Spirit of the game

Spirit of the game is one of the most important elements of Ultimate and other disc sports such as Guts and Disc Golf. Because there is no referee, it’s all about sportsmanship, respect and fair-play, which in disc sports is called Spirit of the game.

What is Spirit of the game?

Spirit of the game is about sportsmanship, respect and fair-play, but it goes beyond that. Within the world of Ultimate and other disciplines, Spirit of the game is even more important than winning matches or titles. Spirit of the game is all about players knowing the rules, being honest to each other, being able to explain the rules concisely and clearly, giving opponents a reasonable chance to speak, and resolving conflicts as well and as quickly as possible. All this with respect for each other and for the sport.

Self-refereed sport

Actions such as committing intentional fouls, cheating, dangerous play and other ‘win-at-all cost’ behaviour, are in conflict with Spirit of the game. Because there is no referee, players themselves are responsible for observing the rules of the game. That is why it is important that participants know the rules well. That is why Spirit of the game is not about harsh penalties, but instead, the game counts on the players not to willingly violate the rules.


Ultimate and other disc sports, are non-contact sports. Therefore, it is not allowed to willingly push or touch your opponent, or tap them on the hand with the intention to take over the disc. In case a player does make a foul, the opponent can shout ‘call’ or ‘foul’ out loud. Together with the opponent in questions, you will discuss what has happened. If the opponent admits his/her foul, then you will get the disc. In case the opponent does not agree with the call that was made, the disc will go back to where it came from before the foul was made.

Spirit of the game during WUGC2020

The principle of Spirit of the game and the absence of a referee in Ultimate is upheld to the very highest level. This also applies to the WFDF 2020 World Ultimate & Guts Championships in Leeuwarden, where there’s a high degree of responsibility with the players and their teams as well. Compared with most matches on a national level, game advisors will keep scores and times and act as independent advisors in case players cannot sort things out between themselves. They will also act in case of severe or repeated misconduct in the field.

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