The strange world of the dangerously played ball.

Rules of Hockey
Raising the ball towards an opponent.

A dangerously played ball call is more likely to be made against a defender than against an attacker.

I had previously though that the last mention from an umpire of the nonsense about a shot at goal being impossible to consider dangerous play was uttered during the China v Spain match in the Women’s 2010 World Cup. But here we are in the Semi-Final of the Men’s World Cup England v Netherlands in 2014 – and it is trotted out again. Was it one of the commentators who declared it was a shot at goal so could not be dangerous? The video umpire appears to go along with that view

The commentators also get wrong the matter of knee height and dangerous play (which applies only to a ball raised at an out-running defender during a penalty corner). The height restriction on a first hit shot during a penalty corner is about compliance with the limit for a goal to be scored, not about dangerous play.

If that edge hit was not intended as a shot at the goal, it should have been penalised as an intentionally raised hit, but the intent of the shooter would have required mind reading – what looks to me to be a miss-hit was assumed to be a shot at the goal because it was clearly not a pass across the face of goal (which could not have been legally raised with a hit stroke) .

This incident here was anyway clearly a ball raised into an opponent within 5m and therefore dangerous play, by the attacker – not a complicated concept – but one which is obviously not understood by officials at FIH level. Words apparently have a different meaning at that level.

I had to laugh when I heard the commentators talking of the history of the game. Some knowledge of Rule history might given them an understanding of the state of the current Rules and how bizarre the application of the Rules has become in some important areas.

Thank goodness that anything that happened eight years ago, and was invented twelve years ago in an umpire briefing, is now considered pre-history and can (as it should) be discarded. Easy to do, it has never been mentioned in any official document as a Rule – because it isn’t

The notion that a ball raised towards an opponent within 5m (who is not an out-runner at a penalty corner) has to be at knee high or above to be considered dangerous play is erroneous.

The applicable clauses for open play are contained in the Explanation of Application of Rule 9.9. It’s not entirely clear (because the strokes mentioned in Rule 9.9. are for some unknown reason limited to flicks and scoops. The penalty corner Rule 13.3.m also mentions raised hits and (intentional?) deflections and it is proper that it should do so).  I don’t think knee height applies to any propelling of the ball towards an opponent after the initial shot has been taken during a penalty corner.

There is no reference to height in the Explanation to Rule 9.9., any raising of the ball towards an opponent within 5m may therefore be considered to be a dangerous play offence.

The UMB contradicts the Rule in this regard (using half-shin pad height) so the advice in the UMB – which is not Rule – should be disregarded.

Again, the mistaken idea that a ball raised towards an opponent within 5m has to be above knee height to be dangerous play. Nothing else explains the difference in the decisions made in these two incidents.

The video referral for the first incident was for a dangerous shot on goal, which I hope those who believe there is no such thing will take note of.

The second incident raised an interesting question. What does an umpire do if both teams simultaneously request video referral citing different offences? I suppose, following Tournament Regulations, if the requests are made in the correct way and within 20 seconds of the incident which is being referred, the umpire must advance both questions to the video umpire. Players possibly believe that such simultaneous requests are not allowed, but it is only a video referral about a decision from a prior video referral that is not permitted. I see no reason that both sides should not ask for referral for different offences at the same time, even if they are committed within the scope of a single action. In this case two very different questions, 1)Was the ball raised into the defender dangerous play?  2) Did the defender commit a ball-body contact offence ?

You don’t ask, you don’t get.
Maybe the Dutch players know the Rules better than the English players do. But again A dangerously played ball call is more likely to be made against a defender than against an attacker and the injustices that goalkeepers have to put up with in this regard haven’t been touched upon in the above selection of incidents from International level matches in important tournaments (World Cup and Olympic Games).

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