Contact tackle and interpretation.

Here we have an example of player’s knowledge and understanding of Rule having come from an unauthorized source – possibly a coach repeating the Rule or Rule Interpretation that were extant when the said coach was a player.

Who for instance knows this Rule Interpretation? :-“A reverse-side tackle or one from behind the player with the ball is not permitted if there is any body or stick contact between the players concerned before the ball is played by the tackler.”

That is usually truncated to “tackling from behind is not permitted”

I have seen videos produced in the last five years in which that statement has been included in an explanation of the Rules of Hockey.

The second part is usually stated “Body or stick contact between a tackler and a player in possession of the ball must not occur before the ball is played by the tackler” and then that is ‘interpreted’ to mean that once the ball is played by the tackler contact between the two players concerned is permitted.

The ARG defenders here obviously believe this to be the case, but they are badly misinformed – and that caused them to make a pointless request for video referral.

The Rule Interpretation stated at the start of this post was deleted from the Rules of Hockey in 2004 when the whole of what was Appendix B Rules Interpretations was removed.

The current Tackling Rule is 9.13.

9.13 Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.

Reckless play, such as sliding tackles and other overly physical challenges by field players, which take an opponent to ground and which have the potential to cause injury should attract appropriate match and personal penalties.

So body or stick contact between tackler and ball-holder is not permitted in any circumstance.

When I first saw this incident on video I was astonished that the umpire did not award a penalty stroke and a yellow card.

I don’t like the framing of the current Tackling Rule because of the influence it has on obstructive play – where potential tacklers are actively prevented from playing at the ball when within playing reach of it and where they could have done so if the ball had not been shielded from them.

There is a lack of balance and fairness between the applications of the two Rules. Rule 9.12 hardly being applied at all, and 9.13 applied even when the only thing the player attempting to tackle has done is to shadow the ball-holder. Both Rules need to be properly rewritten.



2 Comments to “Contact tackle and interpretation.”

  1. I agree – having watched the Olympics I despair at the way 9.12 is ignored. I am having to give up umpiring as it’s not fair on players when some (very few) umpires are applying this rule but others are not.

    • I can understand your frustration, but giving up is giving in. “You are not umpiring this in the same way as ‘everyone else’ “. is not a valid argument when it contradicts the FIH published Rules of Hockey. What is need are people who will stand and shout “No.” and give example to others.

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