Guildford Hockey Club Est. 1912

Rule Changes 2015

 27th Aug 2015

UmpireCards-200FIH Umpire Hamish Jamson has written a summary of the new rules for 2015. Well-represented and explained on the Sportplan website, this easy to read presentation includes the rationale and video examples. See the link to the Sportplan webiste and the content of the presentation here...



Click here for the online presentation:

Rule Changes 2015 Surrey Hockey Umpires Association


Below is a bullet point version of the content from the same presentation:

What are the Rule Changes for 2015?

  • Breaking at a penalty corner
  • Two minute green card
  • Use of the stick above the shoulder
  • Long corner
    • Re-start after the ball has been unintentionally played over the back-line by a defender (and no goal is scored)
  • Free hits within 5m of the circle
  • Up 10m rule
  • Encouraging umpires to officiate to the rationale of new rules
    • To encourage the fast pace of our game
    • To allow play to flow more freely

Breaking at a Penalty Corner

  • New Rule
    • If a defender, other than the GK, breaks the line then they must go beyond the half-way line and cannot be replaced.
    • If the GK (or kicking back) breaks the line, they do not have to go to half-way. In this case, the defence chooses which of the remaining players do.
    • An attacker who breaks early into the circle is also sent to half-way. The PC is retaken.
    • If the injector feints at playing the ball (or takes the mickey in some other way), then they are sent to half-way. Another attacker injects the re-taken PC.
  • Rationale for the change
    • To improve the flow of the game by reducing in the number of early breaks, by both attackers and defenders (but mostly defenders!)
  • Application of the rule change
    • If during the PC, another PC is given, any player already sent to half-way must stay there for the retaken penalty corner.
    • If a subsequent defender breaks the line at a retaken penalty corner, then that defender is also be sent to half-way (except GK).
  • What is a re-taken PC
    • A penalty corner is not over until any of the normal conditions for its completion are met (Rules 13.5 and 13.6).
      • PCs in normal time: ball more than 5m from circle ­ Rule 13.5
      • PCs at half-time and full-time: above plus ball outside of circle twice ­ Rule 13.6.
  • Be aware of deliberate attempts to get defenders sent to half-way
    • Penalise this as you would a PC feint.

Two Minute Green Card

  • New Rule
    • A player given a green card is suspended for two minutes.
  • Rationale for the change
    • The two-minute green adds another management tool to the umpire’s armoury.
  • Application of the rule change
    • The use of a green card should not be any different than before.
      • don't go "one-down": a yellow card offence is still a yellow card.
    • A time-stop does not have to mean a card.
      • a verbal warning (no card) can still be given when necessary.
  • Awarding a two minute green card
    • Stop time before awarding the card.
    • Record the time of the suspension and the player’s number.
    • Restart the game after the player has left the pitch.
      • unless competition regulations allow (i.e. a technical table / match official to assist).
    • After two minutes of playing time, the carded player is called back on.
      • there does not have to be a stoppage in play.
      • the player does not have to be returned at exactly two minutes, a delay of a few seconds is acceptable.
    • The carded player must not be returned during a penalty corner.
      • in such a case the player is returned after the PC is completed.
  • Awarding a two minute green card (cont.)
    • If the player being returned is a GK, this must be done at a break in play.
      • the clock does not have to be stopped, but it will probably be easier to do so.
    • Unlike a yellow card, umpires cannot increase the length of a green card beyond two minutes.
      • if you need to increase a green card suspension, a yellow card should be awarded.
      • in this situation, the player is suspended for five minutes from the point at which the yellow card is shown, not for five minutes from the original green.
    • The two minute green card process is identical to that used previously for a yellow card, except the length of the suspension.

Use of the stick above the shoulder

  • New Rule
    • Players can play the ball above shoulder height, provided that they do so in a controlled manner and in a way that does not create or lead to danger.
  • Rationale for the change
    • To add another dimension and set of skills to the game.
    • To allow great goals that would otherwise be disallowed on a technicality.
  • Application of the rule change
    • Players do not have 'carte blanche' to swing wildly at the ball when it is in the air.
      • danger is the only consideration not to allow a high stick.
    • Umpire’s sole priority should be to encourage and to allow skill.
      • allow players to express their skills, penalise only danger.
  • How the rule change affects receiving an aerial ball
    • After an aerial pass has been made, focus immediately on the landing zone.
      • make the usual judgement on the initial receiver.
      • the landing zone may change because players are able to receive the ball earlier.
      • the game dynamic is changed, but still use player movement over the travel of the ball to give the indication as to who is the initial receiver. Don’t ball watch!
    • If a player successfully controls a raised ball in the air, then that player should be allowed space to control the ball on the ground.
    • If two opposing players are close together and there is no clear initial receiver, then blow quickly and award a free hit to the team who did not raise the ball.


  • New Rule
    • Play is re-started from the 23m, in line with where the ball crossed the back-line.
  • Rationale for the change
    • To open up angles for the attackers and to prevent the ball getting 'stuck'.
  • Application of the rule change
    • The re-start is within the 23m area and so cannot be played directly into the circle until it has travelled 5m or been touched by another player.
    • Players may well take a quick corner with the ball just outside the 23m line.
      • If so, be flexible, but make it clear that play is continuing as if the ball had been from inside the 23. Only penalise “wrong spot” if an unfair advantage is gained.
    • The signal for a long corner is still the same.
      • If necessary, use a secondary signal to show the location of the restart.

Free Hits Within Five Metres of the Circle

  • New Rule
    • A free hit can now be taken within 5m of the circle edge.
    • The ball must still travel 5m before it can be played into the circle, or alternatively be touched by another player.
  • Rationale for the change
    • Taking the ball back to the 5m dotted line allowed the defence to re-organise and prevented the quick free fit, disrupting the flow of the game.
  • Application of the rule change
    • Just as anywhere else, the free hit may be taken immediately, even though other players are not 5m away. However, those players must not interfere with play
  • Application of the rule change
    • Defenders not 5m away, but inside the circle, are not required to retreat 5m.
      • the attacker who self passes cannot dribble directly into the circle and so the defenders in this case are not interfering.
    • Defenders may shadow around the inside of the circle, provided that they do not interfere with play, until the ball has gone 5m or been touched by another player.
      • players inside the circle who were 5 metres or more from the point of the free hit may not encroach or form a “defensive wall.”
    • Interfering with play from such a free hit will typically be a PC
      • Be aware of attackers trying to “buy” a PC by running into an innocent defender

Up 10m Rule

  • It is no more!


  • In summary, umpire to the SPIRIT of the new rules with COMMON SENSE
  • Good luck and don’t be worried, you always have your colleague to look after you!


Published by: Surrey Hockey Umpires Association

Written by: Hamish Jamson, FIH Umpire


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