FIH announces changes to match format for Rio 2016

The FIH has announced that the match format for certain competitions will now be run in four 15-minute intervals instead of the previous 35-minute halves. The new regulations will be applied to the upcoming Champions Trophy, World League Round 2, World League Semi-Final and Final, all continental Olympic qualifying events as of 1 September 2014 as well as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Along with the change in game time there will also be a change to stoppage time, with a new 40 second time-out when a penalty corner is awarded along with when a goal is scored. This is to ensure that the new 60 minute game time is maximised for actual play and not consumed with penalty corner set-up or other dead time when the ball is not in play.

These changes will apply in the World and European-level major events England Hockey has secured, starting with the EuroHockey Championships in 2015. However it is important to stress that these are not changes to the Rules of Hockey that will affect the game as a whole. England Hockey, along with other National Associations, may request approval from FIH to vary any specific domestic competition regulations to include these changes. England Hockey has yet to consider this but will do so in consultation with all its relevant stakeholders.

Leandro Negre, President of FIH, said: “The decision today demonstrates our commitment to fan engagement. With the additional breaks, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy more replays and be more engaged with the event, whether in the stadium or watching from a far, while hockey commentators will be allowed more time to provide sport analysis between plays. In addition, coaches and players will see improvement in their performance with the additional opportunities to re-hydrate and re-strategize."

The aim of the new format is that it will result in a higher intensity, faster paced and more exciting game of hockey. It will enable event organisers and broadcasters to develop more engaging fan experiences, both at the venue, on TV and online. With an increase in opportunity to review highlights, explain the game and add colour to the play, people from all over the world can have a better lens on the exciting sport of hockey.

To read the official press release for more information, click here.