); inexplicable but it's the fact

Update: New rules // 2019-01-06

I heard that the rules changed a little bit, and now such behavior is not considered as a fault anymore. Though, I can't find any proofs...

enter image description here


2 Answers 2


The libero has not definitely committed a fault. As you note, the crucial rule here is; quoting from the 2017-2020 rules:

to touch the opponent’s court with any part of the body above the feet is permitted provided that it does not interfere with the opponent’s play

The libero's feet do not touch the opponent's court as he is playing the ball, and he is careful to move his feet back over the centre line when retreating to his own side. Hence, there is no violation of in this instance.

However, if I were refereeing this, I would probably have said that the libero was interfering with the white team's play, violating 11.2.1:

It is permitted to penetrate into the opponent’s space under the net, provided that this does not interfere with the opponent’s play

This is a judgement call on the part of the first referee. In this example, the first referee is a professional referee and I'm not, so you should probably trust their judgement more than mine (the play was not called a fault).

  • this is not the best quality for such video, but I want to believe, that referee would have stopped the rally if libero would have touched the floor. Anyway, the main point of the question is: what about feet above the opponent's court? Nov 6, 2017 at 11:20
  • also, there is an opinion, that the floor was wet after libero's fall) so it is not safe to continue the rally. But the remaining actions had occurred outside of that wet area, that is why referee didn't stop the rally Nov 6, 2017 at 11:31
  • 1
    Now updated (rewritten) to account for the fact that the libero's feet don't touch the opponent's court.
    – Philip Kendall
    Nov 6, 2017 at 19:15
  • ♦ , I am completely agreed with you, but let's wait awhile for other opinions. If you'll have navigated to that post in VK.com, you'll have seen, that a lot of comments are there. Probably, it is the longest discussion in that group))) Nov 7, 2017 at 1:39

According to the very same case 3.14 stated in the casebook 2018, it is not a fault. Apparently, the FIVB has corrected the decision if it was different in 2017.

enter image description here

  • Nothing has changed here, the question is whether the libero interfered with the opponents or not, which is a judgement call on the part of the referee. The casebook entry explicitly says the player did not interfere.
    – Philip Kendall
    Sep 25, 2019 at 20:09

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