Rules of Amateur Status

Rules of Amateur Status 2021


The T&RA reserves the right to change these Rules of Amateur Status ("the Rules") at any time. For up-to-date information, please contact the Chief Executive Officer (executive@tennisandrackets.com) or refer to www.tennisandrackets.com.

Application of Rules

These Rules apply to the playing of Tennis and Rackets in the UK or organised under the auspices of the T&RA and to members of the T&RA wherever they are playing the games.


The Definitions are listed alphabetically and, in the Rules themselves, defined terms are in italics.

AmateurAn "amateur", whether playing competitively or recreationally, is one who plays for the love of the games, and not as a profession and not for financial gain.
ASC"ASC" means the Amateur Status Committee, a sub-committee of the T&RA Board ("the Board").
Governing BodyThe "Governing Body" for the administration of the Rules of Amateur Status in the UK is the T&RA.
Professional AssociationsThe Rackets Professionals Association and the International Real Tennis Professionals Association.
Instruction"Instruction" covers teaching the on-court aspects of playing. This does not cover teaching the psychological aspects of the game, the etiquette or rules.
JuniorA "junior" is an amateur who has not reached the age of [18] or such other age as determined for this purpose by the T&RA.
Non-amateurA "non-amateur" is an amateur who has lost amateur status under the Rules but is not deemed to be a professional by a Professional Association. A Trainee Professional also has non-amateur status until qualified.
Prize VoucherA "prize voucher" is a voucher, gift certificate, gift card, or the like approved by the competition organiser for the purchase of goods or services from a professional's shop or other retail source.
T&RA"T&RA" means The Tennis & Rackets Association.
Retail ValueThe "retail value" of a prize is the price at which the prize is generally available from a retail source at the time of the award.
Rule or Rules"Rule" or "Rules" refers to these Rules of Amateur Status. These Rules are intended to be flexible and to act as general guidance. They are to be observed according to their letter and spirit. In applying them, the Board may deviate from the Rules in any exceptional circumstances which it may identify and may issue such further guidance upon their application as it may consider appropriate.
Symbolic PrizeA "symbolic prize" is a trophy made of gold, silver, ceramic, glass or the like that is permanently and distinctively engraved.

The Rules of Amateur Status

Rule 1 - Amateurism

1-1. Amateur Status. Amateurs must play the game and conduct themselves in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Rules and must not conduct or identify themselves as professionals. Amateur Status is a universal condition of eligibility for playing in competitions as an amateur. A person who acts contrary to the Rules may forfeit their amateur status in accordance with the Rules and thereby be ineligible to play in amateur competitions.

1-2. Purpose of the Rules. The purpose of the Rules is to maintain the distinction between amateur and professional and to ensure that amateur sport, which is largely self-regulating with regard to the respective Rules and handicapping, is free from the pressures that may follow from financial incentive. The Rules are intended to encourage amateurs to focus on the enjoyment of the games and their challenges, and to eschew any financial gain.

1-3. Doubt as to Rules. A person who is in doubt as to whether a proposed or past course of action is or was permitted under the Rules should consult the T&RA. An organiser or sponsor of an amateur competition or a competition involving amateurs who is in doubt as to whether a proposal is in accordance with the Rules should consult the T&RA.

1-4. Contracts and Agreements.

(a)National Association.An amateur may enter into a contract and/or an agreement with their national association, provided that no payments, compensation or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, whilst still an amateur, except as otherwise provided in the Rules, are involved.
(b)Sponsors and Other Third Parties.An amateur may enter into a contract and/or an agreement with a third party (including but not limited to a sponsor), provided:

(i) The player is at least 18 years of age, and

(ii) Except as otherwise provided in the Rules, the amateur does not obtain payment, compensation or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, whilst still an amateur.

Exception: An amateur under the age of 18 may apply to the T&RA to be allowed to enter into such a contract, provided it is of no more than 12 months duration and it is non-renewable.

Note 1: An amateur is advised to consult the T&RA prior to signing any such third-party contract and/or agreement to ensure that it complies with the Rules.

Rule 2 - Professionalism

2-1. General. For the purpose of applying these Rules, a professional is one who is or has been a member of any professional association (RPA, IRTPA).

Exception: An amateur may hold or retain a category of professional association membership, provided this category does not confer any playing rights.

Note 1: An amateur may enquire as to their likely prospects as a professional, including applying unsuccessfully for the position of a professional, and may work in a professional's shop and receive payment or compensation, provided the Rules are not infringed in any other way.

2-2 Dual Status. A professional working at a location where both games are played shall be considered a professional at both games, unless applying for amateur status in one of the games in which professional status is not held. Such an application for dual status shall be made to the T&RA via the Chief Executive, who will refer to the ASC for advice. The ASC will consider the following conditions when considering an application:

a.Shall apply the principles of the Rules of Amateur Status.
b.Shall take into account the applicant's reasons for requesting dual status.
c.Shall take into account the factors set out in Rule 9 (Reinstatement of Amateur Status).
d.Shall be satisfied that the applicant will not violate the Rules of Amateur Status for the game at which they wish to be an amateur.

Rule 3 - Prizes

3-1. Playing for Prize Money. An amateur must not play for prize or appearance money in any match, competition, event or exhibition. However, an amateur may participate where prize money or its equivalent is offered, provided that, prior to participation, rights to accept prize money in that event are waived.

An amateur may accept a symbolic prize and a non-money prize or prize voucher of retail value not in excess of £500 or the equivalent, or such other figure as may be decided by the T&RA. This limit applies to the total prizes or prize vouchers received by an amateur in any one competition.

Note 1: The prize limits apply to any form of competition.

Note 2: The responsibility to prove the retail value of a prize rests with the competition organiser.

Rule 4 - Expenses

4-1. General. Except as provided in the Rules, an amateur must not accept expenses, in money or otherwise, from any source, to play in (or mark) a match, competition, event or exhibition.

4-2. Receipt of Competition Expenses. An amateur may receive reasonable expenses, not exceeding the actual expenses incurred, as prescribed in clauses a-d of this Rule.

a.Family Support.An amateur may receive expenses from a family member or a legal guardian.
b.Individual Events.An amateur may receive expenses when competing in individual events provided they comply with the following provisions:

(i) Expenses must be approved in advance by the T&RA via the Chief Executive (which may grant approval subject to conditions) and, subject to such approval, may be paid by the player's club.

(ii) Where the competition is to take place outside the UK the expenses must be approved as above and may be paid by the national association in the country hosting the competition.

The T&RA may limit the receipt of expenses to a specific number of competitive days in any one calendar year and an amateur must not exceed any such limit. In such a case, the expenses are deemed to include reasonable travel time and practice sessions for the competition.

Exception: An amateur must not in any event receive expenses, directly or indirectly, from a sponsor (Rule 1-4) or any other similar source as may be determined by the T&RA.

c.Team Events.In a team competition, practice session or training events, an amateur may receive expenses when representing: ­country, ­club, or ­a similar body (educational institution or military service)

Note: Unless otherwise stated, the expenses must be paid by the body that the amateur is representing or the national association in the country hosting the competition.

d.Exhibitions.An amateur who is participating in an exhibition may receive reasonable expenses not exceeding the actual expenses incurred.

4-3. Subsistence Expenses. An amateur may receive reasonable subsistence expenses, not exceeding actual expenses incurred, to assist with general living costs, provided the expenses are approved beforehand by the T&RA via the Chief Executive.

Exception: An amateur must not in any event receive subsistence expenses, directly or indirectly, from a sponsor (Rule 1-4) or any other similar source as may be determined by the T&RA.

Rule 5 - Instruction in the Playing of the Games

5-1. General. Except as provided in the Rules, an amateur must not receive payment or compensation, directly or indirectly, for giving instruction.

5-2. Where Payment Permitted.

a.Schools, Colleges, etc.An amateur who is employed by an educational institution may receive payment for instruction to students in the institution, provided that the total time devoted to such instruction comprises less than fifty percent of the time spent in the performance of all duties as such an employee.
b.Approved Programmes.An amateur may, subject to the approval of the T&RA via its Chief Executive, receive expenses, payment or compensation for giving instruction as part of a T&RA approved programme.

Rule 6 - Elite Amateurs

6-1. General. Except as provided in the Rules, an amateur must not use their reputation or status as a notable player of the games ("notable status") for any financial gain.

6-2. Promotion, Advertising and Sales. An amateur must not use their notable status to obtain payment, compensation, personal benefit or any financial gain, directly or indirectly, for (i) promoting, advertising or selling anything, or (ii) allowing their name or likeness to be used for the promotion, advertisement or sale of anything.

Exception: An amateur may allow their name or likeness to be used for no financial gain to promote: (i) their national association; or (ii) any competition or event that is in the best interests of the games.

The amateur must not obtain any payment, compensation or financial gain, directly or indirectly, for allowing their name or likeness to be used in these ways.

Note 1: An amateur may accept equipment from anyone dealing in such equipment provided no advertising is involved and the benefit is disclosed in advance to the T&RA via the Chief Executive.

Note 2: Limited name and logo recognition is allowed on equipment and clothing. Clothing worn may only bear a manufacturer's small emblem (one per garment), defined as nothing larger than 5x5 centimetres on shirts or shorts/skirts.

6-3. Grants and Bursaries. An amateur may accept the benefits of a grant or bursary, the terms and conditions of which have been approved by the T&RA.

6-4. Membership. An amateur may accept an offer of membership or privileges of a club, without full payment for the class of membership or privilege, unless such an offer is made as an inducement to play for that club.

Rule 7 - Other Conduct Detrimental with Amateurism

7-1. Conduct Contrary to the Purpose of the Rules. An amateur must not take any action, including actions relating to gambling, that is contrary to the purpose of the Rules.

Rule 8 - Procedure for the Enforcement of the Rules

8-1. Decision on a Breach. If a possible breach of the Rules by an amateur comes to the attention of the T&RA, it is a matter for the T&RA Board to decide whether a breach has occurred. Each case will be investigated in a manner deemed appropriate by the Board and considered on its merits. The decision of the Board is final.

8-2. Enforcement. Upon a decision that a person has breached the Rules, the T&RA Board may declare the amateur status of the person forfeited or require the person to refrain from specified actions as a condition of retaining amateur status. The decision of the T&RA shall be notified to the person by the Chief Executive.

Rule 9 - Reinstatement of Amateur Status

9-1. General. All applications for reinstatement of amateur status shall be sent to the T&RA Chief Executive. The ASC shall review any application and advise the T&RA Board upon its views and recommendation in relation to the same, and the Board shall decide whether to (i) reinstate to amateur status a professional or non-amateur, (ii) prescribe a waiting period necessary for reinstatement, or (iii) deny reinstatement.

9-2. Applications for Reinstatement. Each application for reinstatement will be considered on its merits, with consideration being given to the following principles:

a.Awaiting Reinstatement.An applicant for reinstatement to amateur status should undergo a period awaiting reinstatement as prescribed by the T&RA Board. The period awaiting reinstatement starts from the professional's application for the reinstatement of amateur status.
b.Period Awaiting Reinstatement.No applicant is normally eligible for reinstatement until having conducted themselves in accordance with the Rules for a period of at least one year. The following guidelines on periods awaiting reinstatement may be recommended by theASC:
  • ­Under 6 years of professional status 1 year
  • ­6 years or more 2 years

This period may be extended if the applicant has played extensively for prize money. The ASC reserves the right to recommend an extension or shortening of the period awaiting reinstatement. A player of national prominence should expect a longer probation period.

c.Status While Awaiting Reinstatement.An applicant for reinstatement must comply with theseRules, as they apply to an amateur, during the period awaiting reinstatement and is not eligible to enter competitions as an amateur. However, they may enter competitions and win a prize solely among members of a Club where they are a member, subject to the approval of the Club. They must not represent such a Club against other Clubs unless with the approval of the Clubs and/or the organising Committee.

An applicant for reinstatement may enter competitions that are not limited to amateur players, subject to the conditions of competition, without prejudicing their application, provided they do so as an applicant for reinstatement. Rights to any prize money offered in the competition must be waived and any prize reserved for an amateur must not be accepted (Rule 3-1).

9-3. Procedure for Applications. Each application for reinstatement must be submitted to the Chief Executive, in accordance with such procedures as may be laid down and including such information as the ASC may require.

9-4 Guidance for professionals wishing to reinstate their amateur status is at Annex A.

Rule 10 - Guidance for Players Taking up Temporary Jobs

10-1 Guidance for players who wish to take up temporary jobs at clubs without compromising their amateur status is at Annex B.

Annex A

Guidelines for an Application for Amateur Status by a Professional or non-amateur

1. When considering an application, the Amateur Status Committee (ASC) shall:

a.Apply the principles of the Rules of Amateur Status.
b.Be satisfied that the applicant will not violate the Rules of Amateur Status.
c.Consider how long a probationary period the applicant must serve.

2. The applicant shall normally be asked to serve a probationary period during which they must conduct themselves in accordance with the Rules of Amateur Status. Whilst on probation they shall have the status of a non-amateur and:

a.Not violate the rules of amateur status.
b.Not be eligible to play in any specifically amateur or professional championships.
c.Not be eligible to represent their club against another club unless permitted by both clubs' rules.
d.Be eligible to play in any open championships or other events for which both amateurs and professionals are eligible.
e.Be permitted to play only in club competitions where they are a member, subject to the club's approval.

3. An applicant shall normally serve at least one year on probation. However, the ASC shall consider each case on its merits and may recommend a longer or shorter period, having particular regard to a player's current playing standard. Trainee professionals who decide after a short period not to pursue a career as a Tennis/Rackets professional should be treated sympathetically.

4. Before deciding the length of the probationary period, the ASC and subsequently the Board shall consider:

a.The applicant's reasons for requesting amateur status.
b.The applicant's skill as a player, i.e. lowest Tennis handicap and best results in Tennis/ Rackets Championships.
c.The amount of prize money won.
d.The length of time as a professional and/or a non-amateur.
e.Whether any financial help has been received from the T&RA.
f.Any length of time prior to making the application during which the applicant has conducted themselves in accordance with the Rules of Amateur Status.
g.Whether the applicant has been formally designated an Assistant Professional.

5. The probationary period shall normally begin from the date on which the applicant applied for amateur status.

Annex B

Guidelines for Players who Wish to Take up Temporary Jobs at Clubs Without Compromising their Amateur Status

1. A player may take up a temporary job at a club without compromising their amateur status so long as they comply with the following conditions:

a.Rules.The Rules of Amateur Status must be observed, subject to the points made at b-f below.
b.Eligibility.The player must be either (i) be undertaking a "gap year" between leaving school and commencing undergraduate education; or (ii) be in full-time education; or (iii) have commenced a temporary job within a year of having left full-time education.
c.Membership and Privileges.The player may accept membership and privileges of the club as a temporary visitor for no longer than twenty-one months in total, of which any single period may not exceed one year. For these purposes, periods worked while the player was under 18 and in full-time education will not be included in calculating the period worked.
d.Payments.The player must not receive payment from any source, save as provided in paragraph e below.
e.Expenses.The player may receive accommodation and subsistence expenses, not exceeding those incurred, in return for general administrative services rendered to the club.
f.Court Usage.The player's use of the court must not deprive the Club of revenue which would otherwise have formed part of the professional's income and should be at the club's discretion.