Pass or shot?

The Rules of Hockey.

A tactic to circumvent safety Rules that creates a ‘murky Rule area’ if the pass to the attacking in-runner is also towards the goal.

This requires that an amendment be made to the Rules so that a first hit, push or flick towards the goal during a penalty corner, which is intercepted/deflected by another attacker, is always regarded as a pass and not as a shot at the goal – and therefore a shot at goal made after such interception is always limited in height in the same way as a first hit shot would be, no matter how it is subsequently propelled towards the goal.

Its not unusual to see head high deflections made from within 5m of the goal-line and this should not be considered safe practice – simply because it is not.

There are two Rule contraventions by the attacking side in this video. What are they?

First, the attacking in-runner breaks into the circle before the ball is ‘inserted’; That should have caused the umpire to stop play immediately and reset the corner (punishments for defenders who break early are more severe – a player gets sent beyond the half-line and the corner is reset without him)

Secondly, the ball is deflected up into a defender’s groin from close range (within 2m) injuring him. That is a dangerous play offence. The ball may not be raised at an opponent at all from within 5m. (Too big a distance, but that is what is given in the Rule – intentional deflections are not mentioned in the Rule but common sense dictates they be included as a means of propelling the ball towards an opponent in a dangerous way)

I think it reasonably follows that if a shot at the goal is raised with a hit in open play and is then intercepted or deflected by a second attacker and propelled towards the goal, the initial action must be regarded as a pass and therefore an illegally raised hit.

This would fit with the promise made by the HRB back in 1997 when the Off-side Rule was deleted, that for the safety of players, constraints would be placed on the actions of attackers when close to the goal – a promise that has been forgotten for a long time.

2 Comments to “Pass or shot?”

  1. For a while now to understand the rules of hockey and interpret them it has not been enough to read the rulebook you also have needed to keep up to date with the Umpire Manager’s Briefing a powerpoint presentation tucked away in the umpire manager’s section of the FIH website. I note that this has been updated for 2020 with a 50 slide 288 MB presentation with embedded videos. I wonder if you would have any further comments on this document or the various matters and examples it contains. Thank you for keeping up your blog. I have really enjoyed reading it these past few years.

    • Back in 2002 the then HRB issued a statement in the rule-book that in the (sic) updated version they were presenting all of the current interpretations, including those given to umpires as umpire manager’s briefings, and that other documents (like the UBM) would no longer be needed. That seems to have led to a revolt from the FIH Umpiring Committee.

      The up-shot of that was that in 2004 the entire Interpretations section, then at the back of the rule-book was deleted and the rule-book rewritten. The UMB then expanded and took on a life of it’s own.

      The two documents now conflict in several places and the go-to resource for umpires (supplemented with a verbalbriefing at each tournament) has become the UMB and not the rule-book. The result is chaos. I don’t like a separate UMB because I don’t see a need for it. I think we should return to the 2002 idea of one source only. It should be enough to know and understand the rule-book. Why would we need or want two documents both purporting to be doing the same job? They aren’t of course, the UMB is aimed at International level umpires and despite the wishes of the FIH Rules Committee a two tier system of Rule application is in operation. We are not all playing hockey to the same Rules.

      Thank you for your kind words about the blog.

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