University Rules

University Rules and Regulations

The rules of The Hurlingham Polo Association will govern all tournaments played. Specific SUPA rules are as follows:


Team Captains

All teams must appoint an official Team Captain to represent the team. The Team Captain will take full responsibility for the eligibility of the players' SUPA Membership as well as the health, safety and riding competence of the team(s) entered.

In the event of cancellation of your tournament due to unforeseen or difficult to predict circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, infectious equine diseases or government directives that curtail sporting events,  SUPA will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of cancellation. 
SUPA will try to reschedule the same tournament for a later date.  If this is not possible or if there are players who may not be able to attend on the rescheduled dates SUPA will then reimburse entry fees, LESS A £10 administration fee, per Transaction.
***Please note that horse hire is the responsibility and forms a contract between Horse Hirers/ Coaches and Individual Member Institutions /Coaches and Members.  SUPA accept no responsibility and are not liable for the compensation of any charges that may be incurred.***


2018 Conditions and Eligibility of Players


Players are expected to be well turned out and safe for all SUPA matches and throughout the event.



Manufacturer Model Standard
Charles Owen Palermo Polo PAS015:2011 and VG1 01.040-2014
Charles Owen Polo Edition PAS015:2011 and VG1 01.040-2014
Charles Owen Young Rider Polo PAS015:2011 and VG1 01.040-2014
Armis Armis PAS015:2011, ASTM(Pending),VG1 01.040-2014 and Certified with MIPS
GPA Speed Air / Polo X2 UTAC/CRITT 04/2015 andVG1 01.040-2014
Instinct Polo TBC PAS015:2011

Instinct Helmets, which recently moved to manufacturing for their latest helmets to India. Any Instinct MK2 helmets that say ‘Made in India’ are not currently type approved, and as such do not meet the British Kitemarking and standards required, this said, the MK1 Instinct helmets made in the U.K. are fine and meet the correct standards. Further updated information from the HPA is available here:


As you are aware the HPA have introduced the minimum standard for polo helmets they must be type approved to at least one of the standards PAS015:2011 with CE mark, SNELL E2001, VG1 01.040 2014-12, or UTAC/CRITT 04/2015.

PAS015:1998 is the previous version of PAS015:2011.

Due to extended lead times retailers often carried high stocks of helmets and therefore there are still helmets available that are labelled PAS015:1998.

The HPA will allow the use of helmets that are labelled PAS015:1998.

GOGGLES/ EYE PROTECTION:  It is recommended that goggles or some form of protection are worn by every player. Lensless or specialised goggles are available from Polo equipment suppliers. Please contact our sponsors R.J. Polo who will be glad to help with any advice you may need.
Please note that we are planning to make eye protection mandatory for all players very soon, to bring us into line with affiliated associations in other countries.

KNEE PADS:  Knee pads are to be worn in all SUPA sanctioned events and Championships, as per HPA Rule 3,b.

SPURS:  This are not allowed under any circumstances in any SUPA sanctioned match or Championship, and no dispensation will be given. If you are seen wearing spurs, you will be asked to remove them.

: GOPRO cameras or any other miniature recording devices are not to be worn or held by any person once they are mounted.

HORSE HIRE: If you are hiring ponies to play at a SUPA event, the providers are legally required to hold a current REL, (Riding Establishments License) to  hire out horses for payment or remuneration. Please make sure you have seen a copy of their REL or that they are current APSPH members.

Due to the possibly disruptive nature of sideline instructing and heckling and it’s effect on some players, especially in the beginners division, some form of order needs establishing. During play the Umpires will determine what is aggressive coaching and what is genuine encouragement, and act accordingly. All players are requested to talk to the umpire regarding any issues they may have.
This does not mean that you cannot cheer your team on or that coaches cannot do their jobs. On the contrary, 'atmosphere maketh the game'. However any coaching instructions or heckling of opposing teams must be deemed to have been done in the spirit of the game of polo.

Any tack or safety issues that may have been missed by umpire or player can be highlighted from the sidelines, as normal, during play.

The rules as laid down by the H.P.A. are to be applied, unless SUPA and their officials deem otherwise.  (For example, in the Arena, SUPA does not score '2 pointers' from goals hit outside the 25 yard mark in any of the division with the exception of the OPEN and SAPA Divisions).  The rules may be interpreted in a slightly different manner due to the facilities used by the Officials on the day. Changes and interpretation will be listed on the notice boards before play if made.  This mainly affects beginner and some novice matches.  Decision of the Section Manager and Tournament Chairman will be final.

SUPA AUTHORISED EVENTS (SUPA SANCTIONED EVENTS):  [BASED ON THE HPA - "Unauthorised Polo Events" since December 2014 Regulation 1.15 ]

SUPA is responsible for Authorising "Sanctioned Events, National/Regional Tournaments and National Championships" which are acknowledged SUPA activities and considered Membership Benefits. These activities which involve SUPA Member-players enjoy many membership benefits, including limited public liability insurance. (Please see our insurance information for details).  Participation in  ANY OTHER "non-Sanctioned" or  non "SUPA" polo activities involving SUPA members render player Membership and its benefits null and void (this means:  SUPA all benefits including insurance benefits will not apply and membership temporarily suspended).
SUPA Sanctioned events must be organised by SUPA/SAPA members in conjunction with a SUPA /HPA recognised club.  
The Event must have one fully qualified paramedic per pitch / arena. This for the duration of the tournament, plus a reasonable time at the start and finish, to allow for horse movements.  
Ideally a vet should be on site, however an 'on call' vet will suffice if there are less than 30 teams and the vet is reasonably close by.  
Tournament officials should include an HPA approved coach on site and an appropriately qualified Umpire.
Horse welfare is paramount and the club horse welfare officer or a person who can carry out this duty must be in attendance.  The club coach may accept responsibility for this. This will include spot-checking Passports and that vaccinations are upon to date, when necessary.
All horses hirers must be members of the APSPH or hold a valid riding establishment licence.
Players must be SUPA members or HPA members who are SUPA members as well.  SAPA members may play in certain tournaments.
SUPA accepts NO responsibility for the selection of teams and we recommend that you look at the rules for players below, with regard to handicaps and playing sections.
Ideally a risk assessment should be done for each event.  However the Club may adapt their own risk assessment.
SUPA officials (Membership registrar and  Schools/ University section manager) must be sent details of all players, teams and times.


All players will play off the minimum handicap of  "S" or the handicap as given by a registered HPA Club if they are a paid up member.  SUPA matches are played open, although handicaps are used to seed and Section players.  The Outdoor Registered handicap is the one used by SUPA unless the player in question is awarded a separate Arena Handicap.  For Arena an Outdoor Handicap  plus 1 is taken.  ALL players must be Registered and paid up members of SUPA before play.  University Players benefit from a Limited Public and Accident Insurance provided through HPA and Lycetts Insurance Brokers..

All players must be current full-time or part-time students at a SUPA Member University, and a member of the institutions Polo Club or Society.  The Chairman or Captain of the University/College Club or Society is legally responsible for its playing members, their riding proficiency and conduct and attest to these qualifications when selecting and entering a team to compete at any SUPA Event or Tournament.   To enable SUPA member players to enter individually, SUPA offers a Combined Section which allows players to play in teams "made-up" or approved by the SUPA Section Manager . 

  • POLO CROSSE:  Players who play or have played Polo Crosse will play off the handicap given and assessed by that HPA Polo Club. If a player is not a member of an HPA Club, then they will be asssessed by SUPA, through consultation with the appropriate Certified HPA Instructor. Non handicapped players will be registered as "S".  All Polo Crosse Players must inform us of a change in handicap.  Any Polo Crosse players who are new to SUPA must send us a declaration of Handicap and the name of their SUPA coach.
  • OVERSEAS PLAYERS:  These players will play off their last registered HPA Handicap, or if not registered then the handicap given by their Governing Polo Association. It is the Team Captain, Manager, Club Captain or Chairman's responsibility to clarify this with all overseas players and notify SUPA immediately.  The official online registration or signature on the Official Tournament Entry form will confirm the eligibility and attest to the safety of the players entered by the Team Captain, Manager, Club Captain or Chairman.  In addition, we are asking all overseas student players who are members of SUPA to declare whether they have played Polo overseas and at what handicap. We expect all University Captains and/or Coaches to tell us of any players (overseas or not) that have declared previous experience in Polo and to state the handicap equivalent that they have played. This must translate to HPA Grass handicap and will determine the level that they must play in SUPA.
  • ALUMNI PLAYERS: All other former school or university players or bonefide full-time staff may be eligible to join SAPA, SUPA Alumni Polo Association, Ltd, and participate in SAPA Polo events.  SAPA, an HPA Association, is a separate and privately owned affiliate of SUPA, Ltd. which was founded to provide a "bridge" to club polo and to generate funds in order to grant monies to SUPA as and when possible.

BEGINNER: This Section is for players who have just started playing in this current academic year **If a player has ever played polo in any shape or form in the past they are not eligible to play in this section**. Where possible, the Member Institutions' HPA Instructor will be responsible for the suitability and safety of these players and as required provide evidence of  Level One Certificate of Polo Riding Competance Certification normally issued if requested.  This Section is for "S" or un-registered players.
NB: In the Beginner Section only the ball may be thrown in from the centre following every goal.

This section is for beginner players who are in their second year of polo, who cannot again play in beginner and who do not feel confident enough to move up to Novice.  It is around the Beginner 3/4 mark in terms of experience and ONLY players who played in Beginner 3 or 4 the previous year are eligible.  You may only play in Median for your second year of Polo ie: for one year.   Not necessarily consecutive. You must then move up to Novice.

NOVICE: This Section is for any player "S" or -2 handicapped players deemed safe by their HPA Instructor. Beginners can play in this Section.
However we have noticed that certain players are spending an inordinate amount of time playing in Novice. A normal Student will spend 3 or 4 years at University, however some go on to take higher qualifications and some spend 4+ years in Novice. This has resulted in under handicapped players giving an unfair advantage to their teams.

Players may only play in the Novice Division for a maximum of three consecutive years. (Regardless of the section(s) they may have played in within the division). They must then move up to Lower intermediates.
We will be implementing this next academic year.  However it would be nice if players who have been in Novice for three years or more this (2019/2020) year play in Lower Inters or above next year (2020/2021).
Novice Teams that have won their section must play in a higher section in the next National Tournament. For example the team that wins Novice 3 must enter into Novice 2 in the next National tournament.
Also the winning team members of Novice 1 must play in Lower Intermediate (or higher) either as a team or as combined players in the next year's National Tournament.

SUPA appreciates that these Novice rules may be problematical for club presidents to implement, as teams do swop out players between tournaments. However we expect to be informed of any good reason for a team to remain ‘in section’, well before the closing date for entries. Any infringements of this rule may result in SUPA reserving the right to place teams in a higher section.
Please note that from June 7th 2019 (Summer Nationals) we are trialling Four players per side in Novice sections 1 and 2.


LOWER INTERMEDIATE:This Section is for teams comprising of any player up to and including a -1 handicap.

UPPER INTERMEDIATE: This Section is for teams making a maximum of "3" goals in total.

OPEN: This Section is for teams over "3" goals in total.

COMBINED SECTION:  This Section is for any player of any handicap, who is unable to join a team elsewhere due to lack of members, handicap or availability.  SUPA will "make-up" and determine the balance these teams. This Section may be split depending on numbers and handicaps.


The final score of any match in any section must be agreed by umpires, scorers and players from both teams prior to leaving the arena/pitch. This means that any non playing team captains or presidents must make their objections known to an official i.e. umpire before the teams leave the arena/pitch

During tournaments any players who are late for the start of their chukka and do not have a valid excuse or have not informed SUPA well beforehand, may result in the ball being thrown in and the match being played with one player down.
The late player may not join play until the whistle has been blown for a break in play.

 LIMITED LIABILTY INSURANCE:    All players are to be fully paid up before they play. Forms can be completed and payment made online from the website .  The annual coverage is for 12 months from registering. From 2015-2016 the annual subscription is £55 per member-player which includes Limited Public Liability and Personal Accident Insurance. SUPA does not offer Personal Medical Insurance coverage which should be sought by its member-players.  We are the first Polo Association provide this benefit and details of the policy can be downloaded from the HPA website .  It is the players responsibility to be registered and provide proof of payment to any third party if required. 

MEDICAL INSURANCE: SUPA does not provide any level of medical insurance coverage.  All players must determine and confirm with their University if sports insurance, including polo, is available whilst playing university polo.  All players are advised to seek and secure all risk insurance coverage which includes the sport of polo.  Polo is a dangerous sport.


If a team or player has to withdraw less than 10 days before a tournament the entry fee will be forfeited and penalties [currently £30] may be affixed.  Please coordinate with the Section Manager to mitigate possible fines as early as possible. Withdrawals on the day of the Tournament will be subject to the relevant HPA Rules and the appropriate actions taken. 

Teams with commitments that result in them not being able to play on the first day of the tournament are making it increasingly difficult to make a fair draw.

If Players cannot attend or make themselves available for the entire duration of the University National tournament, then they cannot enter that Tournament. If they enter and then tell us subsequently that they cannot make it, they may forfeit their entry fee.
Please look at the attendance requirements below. Please also be aware of our new Substitution Rule above.

Winter Arena nationals:
All Four Days. Thur/Fri/Sat/Sun Beginner/Median/Novice Exceptions: SAPA ( 2Days Sat/Sun). Open (2 Days Sat /Sun). Lower Inters and Upper Inters (3 Days Fri/Sat/Sun)

Summer Arena Nationals
All Three days Fri/Sat/Sun Beginner/Median/Novice/Lower Inter/Upper Inter. 
Exceptions: SAPA (2 Days Sat/Sun) Open (2 Days Sat/Sun)

Some teams have historically been substituting a player, of their choosing, at very late notice (sometimes replacing a placeholder) resulting, in some instances, with handicapping infringements going undetected due to time constraints.

Late substituted players will now be chosen by SUPA, from a pool of appropriately handicapped players who are available to play.
In the event of a team, having already entered a tournament, that then inform SUPA one of their players is not able to play, for whatever reason, then SUPA reserve the right to select and appoint the substitute player for that team.

A pool of players of all handicaps will be created from players who are looking to play in a team. SUPA will then choose from this pool.
University teams may make players available for this pool; however SUPA will still retain the right to select the substitutes for teams requiring a substitute player. The choice will be arbitrary but fair and made by SUPA and no player will be guaranteed a place in any team they may have chosen.

Note: Obviously SUPA are asking players to enter the National Tournaments as early as possible and we appreciate that you may have genuine reasons to substitute players. Therefore this rule will take effect AFTER the closing date for entries. For example, the closing date for the Summer Nationals is 25thMay 2018.
You may still half slot in any of the divisions but you must tell us the names (and handicaps where possible) of both players.  The website only takes 1 player and so we need to know who is playing the other half of the slot.

In the event of cancellation of your tournament due to unforeseen or difficult to predict circumstances such as adverse weather conditions, infectious equine diseases or government directives that curtail sporting events,  SUPA will endeavour to give as much notice as possible of cancellation. 
SUPA will try to reschedule the same tournament for a later date.  If this is not possible or if there are players who may not be able to attend on the rescheduled dates SUPA will then reimburse entry fees, LESS A £10 administration fee, per Transaction.
***Please note that horse hire is the responsibility and forms a contract between Horse Hirers/ Coaches and Individual Member Institutions /Coaches and Members.  SUPA accept no responsibility and are not liable for the compensation of any charges that may be incurred.***