Archive for May, 2021

May 8, 2021

Referral restrictions

Another area of hockey that is in need of reform.

The task of the video umpire is to advise and make recommendation to the match umpire so that the match umpire (who remains responsible for all decisions made) is able to make a fair decision. Clearly that did not happen here.

It probably would have happened if video referral was not restricted to decisions leading to the award of a goal or a penalty corner, and the match umpire him or her self was able to leave the pitch to review replay of questionable incidents. (the third umpire could be utilised to supervise players while this was happening).

This should not be difficult to arrange. What is required is a pitch-side trailer and technicians to find and order the relevant ‘footage’ as the umpire is making his/her way pitch-side to view it. (Such trailers could be equipped to be towed different venues).

The current ‘hanging around’ of the match umpire while a third party makes a decision (which according to Tournament Regulations he/she should not be making) is unsatisfactory.

May 4, 2021

Forcing ball-body contact

Rules of Hockey 2011. Ten years of negligence.

The changes in this edition of the Rules essentially seek to simplify
the game without altering its fundamental characteristics.
The Rule which used to say that “players must not force an opponent
into offending unintentionally” is deleted because any action of this
sort can be dealt with under other Rules.”

So the forcing of ball-body contact (being one of the actions of this sort) remained an offence to be ‘”dealt with” under other Rules. (Offences can be dealt with either by allowing advantage to the player hit with the ball – the player offended against – or by penalising the player responsible for the forcing action, there are no other options).

But 2011 was the last year in which there was any mention at all of the offence of forcing in a rule-book., so many current umpires have no idea (they are certainly not told by their coaches) that forcing ball-body contact is an offence.

This cannot be an oversight by the FIH, it looks like deliberate negligence. Now why would they do that? More penalty corners, more goals, more ‘excitement and spectacle’. That’s pathetic when they are supposed to be promoting and protecting skillful play.

May 4, 2021

Having received the ball…

Both the Rule and the Rule interpretation used at one time to give instruction about what a player who had received the ball should do once it was within his control.

Now we have :-
“A stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to face in any direction.

A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction .”….
(the parts of the Rule that are recalled by umpires and how application of the Obstruction Rule is coached).

But then that second sentence continues:-
“except bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it”.
(Umpires also recall that a player who claims to be obstructed must be attempting to play at the ball – but they don’t in general know what a tackle attempt looks like or that the prevention of a tackle attempt is also obstruction)

“A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this is third party or shadow obstruction).”

The part in parenthesis (this is third party or shadow obstruction) is taken to mean that this clause applies only to third party obstruction, but if it was amended (as Rule 9.8. was amended) with the substitution of “this may also be” for “is” a more accurate description of the Rule is reached without in any way changing the interpretation of it.

A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this may also be third party or shadow obstruction)

In the video the player in white (Poland) correctly protests to the umpire that there has been an obstruction by the Indian player in possession of the ball – the umpire shrugs and smirks, and play continues from the sideline.

May 2, 2021

Defining ‘Dangerous’

I have been trying for some years now to get the FIH RC to introduced another criteria for a dangerously played ball. It being “any ball that is propelled at above sternum height and within the shoulder width of a player and at a velocity that could cause injury to anyone hit with such a ball should considered to be dangerous play”.

At present there is no objective criteria for a dangerously raised ball if the player the ball is raised at is more than 5m from the player raising the ball. There is only the subjective ‘legitimate evasive action’ which – as can be seen in the video – is simply ignored.

In fact the Dutch Hockey Board have even instructed umpires in the Netherlands that legitimate evasive action does not apply to defenders on the goal-line during a penalty corner. (An illegal instruction because no National Association has the authority to amend Rule in any way without the prior approval of the FIH Executive – and this approval has not been given).

There are Facebook hockey Rules discussion group posts on this topic here:-