Penalties Rules should be amended

Rules of Hockey

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

The above Rule statement was amended to produce the above wording in 2004. Previously it read “…. disadvantaged by an opponent committing an offence” The Explanation then goes on to list seven examples of offence – it does not say breach of Rule – for which penalty may be awarded. Plus two types of incident (which are not offences) for which penalty may also be awarded. This may at first sight seem reasonable because there are listed two possible types of incident which are not offences, but it is not certain that they are breaches of Rule either. The main effect of the amendment has been to allow umpires to penalise ball-body contact with a free ball or a penalty corner, when there has been no offence but there has been a breach of the Rule Proper as it is currently written 9.11 Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body (thus ignoring the Explanation of Application which points out that ball body contact is not necessarily an offence). In other words the ‘clarification’ of the wording led to confusion and poor application.

Rule 12.1 needs to be restored to the way it was previously written, to try to prevent the penalizing of Rule breaches that are not offences, and the two non offences dealt with separately as exceptions.

Both of these non offences are presently penalised with the award of a penalty corner when neither of them, in fairness should be. 

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

The award of a penalty corner for this non-offence is unnecessarily harsh. In the days when top level hockey was played on grass, it was often the case that a defender could obtain a ‘breather’ for his team by knocking the ball a considerable distance away from the pitch and such time wasting perhaps needed to be discouraged. But with enclosed artificial surfaces this minor problem has disappeared and there is now no good reason why the team of a defender who intentionally plays the ball off the pitch over the base line should be punished with a penalty corner (in effect with a near free shot at the goal). A restart for the attacking team on the 23m line would be suitable replacement for the present award of a penalty corner i.e. the same as an unintentional deflection off the pitch over the baseline by a defender.

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

The award of a penalty corner for this generally accidental occurrence is even more unjust. At one time it was dealt with by the award of a bully, five yards from the circle, opposite to where the incident occurred, A restart for the attacking side on the 23m line would be a suitable replacement for the present penalty corner.

The same is true of accidental deflections up high off a defender’s stick in the circle or off the protective equipment of a goalkeeper, Something which may potentially lead to dangerous play. A restart for the attacking team on the 23m line is sufficient ‘punishment’ for an incident, which once again, used to be dealt with by the award of a bully five yards from the circle. It is particularly unjust to penalise a goalkeeper for what might well have been a great reaction save with a penalty corner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: