Rules modifications; more on sticks; Rules book available

The 1998 Rules of Hockey have seen a number of changes. Among them are:

  • The abolition of substitutions during penalty corners, except for the replacement of an injured, defending goalkeeper,
  • No offside, which had previously been an experimental rule, is now incorporated into the Rules of Hockey.
  • Field of Play measurements and marking system has been done using the metric system.

In addition, Rule 4 has been expanded to provide a more specific definition of a hockey stick and guidelines for its composition. The portion of Rule 4 dealing with the head has not changed from the text in previous editions of the Rules book - the head should be made of wood. Additionally, Rule 4 requires that the remainder of the stick not include metal or metallic substances.

Some concern has been expressed on the part of stick manufacturers regarding the content of Rule 4. The International Hockey Federation has been gathering various comments and opinions, and the matter was discussed in the FIH Executive Board meeting held in August in Brussels. The Board has referred the item to the next FIH Council meeting, scheduled for November in Brussels.

The FIH will continue to study the possibility of setting up further standards and criteria for hockey sticks to be used in top competition, based on the principle of maintaining the characteristics of the game and limiting risk to players.

As the FIH wishes to benefit from the expertise of stick manufacturers and suppliers, advice and constructive comment will be welcome and appreciated. Please fax or e-mail the FIH with comments at +32 2 219 2761 (fax) or [email protected] (e-mail).

The new rules, went into effect on 1st July 1998 for competition involving National Teams (inter-nations competition). At National level, National Associations - within their jurisdiction and their responsibility - decide when modifications are introduced in their territory.

Other changes and modifications to the Rules of Hockey can be found in the 1998 Rules book, which is now available at a cost of 2 per book plus postage. Requests for orders should be sent to: Roger Webb, 84 Main Street, Hardwick, Cambridge, CB3 7QU, England - or by e-mail at [email protected] Those placing orders should include all their relevant contact details.

The International Hockey Federation wishes to express its regret for some difficulties encountered in distributing the 1998 Rules of Hockey in a timely manner to member associations. The regrettable delay was due to necessary modification to certain wording and a breakdown in the distribution process by a contracted mailing house . The FIH apologises for any inconvenience resulting from the delay.