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In late 2014, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced some changes to the Rules of Hockey. The changes came into effect at International level from 1st January 2015 and were implemented in the National Leagues on 31st January 2015.  With effect from 1st July 2015, all of the new rules will be played throughout the 11-a-side game in England, at all age groups. The new rules have proved to be both successful and popular at international and national league level. They improve the flow of the game, as they result in fewer interruptions, and they help umpires with game management. It is also very good news that the game of hockey across the country will be played to the same rules. A brief overview of the rule changes is below. For complete guidance of the new rules please visit the FIH website. http://www.fih.ch/

BREAKING AT A PENALTY CORNER

New Rule:

·         If the attacker taking the penalty corner injection feints at playing the ball they should be sent beyond the centre-line and should be replaced by another attacker.

·         If a defender, other than the GK, crosses the line before the injector has played the ball then they must go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced by another defender.

·         If the GK, or player with GK privileges (a “kicking back”), crosses the line before the injector has played the ball then the defending team must defend the PC with one fewer player.

·         If an attacker enters the circle before the injector has played the ball then they should be sent beyond the centre-line. 

Rationale for the change: The new rule has proved to be hugely successful in prompting a significant reduction in the number of early breaks, by both attackers and defenders.

TWO-MINUTE GREEN CARD

New Rule: When an offending player is awarded a green card, he/she will be required to leave the field of play for a period of two minutes.

Rationale for the change: The introduction of the two-minute green card provides an additional management aid to umpires, which has proved very effective in offering an intermediate penalty between a verbal caution and a yellow card.

USE OF THE STICK ABOVE THE SHOULDER

New Rule: Players can play the ball when the ball is 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, and to remove the need for umpires to make marginal judgements about the height of the stick with sometimes far-reaching consequences.

FREE HITS AWARDED WITHIN 5M OF THE EDGE OF THE CIRCLE

New Rule: A free hit awarded within 5 metres of the edge of the circle can be taken from the point of the offence.  The ball still has to travel at least 5 metres before it can be played into the circle, or alternatively has to be touched by another player of either team, other than by the player taking the free hit.

Rationale for the change: Previously having to take the ball back to the 5m dotted line was seen as a real disadvantage to the attacking team (as it allowed the defence to re-organise) and it disrupted the flow of the game.

RE-START AFTER THE BALL HAS BEEN UNINTENTIONALLY PLAYED OVER THE BACK-LINE BY A DEFENDER (AND NO GOAL IS SCORED)

New Rule: Play will be re-started by the attacking team with the ball on the 23 metres line and in line with where it crossed the back-line.

Rationale for the change: To open up angles and options for the attacking team and to prevent the ball getting ‘stuck’ in the corner amongst a crowd of players.

‘UP 10’ RULE

Please note that the rule that allowed an umpire to progress a free hit by up to 10 metres has been deleted. The rule is now redundant owing to the new free hit rules and the ability to self-pass, while any other misconduct can be managed using other rules or personal penalties.

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Ciaran Sanders,
13 Feb 2015, 04:31
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