The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced some changes to the Rules of Hockey. Details can be found on pages 5 - 7 of the 2015 FIH Rules Book.
These changes take effect at International level from 1st January 2015 and will be implemented in the Investec Women’s Hockey League (IWHL) and the Now Pensions Men’s Hockey League (NPMHL) upon the resumption of the outdoor season on 31st January 2015.
Beneath the IWHL and NPMHL, the changes will not be implemented in England mid season, with one exception - we will allow the use of the new style face masks at all levels of the game with immediate effect.
England Hockey are consulting with Clubs and other organisations to determine which and how to implement the changes further down the leagues. Please click on the link here to give feedback.
Many thanks to Sally Foster, one of our very dedicated Under 14 Boys umpires, for summarising the rule changes in this article!
(i) There will no longer be a penalty stroke awarded for defenders who persistently cross the back-line before permitted (ie break early) on a penalty corner.
(ii) The two-minute green card will now provide an additional management aid to umpires at all levels.
(iii) The ability to play the ball with the stick above the shoulder has been in use at International level for some time. This will now be allowable at all levels although Natonall associations will be given the choice of opting out.
(iv) No more taking ball back to 5m (from edge of circle) dotted line for attacking free-hits.
The ball still has to travel at least 5 metres before it can be played into the circle, or alternatively has to be touched by another player of either team, other than the player taking the free hit. Taking ball back to 5m dotted line slowed play and was disadvantage to the attacking team.
(ii) No more long corners
Play will now be re-started with the ball on the 23m line, in line with where it crossed the back-line. The long corner was seen as inefficient and ineffective re-start with the ball often becoming trapped in the pitch corners
(iii) No more progressing free hit by up to 10 metres.
This has become redundant with the new free hit Rules and the ability to self-pass, while any other misconduct can be managed using other Rules.
APPLYING THE RULES
These rules need to be applied more consistently:
1. Ball intentionally played over the back-line by a defender and no goal is scored.
If it is clear the action is intentional, umpires should not hesitate to award a penalty corner.
Umpires should penalise shielding the ball with the stick more strictly. They should also look out for a tackling player who by pushing or leaning on an opponent causies them to lose possession of the ball.
3. Stationary ball at a free hit.
Umpires are sometimes not strict enough on requiring the ball to be stationary, albeit very briefly, for a free hit especially if it is taken using a self-pass.