Archive for June 15th, 2019

June 15, 2019

Physical Contact Rules should be amended.

Rules of Hockey.

9.3 Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other
players or their sticks or clothing.

There are a number of Rules within Conduct of play that prohibit the making of physical contact. The Explanation of Application of the Obstruction Rule, for example, prohibits moving bodily into an opponent and Rule 9.13 below:-

9.13 Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball
without body contact.

is entirely unnecessary given Rule 9.3. but it is odd in another way too, it forbids a tackle attempt unless the tackler in a position to play the ball without body contact, when advice to umpires given in the UMB the Umpire Manager’s Briefing for Umpires at FIH Tournaments, to give this document its full title, suggests that umpires should not follow this Rule:-

Do not penalise if the tackler initially appears to be in an
impossible position from which to make a legal tackle.

So the umpire must await contact, which is also contrary to Rule 9.3. The UMB should never contradict Rule and where this does happen the FIH Rules Committee and the FIH Umpiring Committee should liaise and delete one or the other instruction. As the Rule have Executive approval and the UNB does not, it should normally be the conflicting UMB Advice that should disappear, but in this case I suggest the deletion of both Rule 9.13 and the Advice in the UMB.

Rule 9.3 should specify physical or contact interference, rather than just interference and then we are done describing the prohibition of physical contact in hockey.

June 15, 2019

Teams Rules should be amended.

Rules of Hockey

9.1 A match is played between two teams with not more than
eleven players of each team on the field at the same time.

That used to stipulate that one of the players on each team had to be a fully equipped goalkeeper wearing at least a helmet, leg-guards and kickers. These days “fully equipped” would reasonably include groin protection, gloves or hand protectors and a chest protector. It would not be unreasonable to require a throat protector and elbow protectors.

The requirement that there be a fully equipped goalkeeper was deleted because it was said that in some countries individuals or clubs could not afford to buy this equipment. That puts the emphasis on cost rather than on player safety and that should be unacceptable.

At present we have a number of complicated substitution Rules which allow a player with (limited) goalkeeping privileges, a (PWGP) sometimes known as a kicking-back, additionally protected only with a helmet, to guard the goal, while at the same time being an additional field player. This is not good enough, when opposing attackers feel free to propel the ball at a PWGP as if he or she were fully protected and umpires allow them to do so.

I suggest the substitution of a PWGP for a fully equipped goal-keeper be abolished as unsafe.

There is a need to research a cheaper way to produce HD foam or to make cheaper goalkeeping equipment in the cane and leather style but using lighter and stronger materials.

9.2 Players on the field must hold their stick and not use it in a
dangerous way.

That means that a player cannot continue to take part in a hockey match if he or she has dropped their stick, they cannot interfere with the play of opponents in any way – which is fair enough.

But the second part “and not use it in a dangerous way” is appallingly vague and the provided ‘Explanation’ that a player must not lift the stick over the head of an opponent is ambiguous and insufficient. What constitutes dangerous use of the stick should be set out clearly in a section of Rule 8 Dangerous play and not just ‘thrown away’ as if an afterthought. So possession of a stick needs expanding and the second part needs to be transferred and incorporated within Rule 9.8.

There have been more than sufficient serious injuries caused by high stick. swings to give serious consideration to limiting the height to which the head of a stick may be raised when there is or will be an opponent within the swing arc of the stick before or after a ball is played. At the moment players shaping up to strike at a ball are often getting away with deliberate intimidation or are playing without any regard for the safety of opponents, this needs to be addressed.



June 15, 2019

Liability Rules should be amended.

Rules of Hockey.

“If they are not broken why fix them?” Is a criticism I have often had leveled at my suggestions for Rule changes. I have two replies. “I think they are broken” (then hopefully the suggested change will demonstrate in what ways the Rule in question is inadequate) or “Do you wait until a car has to be abandoned by the side of a road before you think of doing maintenance to it?” When a warning light comes on (when there is indication of a fault) that is the time to take action.

The Rules of the game will never be perfect but there is need to adjust them so that they are fair and the practiced application of them does not unnecessarily endanger participants.

To begin.

9 Conduct of play : players
Players are expected to act responsibly at all times.

The responsibility statement above has been re-positioned and reworded. Both these actions have weakened it so that it hardly registers with readers of Rule 9 Conduct of Play.  If we go to the first page of the rule-book we find the following important declaration. 

Responsibility and Liability
Participants in hockey must be aware of the Rules
of Hockey and of other information in this publication.
They are expected to perform according to the Rules.
Emphasis is placed on safety.

Everyone involved in the game must act with consideration for the safety of others.
Relevant national legislation must be observed.
Players must ensure that their equipment does not
constitute a danger to themselves or to others by virtue
of its quality, materials or design.

Participants are gives four Rules in that declaration but most of them are unaware of that, which is ironic. They used to be given six. The two altered/missing ones could be written. Players must perform in accordance with the Rules. Players must act responsibly at all times.

I believe there is a good case for restoring the two Rules to the statement about Responsibility and Liability and for repeating (and expanding), in numbered clause form, all of the above Rules within Rule 9.8, which should be about dangerous play in general and not just about a dangerously played ball. I would remove the ‘invisible’ expectation now at the head of Rule 9.,  so I start with a deletion.

Rule 9.8. Dangerous play requires a great deal of expansion, even if that means repeating instructions about danger attached to other Rules. This fits with the supposed emphasis on safety – which presently does not exist.

June 15, 2019

Which Rules should be amended or deleted? – Prelim.

Rules of Hockey.

I am going to confine this article to Rules 9, 10 and 11 Conduct of Play, Rule 12 Penalties and Conduct of Play Umpires. In other words to the Rules all participants should know if they are to take part in the game with comprehension of what they and others are doing.

Initially I will ignore the provided Explanation of Rule application but later (as each Rule is examined) make full suggestion for the Explanations (Instructions). I would also like to see changes to match duration and to the Rules of substitution but will deal with those in another article. The Rules of Conduct of Penalties will also be dealt with in another article.

I highlight in red the Rules which I feel need either amendment by expansion, replacement or deletion. I will make no further comment in these articles about those Rules below that are not highlighted in red.

9 Conduct of play : players.

Players are expected to act responsibly at all times.

9.1 A match is played between two teams with not more than eleven players of each team on the field at the same time.

9.2 Players on the field must hold their stick and not use it in a dangerous way.

9.3 Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other players or their sticks or clothing.

9.4 Players must not intimidate or impede another player.

9.5 Players must not play the ball with the back of the stick.

9.6 Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the edge of the stick.

9.7 Players may stop, receive and deflect or play the ball in controlled manner in any part of the field when the ball is at any height including above the shoulder unless this is dangerous or leads to danger.

9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.

9.9 Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal

9.10 Players must not approach within 5 metres of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been received, controlled and is on the ground.

9.11 Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.

9.12 Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball.

9.13 Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.

9.14 Players must not intentionally enter the goal their opponents are defending or run behind either goal.

9.15 Players must not change their stick between the award and completion of a penalty corner or penalty stroke unless it no longer meets the stick specification.

9.16 Players must not throw any object or piece of equipment onto the field, at the ball, or at another player, umpire or person.

9.17 Players must not delay play to gain benefit by time-wasting.

10 Conduct of Play, Goalkeepers.

10.1 A goalkeeper must not take part in the match outside the 23
metres area they are defending, except when taking a penalty stroke.
Protective headgear must be worn by a goalkeeper at all times, except when taking a penalty stroke.

10.2 When the ball is inside the circle they are defending and they have their stick in their hand:

10a Goalkeepers are permitted to use their stick, feet, kickers, legs or leg guards or any other part of their body to deflect the ball over the back-line or to play the ball in any other direction.

10.3 Goalkeepers must not lie on the ball.

10.4 When the ball is outside the circle they are defending, goalkeepers are only permitted to play the ball with their stick.

11 Conduct of Play. Umpires

11.1 Two umpires control the match, apply the Rules and are the judges of fair play.

11.2 Each umpire has primary responsibility for decisions in one half of the field for the duration of the match.

11.3 Each umpire is responsible for decisions on free hits in the circle, penalty corners, penalty strokes and goals in one half of the field.

11.4 Umpires are responsible for keeping a written record of goals scored and of warning or suspension cards used.

11.5 Umpires are responsible for ensuring that the full time is played and for indicating the end of time for each quarter and for the completion of a penalty corner if a quarter is prolonged.

11.6 Umpires blow the whistle to etc etc.:

11.7 Umpires must not coach during a match.

11.8 If the ball strikes an umpire, unauthorised person or any loose object on the field, play continues (except as specified in the guidance to Rule 9.16).

12 Penalties.

12.1 Advantage : a penalty is awarded only when a player or team has been disadvantaged by an opponent breaking the Rules.

12.2 A free hit is awarded to the opposing team:
a for an offence by any player between the 23 metres areas
b for an offence by an attacker within the 23 metres area their opponents are defending

c for an unintentional offence by a defender outside the
circle but within the 23metres area they are defending.

12.3 A penalty corner is awarded:
a for an offence by a defender in the circle which does not prevent the probable scoring of a goal.

b for an intentional offence in the circle by a defender against an opponent who does not have possession of the ball or an opportunity to play the ball.

c for an intentional offence by a defender outside the circle but within the 23 metres area they are defending.

d for intentionally playing the ball over the back-line by a defender

Goalkeepers are permitted to deflect the ball with
their stick, protective equipment or any part of their body in any direction including over the back-line.
(This clause can be amalgamated within Rule 10)

e when the ball becomes lodged in a player’s clothing or equipment while in the circle they are defending.

12.5 If there is another offence or misconduct before the
awarded penalty has been taken:
a a more severe penalty may be awarded
b a personal penalty may be awarded
c the penalty may be reversed if the subsequent offence was committed by the team first awarded the penalty.

I am suggesting changes to twenty-five Rules – which is basically a rewrite of the Rules of Conduct of Play, Advantage and Penalties, not a modest target. As there is nothing above that I haven’t suggested many times before there is no more to add and I will begin expanding on these suggestions individually.