The FIH published the new Rules of Outdoor Hockey in December 2018. These took effect internationally from 1 January 2019, but National Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation at national level. As communicated on 18th December 2018, England Hockey chose not to implement the changes during the 2018-19 season.
England Hockey can now confirm that it supports the implementation of all the rule changes with the exception of one.Therefore the following (major) changes will be implemented at all levels of the sport in England from the start of the 2019/20 season:
- Removal of Player with Goalkeeper Privileges (PwGKP)
- Amendments to Attacking Free Hits within the 23m
- Defensive Free Hits awarded within the defensive circle
- Amendment to ruling around Attackers entering the circle early at a Penalty Corner
England Hockey has, in recent years, striven to apply a consistent set of rules throughout all levels of the sport, however, the proposed change to 15-minute quarters has caused considerable concern. Since December England Hockey has been considering the full implications of the rule change including research on the impact on game length consultation with officiating bodies and discussions with other hockey governing bodies around the world.
England Hockey has also been liaising with the FIH to understand whether they were reconsidering the proposals in light of the number of countries opting to continue to play halves or opting to move to 17.5 minute quarters (without the clock stopping at Penalty Corners). The Board of England Hockey met on 16 July and has agreed the following changes:
- To apply 17.5 minute quarters (without the clock stopping at Penalty Corners) to the elite domestic club game specifically:
- a. All Divisions of the England Hockey Leagues (the Investec Women’s Hockey League and Men’s England Hockey League);
- b. Tier 1 of the Adult Club Championships.
- For season 2019-20, to leave the rest of the club game played as halves, usually of 2×35 minutes (or shorter formats in the junior game as appropriate).
The implementation of quarters at lower levels will be considered over the course of the 2019/20 season, in light of the experience at the higher levels.
Support will be available for players, coaches, umpires and officials in learning these rule implementations through access to material on the Hockey Hub and this will be shared with Leagues & Umpiring Associations to enhance the learning of their members ahead of the new season.
Due to the variation in rule sets for the domestic game, the Hockey Hub will host both versions of the rules that England Hockey will be playing to during the 2019/20 season.
As previously stated, there are a number of changes to the Outdoor Rules. These are all marked with a vertical line in the margin of the Rule Book. The key rule changes are summarised below, but players, coaches, umpires and officials are encouraged to read the full text of the new rules rather than relying on this document.
2.2– Mandatory Experiment: a team no longer has the option to play with a player with goalkeeping privileges. This means that teams either play with a Goalkeeper, or 11 outfield players.
5 – timing of matches to be more closely aligned with the international game as seen at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup or FIH Pro-League. See above / below for further details.
6 – wording change around the start and re-start of the match to reflect the change to quarters in the rule book.
9.12 – Very minor clarification of third party or shadow obstruction during a penalty corner on defenders (and goalkeeper).
11.6 – wording added to this rule to show that Umpires blow the whistle for the start / end of each quarter and for the stopping / re-starting of time around a Penalty Corner.
12.4 – clarification added to the awarding of a Penalty Stroke if the ball hits a piece of equipment lying in the circle and a probable goal is prevented, a penalty stroke may be awarded.
13.1 – A free hit awarded to the defence within the defensive circle can be taken anywhere in their circle OR taken up to 15 metres from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line.
13.2 – Additional wording in the guidance concerning the re-start after awarding a Free Hit to the attacking team within 5 metres of the circle they are attacking. The introduction of a quick self-pass for these Free Hits allows the defenders to stay within the circle, within 5m and not interfere with play until the ball can legitimately enter the circle. If there is no quick self-pass, then ALL defenders, regardless of location in the 23m, have to retreat 5m if they wish to legitimately play the ball once the Free Hit is taken.
13.3.g – Clarification on defending team’s responsibilities when defending a Penalty Corner when playing with no Goalkeeper.
13.5 – Removal of previous rule of when a Penalty Corner is finished if time has already lapsed and clarification that if play during a Penalty Corner is stopped because of an injury or for any other reason during the taking of a penalty corner at the end of a quarter or half and a bully would otherwise be awarded, the penalty corner must be taken again.
13.6.e – change to current rule, now if an attacker enters the circle at a Penalty Corner before permitted, the player taking the push or hit from the backline is required to go beyond the centre-line and the Penalty Corner is taken again.
13.7.e – if a team has chosen to play with eleven outfield players and no goalkeeper, if they concede a Penalty Stroke then this explains what protective equipment is permitted for the defender.