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The Game - Volleyball Rules
major changes in volleyball rules

1895
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William G. Morgan invents game of Volleyball.

1897
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First Volleyball rules published by William G. Morgan.

1917
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Game changes from 21 points to 15 points per set.

1918
* Number of players per team set at six.

1920
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The ball can be played with any other part of the body above the waist. Three hits per side rule also adopted.

1922
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Back-row players not permitted to spike.  Double hit rule introduced.  If score is 14 -14, two-point advantage is needed to win. Two timeouts per set for each team introduced.

1926
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Team reduced to less than six players forfeits match.

1932
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Timeouts limited to one minute.

1935
* Touching the net considered as fault. Forbidden for spikers to step off the court, as long as ball is in play on spiker’s side.

1937
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Multiple contacts permitted in defence, against violent spikes in particular.

1942
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Ball can be played by any part of the body from knees up.

1949
* Three-player attack introduced and back-court setter moving into front court permitted.

1951
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Hands can pass over net only after making blocking action in blocker's court.

1957
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Timeout duration limited to 1 minute, 30 seconds.

1959
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Screening on serve forbidden and "invasion" at net on to opponent's court with whole foot or feet considered as fault.

1964
* Reaching beyond net to block permitted and multiple block contacts allowed.

1968
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Use of antennae to limit court air space introduced.

1976
* Three ball system introduced and three hits after the block introduced to speed up game.

1982
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Ball pressure is fixed (from 3.0 to 3.25kg/cm2).

1988
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To reduce duration of match, tie-break rally point system introduced for fifth set and final score per set limited to 17 points with one point difference.

1989
* Players to go to bench during timeout to facilitate mopping system.

1991
* Members on bench can stand up and cheer a spectacular play from their team.

1992
* To encourage spectacular action, a player, beyond the free zone, can jump on the bench to retrieve ball.
* At 16-16, in the tie-break system, play continues until one team has a two-point advantage to win the set.

1993
* Quick moppers introduced.

1994
* Service zone extended to nine metres to facilitate server to serve from any position of the service zone.
* Ball can touch any part of the body including feet, helping to improve defensive play.
* During first hit, double contact is permitted in order to have continuity in the game.

1997
* Introduction of "penetration of hand" rule, in addition to feet rule, helping to improve defensive play at the net.
* "Contact with the net is a fault, except when a player not attempting to play the ball accidentally touches the net."  This minimizes whistling for net contact faults.
* Retrieving the ball sent outside, the crossing space to the opponent's free-zone permitted to retrieve back from the same side of the crossing space back to their own court in order to send the ball within the crossing space to the opponent court, enabling teams to save negative receptions.

1998
* Coloured balls introduced to help players focus on ball and help television viewers locate and follow ball.
* The "libero," a specialized defensive player, introduced to improve the "first pass" and defensive "dig pass." Also helps in replacing back-zone players (principal attackers) generally weak in defence.
* Coach can stand/move during rally and give instructions without taking timeout.
* Introduction of 25-point rally point system to sets one to four: Gives more emphasis for perfection on various skills of the game, otherwise a point is lost and service is given to opponents.  The system helps in scheduling the day’s matches, with the duration of a five-set match generally limited to 90-110 minutes.
* Change of chest number size at the back to 20 cm x 2 cm, helps not only the scorer to check the next server on rotation, but also helps media and television to capture the player number for statistical analysis.
* Removal of service attempt helps in reducing the duration of match as every player invariably delays the service taking undue advantage of "service-attempt," which involved in total 5+3 seconds.

1999
* Service duration is increased to 8 seconds.

2000
* Libero can neither be team captain nor game captain.
* Service ball can touch the top of the net and cross the net giving continuity to the game.

2001
* "Exceptional substitution" introduced in order to help those players seriously injured who cannot play the rest of the match. Not counted as regular substitution.

2005
* Centre line width considered to belong to both courts equally.
* Assistant scorer is introduced as rule number 26. Mainly keeps control over libero replacements.

2006
* Coach restriction line is introduced to limit coaches’ movements beyond playing court.

2007
* Rule 9.1.2.3 revised as follows: "If simultaneous hits by opponents over the net leads to extended contact of the ball, play continues." Helps continuity of the play instead of double fault. 

2008
* New ball introduced for the first time at the Olympic Games with complete new design, two colours and a complete new panel design. New ball has only 8 panels.
* For FIVB and world events for senior teams there is the possibility introduced, within the Specific Sports Regulations, of up to 14 players being nominated for the final team roster. Where a team chooses to register more than 12 players, it is mandatory to register two liberos: the coach may for any reason exchange the original libero with the reserve libero – but only once in the match.
* Quick substitutions system implemented.
* Net fault: only hitting the top band of the net or taking support from the net classed as interfering with play. Contact with the opponent’s court with any part of the body above the feet also permitted, in conjunction with the net rule. This extends current centre line rule. But if the contact interferes with an opponent physically, or with the opponent’s ability to play the ball, then it would be considered a fault.