Update: January 17, 2022 8:12 p.m. STI
Lausanne [Switzerland]Jan. 17 (ANI): The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has made a series of rule changes to make the sport safer for all athletes.
The new rules will now allow players defending penalty corners to keep their protective gear on even when the ball goes outside the kicking circle.
However, players would be required to remove protective equipment at the first opportunity inside the 23-yard area.
“Rule 4.2 has been changed to allow defending players using penalty corner protection equipment to continue playing the ball outside the circle after an interception when taking a penalty corner. Players may now continue to run with the ball while keeping their protective equipment on. but they must remove this same equipment immediately afterwards, at the first opportunity to do so and always inside the 23m zone”, said the sporting director of the FIH and two-time Olympian Jon Wyatt in an official statement.
“No player using PC protective equipment may play the ball outside the 23m area at any time. This has been introduced to protect the safety of athletes so that the focus can be on the ball and the game , not on the removal of protective equipment during a game under pressure defensive situation. It was tested at the FIH Odisha Men’s Junior World Cup of Hockey in Bhubaneswar in December 2021 and received unanimous support coaches, athletes and officials,” he added.
The Rules are issued by the FIH Rules Committee (composed of Rules experts from the 5 Continental Federations) under the authority of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). They are normally updated every 2 years in the month of January following the Olympic Games or the FIH Hockey World Cups.
This allows all players, coaches, fans and officials to familiarize themselves with any changes and adapt accordingly for 18 months before the next World Tournament. Due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, the update scheduled for January 2021 has also been pushed back a year.
Previously, intercepting a falling overhead ball was considered illegitimate, but in the updated guidelines, the FIH gave players a relaxation.
“Rule 9.10 has been amended to allow play of what are commonly known as aerial balls. The previous text did not cover the ability of players to safely intercept a falling ball, which is now considered as both legitimate and positive for the development of the game,” Wyatt said.
“This follows extensive discussions before, during and after the Tokyo Olympics, during which a more consistent interpretation and understanding of this element of our game was agreed. Air balloons will continue to be closely monitored by all stakeholders so player safety can be maintained,” he added.
The Rules of Hockey apply at all levels of the game and are effective from January 1, 2022 internationally. National associations have the discretion to decide when they will be implemented at national level, depending on their national seasons. (ANI)