New rules to be introduced throughout the 11-a-side game

Umpire Sean Edwards gives the corner


In late 2014, FIH announced some changes to the Rules of Hockey. These changes included the incorporation of the FIH Tournament Regulations that relate to a) breaking early at a penalty corner b) the two minute green card and c) the use of the stick above the shoulder. All the changes are outlined on pages 5-7 of the FIH Rules Book.

The changes came into effect at International level from 1st January 2015 and have been implemented in the Investec Women’s Hockey League (IWHL) and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League. This followed consultation with the National Programme Umpiring Association (NPUA) and EHL Committee.

On 21st January 2015, England Hockey invited the hockey community to complete a survey to help us determine whether there were any overwhelming reasons why we should apply to FIH to opt out of the introduction of any of the new Rules beneath the IWHL and NPMHL and, if so, at what levels and/or age groups.

The survey closed on Monday 23rd February and was completed (either all or in part) by a total of 6536 people. Of that number, 4302 (66%) listed their main role in hockey as ‘player’, 1080 (17%) as ‘umpire, umpire coach or assessor’, 574 (9%) as ‘coach’ and 361 (6%) as ‘spectator’.

The results of the survey are summarised here and the key points are as follows:

1. A majority supported the introduction throughout the game of the new Rules that relate to a) ‘breaking at a penalty corner’, b) ‘free hits awarded within 5 metres of the edge of the circle and c) ‘re-start after the ball has been unintentionally played over the back line by a defender’ (revised corner Rule)

2. A majority supported the introduction of a ‘two minute temporary suspension for the award of a green card’ in adult league and 11-a-side junior hockey. There were some umpires who commented on the potential challenges of managing multiple suspensions at the same time without a technical official. The two minute suspension was not supported for small sided junior hockey.

3. A majority did not support the introduction of the new Rule that relates to the ‘use of the stick above the shoulder’ in junior 11-a-side and small sided junior hockey.

The England Hockey Rules and Regulations Advisory Group believes that, wherever possible, the same Rules should be played throughout the game. With that in mind, the England Hockey Board approved the following recommendation at its meeting on 17th March:

“That all of the new Rules are introduced throughout the game beneath the IWHL and NPMHL on 1st July 2015,

with the following exceptions:

a. The new Rule that relates to the ‘green card’ is not introduced in small sided junior hockey (specifically In2Hockey and Quicksticks).

b. The new Rule that relates to the ‘use of the stick above the shoulder’ is not introduced in small sided junior hockey (specifically In2Hockey and Quicksticks)”.

You will note that a majority of survey respondents (59%) were not in favour of the ‘use of the stick above the shoulder’ Rule being introduced in 11-a-side junior hockey. England Hockey is therefore aware that the introduction of this Rule at this level goes against the consensus opinion (the only occasion that this is the case). However, this is done in the belief that there should be consistency in the 11-a-side game in which many young people play both junior and adult hockey. England Hockey will be monitoring closely the effects of the new Rules over season 2015-16.

By 30th April, the online rules site will be updated to include video clips to illustrate the interpretation of the new Rules. Written explanation will accompany the clips. We will inform the game when the clips and guidance are available. The In2Hockey Rules will also be updated to reflect the changes.

Whilst the new Rules will be introduced formally on 1st July, England Hockey will permit them to be used immediately in any non formal competition wherever all the participants (including umpires) agree.

For further information, please contact richard.glynne-jones@englandhockey.co.uk