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General Background:

Pétanque in the UK

The modern game probably got its first organised foothold in the UK with the formation of the Braintree league in Essex in 1966, but Shedfield in Hampshire justly claims to have brought it into the international fold through the formation of the British Pétanque Association (BPA) in 1974 and its affiliation to the international governing body, the Fédération International de Pétanque et Jeu Provençal (FIPJP).  The BPA grew from these humble beginnings to having about 4,000 licensed members in 300 or so affiliated clubs, organised into 15 regions. 

For the 2005 season, pétanque in the UK underwent its most radical change to date with the formation of the British Pétanque Federation (BPF) as the umbrella body for the UK. Organisation of the game in England became the province of the English Petanque Association (EPA), with the devolved administration for Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex under the auspices of the Southern Counties Petanque Association. These changes were necessary to continue to have a unified body for international recognition, but also to align the sport more effectively with the major sports funding agencies in the UK, which in England means Sport England (formerly the English Sports Council). But at the grass roots, the game is likely to carry on pretty much as before!

From about Easter until Guy Fawkes night (and sometimes, for the hardier ones, throughout the winter as well) the Regions organise club league competitions, normally on weekday evenings, and triples, doubles or singles competitions at weekends, some of which may lead to qualification to represent the Region in inter-regional matches or the country in internationals.  But within the EPA-affiliated clubs, and amongst the many thousands of non-affiliated clubs and players throughout the country, there is still the emphasis on playing simply because its fun!


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