The FIH has published its 2013 edition of the Outdoor Hockey Rulebook, which is now available to read and download on the FIH website rules page.
The FIH believes hockey is enjoyable to play, officiate in and watch. Nevertheless, the FIH continues to seek ways of making hockey even more enjoyable for all its participants while retaining its unique and attractive characteristics.
The first change of note for the 2013 edition aims to simply an important rule. The way a goal is scored is amended; it now includes what is referred to as an “own goal”. A goal can now be scored after the ball is touched in the circle by either an attacker or a defender. Before this clarification, it was confusing and frustrating to players, spectators and officials that the ball went in the net but was not a goal. It also can be very difficult to tell who touched the ball in the circle, hence the own goal.
A notable rule change in 2009 was the introduction of the self-pass from a free hit. This has sped up the game; play sometimes continues almost seamlessly after an infringement. As a further step to increasing the range of quick and effective options from a free hit, the ball can now be raised directly and intentionally using a push, flick or scoop action. Raising the ball after a free hit can now be safer because opponents will not be able to be within five metres.
These two rules changes are described as “mandatory experimental rules”. They apply at all levels of hockey but, because they’re significant changes, will be monitored closely. After a period of review, the FIH Rules Committee will decide whether or not they become permanent changes to the rules. In this context, it will be of interest to note that the Committee is made up of experts with a variety of backgrounds, including as players, coaches, umpires, media and spectators but also takes advice from many similar groups and individuals.
The 2013 rules also contain a few clarifications of existing Rules which are shown with a line in the margin of the relevant text.
These rules are effective from 1 January 2013 at international level. National Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation at national level.
A revised set of the rules of Indoor Hockey will be published in the next few weeks.
Photograph: 2012 EHL Finals (Andy Mair (c))