Foot-ball Rule to remain the same while further trials are planned

One of the biggest talking points at the 1999 Champions Trophy was a trial of a different interpretation of the Rule governing foot-ball contact, Rule 13.1.2.b. The trial was aimed at achieving "fewer interruptions to the flow of the game when a ball unintentionally and insignificantly hits a foot or a leg." But many, including coaches and players, felt the lenient application of the Rule resulted in decreased scoring, fewer goals from penalty corners and more emphasis on defensive play with the attacking game suffering as a consequence.

FIH President, Juan Angel Calzado, agreed with these assessments in a statement issued to the press and the teams during the Champions Trophy (statement can be found on the FIH website).

Both during and after the Champions Trophy, feedback was received from players, coaches, umpires and fans. As a result, the text, guidance and interpretation of Rule 13.1.2 (Use of body, hands and feet) will remain unchanged in the next edition of the Rules of Hockey, which has recently been published. Consequently, upcoming major FIH events and all Continental Games and Cups will be played under the existing interpretation of the Rules.

Further trials will be set up at national and international levels, as there remains a general consensus that "unintentional and insignificant breaches, which bring no clear benefit, should not be penalised." National Associations have already been notified and have been invited to contact the FIH if they wish to undertake a trial.