Rewriting the Rules of Hockey

Last year I put together a suggested rewrite of the Rules of Hockey.

Here is a summary of suggestions made in the rewrite proposal


Additions made to Terminology, for example description of a drag flick.


Naming. Free Hit changed to Free Ball. Corner or Long corner replaced with 23m Restart – different signal recommended.


Teams must play with a fully equipped goalkeeper, field player replacement option removed.


Matches to be played in four periods of twenty minutes.


Restoration of description of permitted edge bends to hockey stick.


Replacement Stick Diagram.


Any part of the stick may be used to play the ball.


23m restart always awarded for a ball out of play over the base-line, off a goalkeeper or off a defender’s stick – intention irrelevant.


23m restart awarded for high rebounds and deflections off a defender’s stick falling into the circle, and for a ball trapped in equipment.


Power Play to replace penalty Corner


Introduction of Goal Zone.


New penalty stroke offence – throwing the stick at the ball in the circle, from outside the circle and preventing a goal.


Raising the ball with a forehand or reverse edge hit, height limited.

Method of receiving a ball at above shoulder height – control to ground required

Playing at the ball in the opponents circle when it is above shoulder height prohibited.


Dangerous play. Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to or is likely, in the opinion of the umpire, to lead to dangerous play.


Intentionally raising the ball with a hit no longer prohibited (except into the opponent’s circle) but an absolute height limit imposed on all raised hits irrespective of intention.


A number of specific height and distance restrictions introduced to declare as dangerous play a ball raised towards an opponent.


Raising the ball with a hit into the opponents circle prohibited (with one exception – 3D dribbling with ball in close control )


A flick or scoop may not be raised into the opponents circle so that it crosses the circle line at above shoulder height.


An amended ‘Sticks Rule’ restored.


Rules concerning the making and receiving of an aerial ball and encroaching offences amended.


Ball body contact Rule amended.


Obstruction Rule amended


Forcing Rule restored.


Goalkeepers prohibited from picking the ball up by griping it in any way.


Cards (personal penalties) Green Warning, Yellow ALL temporary suspensions from 2 mins up, Red permanent suspension. Hand signals to indicate length of suspension.


Introduction of a second ‘resume play’ whistle after the whistle has been blown and a free ball awarded.


Prohibition on playing a free ball awarded in the opponents 23m area directly into the opponent’s circle withdrawn.


5m requirement for same team player at free ball within opponents 23m area withdrawn.


Restoration of requirement that a free ball awarded for a defender’s offence between the hash circle and the shooting circle be taken opposite the place of the offence outside the hash circle.

Change marking of the penalty spot (colour and size) but not its position.


Introduction of a height indication tape on the goals.


Suggestion that the use of four flag officials and one central umpire (with a whistle) replace – where possible – the present use of just two on pitch umpires.

Up to 25m

Any other proposals to add?


This is a work in progress. Comment about any of the suggestions (which can be provided in full, if required) are welcome.

In January 2022 the FIH Rules Committee made one change to the Rules concerning Conduct of Play and a change to the Rule concerning the use of face-masks during a penalty corner. The goalkeeper or field player only alternatives were also confirmed as Rule.

2 Comments to “Rewriting the Rules of Hockey”

  1. Yes, agree. Also, how about penalty dribble or shuffle for the shootout?

    • I assume you are referring to the current ‘fashion’ of not applying the Obstruction Rule to the attacking player during a shootout. The proposed rewrite of the Obstruction Rule should sort that out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: