Archive for May 4th, 2021

May 4, 2021

Forcing ball-body contact

Rules of Hockey January 2011. Twelve 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. (these 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 or by applying the ‘other Rule’ breached, 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 (which no longer exists as a separate section in the rule-book having been deleted in 2004) 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 part of the Rule that is recalled by umpires and how application of the Obstruction Rule is coached).

But then that second Rule 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 illegal prevention of a tackle attempt is 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 and this might help rto achieve correct interpretation of the actions of players who obstruct an opponent. .

Suggestion. 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 smiles, and play continues from the sideline. This inability on the part of umpires to recognize obstructive offences, and subsequent inaction when it occurs, is widespread.