Posts tagged ‘Overhead pass’

April 27, 2021

The New Normal – rejected

Rules of Hockey

An umpire coaching video popped up on my Facebook Timeline more than a year ago and this text was presented at the beginning of it.

There is nothing in the Rules of Hockey which supports either of those statements, in fact they are plain wrong. The passer’s responsibility for the consequences of his passing action does not end the moment he has raised the ball above and beyond near opponents, and the second statement appears to be a contradiction of the second clause of Rule 9.8 Dangerously Played ball which reads:-

9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.
A ball is also considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by opponents.
The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

(Note from where danger was caused which is NOT necessarily from where it occurred)

To state – as the vide text does – that the lifter of a ball will NEVER be penalised for the action of lofting the ball to fall onto/into a crowded space (and therefore a space occupied by players of opposing teams who might compete for the falling ball) when and where that ball lifting action took place, is bizarre and utterly wrong.

When a player chooses to loft the ball with a scoop so that it will land on the position of a team-mate who is closely marked by an opponent, the passer has chosen to carry out an action that is potentially dangerous, because that opponent and the passer’s team-mate may choose to complete for the ball as it falls.

Rule 9.10 stipulates that in these circumstances the same team player must allow the opposing player to receive and control the ball on the ground before approaching to within 5m of him. If he does not, but instead contests for the ball he has committed a dangerous play offence contrary to Rule 9.10, and the lifter of the ball (the passer) has also committed an offence contrary to Rule 9.8.

A Free ball obviously cannot be awarded in two different places simultaneously so clearly the first offence (the raising of the ball to fall on to a contested area) as the first offence, must be penalised first (with a Free ball or a penalty corner as appropriate (if for example, the ball was lofted from within the passer’s own 23m area, a penalty corner for a deliberate offence in that area). The second offence, (contesting for the falling ball) is a breaking down of play with deliberate dangerous play and should result in at least a Green Card for the offender. This would be both correct (Rule compliant) and fair.

When should a Free ball be awarded at the point the ball was landing? Firstly, when the same team player was in free space or made a lateral run to create space to receive a ball lofted to land wide of his position or more than 5m short of his position (if he is closely marked) or alternatively 5m or more beyond his position AND the position of an opponent – and an opposing player then closes on the same team player when he is in a receiving position nearer to the falling point than the opposing player – before he has received the ball and controlled it on the ground.

Secondly when a same team player who had been 5m from an *initial receiver on the opposing team, closes to within 5m of the initial receiver while the ball is in the air and/or before it has been controlled on the ground by the receiver. *(an initial receiver is 1) a same team player who is in at least 5m of free space or moving into such free space, as the overhead pass is made but 2) is also an opposing player positioned on or close to the point at which the ball is falling when a player of the same team as the passer is within 5m of the opposing player’s position.

What should happen if the ball is lofted to fall onto a position where two or more opposing players might contest for it? The intended receiver (the player of the same team as the passer) should allow an opposing player to receive the ball and play it into his control on the ground. An opponent must not interfere with or influence the play of such a receiver while the ball is being so received. (there is no obligation to retreat if within 5m of such a receiver but not doing so may lead to the award of a free ball against the passer – at the place the ball was raised – because he may be adjudged to have created a dangerous situation)

Has there been an offence by the player who lofted the pass when his team-mate closes on an opposing initial receiver from beyond 5m? No, the situation was safe at the time the ball was raised. The sole offender in these circumstances is the team-mate who encroaches on the opponent. In these circumstances (NOT those described in the video text) it is ALWAYS correct to penalise at the point the ball is falling.

Rule 9.8 in effect stipulates offence when an overhead pass leads to actual dangerous play. A withdrawing action from an intended receiver (who is not the initial receiver) which allows the opponent to receive and control the ball on the ground, therefore nullifies the potentially dangerous play of the passer. Even if it was considered that there was an offence by the passer in these circumstances it would be unnecessary to impose penalty because opponents would not be disadvantaged (except by loss of ‘ground’) by his reckless passing action (Rule 12), play should continue if there is advantage to the opposing team (penalty can be applied if there is no tangible advantage and obviously also if the opposing team are put under pressure).

A word of caution from the umpire to the passer would not be amiss when potentially dangerous play like this occurs, even when danger has been averted by sensible third party action and opponents are not disadvantaged.

P.S. There is no launch pad for an aerial pass.

(and one final note – any intentionally raised hit made outside the opposing circle will always be a foul Rule 9.9).