Changes to Rules of Hockey

Umpire Andy Mair

This season, following recommendations from the Rules Committee of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the FIH has introduced a series of Mandatory Experimental Rules for outdoor hockey from 1 September 2012.

These will be implemented in all league and knock-out competitions run domestically in England from this date. While the implementation of the rules is obligatory, the FIH has given national and continental associations the option of implementing rule changes from 1 January 2013, however it was felt that introducing changes at the start of the season rather than mid-way through would be in the best interests of the sport in England.

Changes to the Rules of Hockey (with reference to the numbered Rules in the 2011 edition) are as follows:

Rule 8.1: method of scoring.

The way a goal is scored is amended; it now includes what is sometimes referred to as an “own goal”. That is, a goal can now be scored after the ball is touched in the circle by either an attacker or a defender. It is anticipated that the detailed text will read:

8.1 A goal is scored when:

a the ball is played by an attacker, or touches the stick or body of a defender, within the circle

b after either of these actions, the ball does not travel outside the circle before passing completely over the goal-line and under the cross-bar.

This is described as a “Mandatory Experimental Rule” so that it applies at all levels of hockey but, because it is a significant change, it will be monitored closely. After a period of review, the FIH Rules Committee will decide whether or not it becomes a permanent change to the Rules.

Rules 13.2.d and e: procedures for taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play.

The ball may now be raised intentionally and directly using a push, flick or scoop action; this action must be conducted safely. This is essentially an evolution of what is known as the “self-pass” from a free hit. By having the option to raise the ball immediately, opposing players will not have had the opportunity to get closer than five metres; a raised ball should be safer.

It is anticipated that Rules 13.2 d and e will read:

d the ball is moved using a hit, push, flick or scoop

e the ball may be raised immediately using a push, flick or scoop but must not be raised intentionally using a hit.

Rules 13.2.f and g: as a consequence of the changes above, these Rules have been deleted.

Publication of Rules books

It is anticipated that Rules books incorporating the changes referred to in this notice will be printed and made available on the FIH website in September 2012. The England Hockey will then update the current version of its Rules Book so that they are available at the earliest opportunity.

Indoor Rules of Hockey

The FIH are also proposing a change to the indoor rules but the England Hockey is asking for clarification on certain aspects before further details are announced.