Category Archives: FPUSA

How the FPUSA works

revised 2022-05-08
I’ve been curious about how FPUSA officers are elected, and about how the FPUSA works in general.  I found answers to my questions on the FPUSA website, in the FPUSA constitution and bylaws.

FPUSA organizational structure
The organizational structure of the FPUSA has three layers.

FPUSA board of directors
national officers
(elected by club presidents)
regional counselors
(elected by club presidents)
clubs & club presidents
individual member

Individual members
For a discussion of FPUSA individual membership and its benefits, see THIS.

Club presidents
Different clubs elect their presidents in different ways. Most clubs hold direct elections in which the club members vote for the president. Others elect club board members who then select the president and other club officers.

Regions and regional counselors (representatives)
The USA is divided up into seven regions. (For a map of the seven FPUSA regions, see below.) The club presidents in each region elect one (or possibly two, depending on the number of individual members in the region) regional counselors to be their representatives on the FPUSA board of directors. (For the current regional representatives, see THIS.) Elections for regional counselors are held each year in November, and regional counselors serve for two year. Elections for half of the regional counselors are held in even-numbered years, and for the other half in odd-numbered years. As of 2022 there are 13 regional representatives: Northeast (1), Mid-America (2), Southeast (3), Central (1), Southwest (2), Northern California (2), and Northwest (2).

National officers and the FPUSA board of directors
The FPUSA is governed by a Board of Directors. (For the current Board, see THIS.) The Board consists of two groups— regional counselors and national officers. There are five national officers— President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, and National Sports Director. National officers are elected each year in November and serve for two years.

  • Elections for Vice-President, Secretary, and National Sports Director are held in even-numbered years.
  • Elections for President and for Treasurer are held in odd-numbered years.

The Board of Directors holds a regular Annual Meeting once a year, and may meet in special meetings on an as-needed basis.  Unless the meeting is closed to the public (which the President may determine is appropriate), any FPUSA member may attend any meeting of the Board of Directors.  Minutes of the meetings are taken by the Secretary and distributed to Board Members after the meetings.  The Annual Meeting typically takes place in conjunction with the FPUSA World Championship Qualification Tournament.  In 2015, that took place September 12/13 at the Fresno Petanque Club.

FPUSA national officers
In order to be FPUSA President, a person must have been a member of the Board of Directors (in some other capacity) for at least 3 years, and an FPUSA member for at least 5 years. For Vice-President, the corresponding requirements are 2 years and 4 years, respectively. And so on for the other regional and national offices.

The Board of Directors creates and supervises a number of standing committees whose job is to discharge specific functions. Some of the national officers chair standing committees.

  • The National Sport Committee is a 5-person committee headed by the National Sport Director. The responsibilities of the National Sport Director are quite broad. They include responsibility for the rules, administration of the umpire corps, running regional and national competitions, handling tournament hosting bids, and promotion of the game (including youth development and outreach).
  • The Discipline Committee is responsible for processing disciplinary complaints and actions. The chair of the committee is appointed by the President each year.
  • The Communications Committee is chaired by the Secretary of the Board. It is responsible for official communication among the Board of Directors, as well as official communications with the FPUSA member clubs and the FIPJP (the international federation). It is responsible for publishing the annual newsletter, maintaining the FPUSA website, and advertising.
  • In addition to the standing committees, the Board may create special committees for specific purposes. In 2018, for example, a special committee was created for strategic planning.

FPUSA regions and affiliated clubs
In December 2015 the map of the FPUSA regions and affiliated clubs looked like this.

Here’s a more detailed version of the map.

In 2016 FPUSA produced a new map that assigns every state to a region. The colors indicate the region. Stripes indicate a state that has at least one FPUSA-affiliated club, while dots indicate that the state contains no FPUSA clubs.

In 2020 the map looked like this. See the “Regions and Clubs” page on the FPUSA web site.

Is the FPUSA growing?
The FPUSA annual magazine for 2012-2013 published a chart on showing membership data for the 9 years 2003-2013. It shows that regarding total FPUSA individual memberships—

  • In the USA there are fewer than 1800 FPUSA members.
  • Between 2003 and 2012, total FPUSA membership increased by about 650 people.

Regarding FPUSA individual membership retention rates and turnover, in that nine-year period—

  • FPUSA recorded a total of almost 3000 (2915) new members.
  • For every player that joined FPUSA and continued as a member, more than three players joined and then dropped out.
  • More players (2261) joined the FPUSA and then dropped out, than the total current membership of the FPUSA (1751).

The chart shows the change in the number of clubs for each year, but not the number of new clubs each year. As a result, we can’t tell anything about the retention rate or turnover at the club level.

For 2008 the change in the number of clubs should be -2, not -1.FPUSA_membership_chart

As of 2022 the number of clubs in each region is: Northeast (4), Mid-America (5), Southeast (12), Central (5), Southwest (6), Northern California (8), and Northwest (7), for a total of 47. Compare that to 52 affiliated clubs in 2015.


What are the benefits of FPUSA membership?


In this post we look at the benefits of FPUSA membership— that is, of individual membership and club affiliation. (Clubs are said to be “affiliated with”, not “members of”, the FPUSA.)

At the outset let’s note that FPUSA membership is really cheap— $15 a year for membership through an affiliated club, and $20 a year for an at-large “individual” membership.

Benefits of FPUSA membership

  1. FPUSA membership is required for participation in FPUSA regional and national championships.
  2. FPUSA membership is often required for participation in play and competitions in other countries. Ernesto Santos points out—

    As an FPUSA member you get an international license that allows you to play around the world. In almost all other countries, you will need to show your license before being allowed to play in an affiliated club’s tournament (or even casual play). Many times they will collect that license before the start of a tourney and only give it back when you leave (provided you didn’t misbehave). If you don’t have a license you may be required to buy a day-license on the spot. And this holds true even for non-sanctioned open tournaments like La Marseillaise.

Benefits of FPUSA club affiliation

There are no club-level dues for FPUSA affiliation, but there is a minimum-membership requirement. FPUSA requires affiliated clubs to have at least 8 members for the first year of affiliation and at least 12 members during succeeding years. FPUSA will not “dis-affiliate” a club that cannot meet the 12-member requirement (the club can renew its affiliation and remain on the insurance policy), but the club’s voting rights are suspended until the minimum-membership requirement is met.

That means that

  • If your club has fewer than 8 dues-paying FPUSA members, long-term FPUSA affiliation is not an option.
  • If your club has at least 8 dues-paying FPUSA members, FPUSA affiliation is basically free.

Liability insurance

For a club, the primary benefit of FPUSA affiliation is the liability insurance that comes with that affiliation. If your club holds an event, and if someone gets injured during that event, then this insurance will protect your club and members from any financial damages for which they might legally be held liable.

  • FPUSA doesn’t provide any information about its liability insurance on its web site. US Lacrosse, however, does, and that information shows that liability insurance is a more complicated affair than you probably imagine. The moral of the story: when your club gets its FPUSA insurance document, read it carefully.

Your local Parks & Recreation Department may require your club to have liability insurance as a precondition for holding an event at one of its facilities. When a club joins FPUSA, it receives a certificate of insurance that should satisfy that requirement. Further certificates are available from FPUSA upon request.

Non-profit status

FPUSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Affiliated clubs (meeting certain organizational requirements) may receive a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status through the FPUSA without having to file their own separate application with the IRS. This can be useful when setting up club accounts and dealing with state incorporation and taxation authorities.

New club benefits

During its first year of affiliation, a new club may be reimbursed by the FPUSA for up to $100 for purchases of petanque-related equipment— guest boules, playing circles, prize medals and trophies, club banners and signs, etc. During its second year of affiliation, a club is eligible for a 50% reimbursement of up to $100 on $200 in purchases.

Benefits to the sport of petanque

When an FPUSA national champion team travels to the FIPJP world championships, the FPUSA assists with the cost of travel. The money comes from entry fees for the national championship tournament (the international qualifier tournament); in addition 20% of FPUSA income from membership dues goes toward the travel costs. For any given trip, that amount might be somewhere between $500 and $1000 per person.

The bottom line

Clubs with fewer than 8 FPUSA members do not qualify for FPUSA affiliation. If such a club wants liability insurance, it will need to pay for it out of its own local club dues. Depending on the club’s location, such insurance may or may not be available and affordable.

For clubs with 8+ FPUSA members, FPUSA affiliation is a way to obtain free liability insurance.

For a club large enough to consider becoming a corporate entity, FPUSA can help in securing 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status. Warning! Before you do this, make sure you understand what it entails. It may result in FPUSA acquiring legal ownership of your club’s name, logo, etc.

For the serious individual player, FPUSA membership is required in order to compete in FPUSA-sanctioned tournaments at the regional and national level. In other countries, it may also be required in order to compete in any kind of competition.

For the casual player, your FPUSA membership helps keep your club eligible for the liability insurance that comes with FPUSA affiliation. (If you belong to an FPUSA-affiliated club that has its own, local club membership fees, part of those fees is forwarded to FPUSA as individual membership fees.) Your FPUSA dues also help defray the travel costs for Team USA to go to the world championships, but not by very much— only $3 of your $15 goes to support Team USA. If you really want to help, donate to the team’s Facebook fundraiser.

How to become an FPUSA umpire

I’ve been trying for some time to obtain information on how to become an FPUSA umpire. That information should be easily available on the FPUSA web site, of course, but it is not.

Finally I managed to reach Gilles Karpowics, the FPUSA Sport Director, and he emailed me a copy of a pdf file containing the regulations for becoming an FPUSA umpire. Since this information is not available on the FPUSA web site, I thought I’d make it available HERE.