England Hockey League Committee Recommendation re: FIH Rule Variation: 15 minute quarters.

The England Hockey League committee have considered the introduction of the FIH rule variation relating to matches being played in 4 x 15 minute quarters, in the Investec Women's League and NOW: Pensions Men's Hockey League for season 2014-15.

The committee asked for feedback from clubs and individual players. The individual elements of the rule variation were considered separately and the elements regarding stopping time for corners & goals had greater support. However there was very low support for the 15 minute quarters and without this element it is not possible to implement the timing elements

The committee also recognise the desire that the playing conditions for IWHL/NPMHL matches replicate international matches where possible.   

The committee did not support the introduction of these variations to the rules for the regular league season in 2014-15. However they did agree that further discussion should be undertaken about the possible introduction for the end of season (Premier Division) semi-finals and finals.  It is noted that these matches are currently played under EuroHockey League regulations with 17.5 minute quarters. Any decision in respect of this would be made by 1 December 2014. They also agreed that the matter would remain under review for possible implementation for 2015-16.

The rationale for not supporting the introduction is based on the following.

·         A general concern about the number of different rule variations being played at different levels of the domestic game, i.e. between the NPMHL & IWHL and other leagues. This includes an unwillingness to have different rules in the Premier Divisions compared to the Conferences 

·         A concern that the rule variations have not yet been played at any level and that there has been no opportunity to learn from any issues arising from their implementation.

·         No available data in respect of the impact on actual game length or in-game time.

·         The challenge for umpires and match official (MO) to manage the timings at league matches. Noting that not all league matches have an appointed MO.

·         The absence of the infrastructure (technical dugout, officials, supporting visual equipment - timer, shot clocks) at league matches that is available at international matches.
 

·         Noting that the elite leagues in Netherlands and Germany have confirmed that they will not be introducing the rule variations for 2014-15

·         The lack of support from clubs and players in respect of the proposals, noting greater support for the rules variations that have been introduced in recent seasons.