Table of Contents
III: APPLICATION OF THE RULES OF THE GAME

9 DURATION OF PLAY

Two periods of 35 minutes each unless otherwise agreed:
  1. half-time: 5 to 10 minutes as agreed: teams change ends
  2. each half starts when the umpire blows the whistle for the centre pass.

10 TO START AND RE-START THE GAME

10.1 Centre pass:

  1. played from the centre of the field
  2. a push or hit may be played in any direction; all players other than the player making the pass shall be in their half of the field
  3. made at the start of the game, by a player of the team which did not choose ends
  4. after half-time, by a player of the team which did not start the game
  5. after a goal, by a player of the team against which the goal was scored or awarded.

10.2 Centre pass and putting the ball back into play:

  1. all opponents at least 5 metres from the ball
  2. the ball to be pushed or hit
  3. the ball must move at least 1 metre
  4. after playing the ball, the player may not do so again nor remain or approach within playing distance of it until it has been played by another player
  5. the ball shall not be raised intentionally or such as to be dangerous or lead to dangerous play.

10.3 Ball outside the field:

When the ball passes completely over the side-line or back-line it shall be out of play and it or another ball shall be used to re-start play.

10.3.1 Over the side-line:

  1. on the side-line close to where the ball went out of play
  2. the player playing the ball is not required to be wholly inside or outside the side-line
  3. taken by a player of the opposing team.

10.3.2 Over the back-line:

by the attack when no goal is scored:
  1. up to 14.63 metres from and opposite where, or close to where, it crossed the back-line, in line parallel to the side-line
  2. taken by a defender.

10.3.3 Over the back-line:

unintentionally by the defence when no goal is scored:
  1. on the side-line on the 5 metres mark from the corner flag nearest to where the ball crossed the back-line
  2. taken by an attacker.

10.3.4 Over the back-line:

intentionally by the defence (but see the actions allowed by goalkeepers) when no goal is scored:
  1. on the back-line from a spot 9.14 metres from the outer edge of the nearer goal-post on whichever side the attacking team prefers
  2. taken by an attacker.
This is a penalty corner.

10.4 Bully:

10.4.1 The game shall be re-started with a bully when:

  1. the ball in play has to be replaced
  2. there is a simultaneous breach of the Rules by players of both teams
  3. the ball is lodged in a goalkeeper's leg guard or player's or umpire's clothing
  4. when time has been stopped for an injury or any other reason and there has been no offence.

10.4.2 The bully:

  1. on a spot chosen by the umpire but not within 14.63 metres of the back-line
  2. a player of each team shall face one another with their own back-line to their right
  3. ball shall be on the ground between the two players
  4. the two players tap with their stick the ground to the right of the ball then the flat face of the opponent's stick over the ball, three times alternately, after which either player may play the ball to put it into play
  5. all other players at least 5 metres away until the ball is in play.

11 SCORING A GOAL

  1. a goal is scored when the ball is played in the circle by an attacker and does not go outside the circle before passing completely over the goal-line and under the crossbar
  2. the ball may be played by or touch the stick or body of a defender before or after being played in the circle by an attacker
  3. after a stoppage of play inside the circle, the ball must again be played from inside the circle by an attacker before a goal can be scored
  4. a goal shall be awarded if a goalkeeper breaches the Penalty Stroke Rule preventing a goal being scored
  5. the team scoring the greater number of goals shall be the winner.

12 OFFSIDE

There is no offside in hockey.

13 CONDUCT OF PLAY

Unless played with consideration for others, hockey can be a dangerous game. This Rule prohibits or explains actions which affect the safety of all players.

13.1 Players shall not:

13.1.1 Use of stick and playing equipment

  1. play the ball intentionally with the back of the stick
  2. take part in or interfere with the game unless they have their stick in their hand
  3. play the ball above shoulder height with any part of the stick
  4. lift their sticks over the heads of players
  5. raise their sticks in a manner that is dangerous, intimidating or hampering to other players when approaching, attempting to play or playing the ball
  6. play the ball dangerously or in such a way as to be likely to lead to dangerous play
A ball is dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.
  1. hit, hook, charge, kick, shove, trip, strike at or personally handle another player or their stick or clothing
  2. throw any object or piece of playing equipment on to the field, at the ball, at another player, or at an umpire.

13.1.2 Use of body, hands, feet by players other than goalkeepers

  1. stop or catch the ball with the hand
There is nothing to prevent players using their hands to protect themselves from dangerously raised balls.
  1. intentionally stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their bodies
It is not automatically an offence if the ball hits the foot or body of a player unless that player
  • has moved into the path of the ball, or
  • made no effort to avoid being hit, or
  • was positioned with the clear intention of stopping the ball with the foot or body, or
  • gains benefit.
Players should not be penalised when the ball is played at them from a short distance.
  1. use the foot or leg to support the stick in a tackle.
  2. intentionally enter their opponents' goal or stand on their opponents' goal-line
  3. intentionally run behind either goal.

13.1.3 Raised ball

  1. intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal
  2. intentionally raise the ball so that it lands directly in the circle
Not every ball entering the circle off the ground is forbidden. A ball which bounces into or lands in the circle after a short distance must be judged solely on the intent or danger.

A ball raised over a player's stick or body when on the ground, even in the circle, must be judged solely on danger.
  1. approach within 5 metres of a player receiving a falling raised ball until it has been played and is on the ground
  2. raise the ball at another player.

13.1.4 Obstruction

obstruct an opponent from attempting to play the ball by:
  • moving or interposing themselves or their sticks
  • shielding the ball with their sticks or any part of their bodies
  • physically interfering with the sticks or bodies of opponents

13.1.5 Time-wasting

delay play by time-wasting

13.2 Goalkeepers may, when the ball is inside their own circle:

  1. use their stick, kickers or leg guards to propel the ball, or any part of their bodies including the hands to stop but not propel or lie on the ball, provided such action is not dangerous or likely to lead to dangerous play
A goalkeeper lying on the ball should be considered under the obstruction Rule.
  1. stop or deflect the ball with the stick above their shoulder unless dangerous or likely to lead to dangerous play
  2. deflect the ball over the cross-bar or around the goal-posts with the face of the stick or off any part of the body.
A goalkeeper may play the ball outside their own circle but then has no special privileges.

13.3 If the ball:

  1. strikes an umpire or any loose object on the field including any piece of playing equipment dropped unintentionally, the game shall continue.

14 PENALTIES

Advantage:
a penalty shall be awarded only when a player or team has been clearly disadvantaged by an opponent's offence.

14.1 A free hit shall be awarded for:

  1. an offence by an attacker within the opponents' 23 metres area
  2. an unintentional offence by the defence outside their circle within their own 23 metres area
  3. any offence by any player between the 22.90 metres lines.

14.2 A penalty corner shall be awarded for:

  1. an intentional offence by the defence within their 23 metres area but outside the circle
  2. an intentional offence by a defender in the circle which neither prevents a goal being scored nor deprives an attacker of actual or likely possession of the ball
  3. an unintentional offence by the defence in their circle that does not prevent the probable scoring of a goal
  4. the defence intentionally playing the ball over their back-line.

14.3 A penalty stroke shall be awarded for:

  1. an intentional offence by a defender in the circle to prevent a goal being scored or to deprive an attacker of actual or likely possession of the ball
  2. an unintentional offence by a defender in the circle that prevents the probable scoring of a goal
  3. persistent early breaking off the back-line by defenders at penalty corners.

14.4 If there is another offence before the awarded penalty has been taken, the penalty may be progressed up to 10 metres, upgraded and/or dealt with as misconduct or reversed if committed by the previously benefiting team.

15 PROCEDURES FOR PENALTIES

15.1 Free hit:

  1. more than 5 metres from the circle: close to where the offence occurred
"Close to" allows the free hit to be taken within playing distance of where the offence occurred. It is intended that no significant advantage be gained but the flow of the game maintained.
  1. outside the circle: to the defence within 14.63 metres of the back-line up to 14.63 metres from the back-line in line with the offence, parallel to the side-line
  2. inside the circle: to the defence: anywhere within the circle or, outside it, up to 14.63 metres from the back-line in line with the offence, parallel to the side-line
  3. within 5 metres of the circle: to the attack: close to where the offence occurred: all players of both teams other than the taker to be at least 5 metres from the ball
  4. the ball must be stationary
  5. the striker shall push or hit the ball; it must move at least a metre before another player of the same team is allowed to play the ball
  6. the ball shall not be raised intentionally or in such a way as to be dangerous or likely to lead to dangerous play
  7. after playing the ball, the striker may not play the ball again or approach within playing distance of it until it has been played by another player
  8. no player of the opposing team shall be within 5 metres of the ball.
If a player is standing within 5 metres of the ball in order to gain an advantage, the free hit need not be delayed.

15.2 Penalty corner:

15.2.1

  1. an attacker shall push or hit the ball, without intentionally raising it, from a spot on the back-line 9.14 metres from the goal-post on whichever side the attacking team prefers
  2. the player taking the push or hit must have at least one foot outside the field
  3. no other player shall be within 5 metres of the ball
  4. the remaining attackers shall be on the field with sticks, hands and feet not touching the ground inside the circle
  5. not more than five defenders including the goalkeeper shall be behind the back-line with their sticks, hands and feet not touching the ground inside the circle
  6. the remaining defenders shall be beyond the centre-line
  7. until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push or hit may enter the circle, nor may a defender cross the centre-line or back-line
  8. the attacker taking the push or hit may not play the ball again nor remain or approach within playing distance of it until it has been played by another player
  9. no shot at goal shall be made until the ball be stopped or come to rest on the ground outside the circle
  10. the ball may be passed or deflected by the attackers but if it remains within 5 metres of the circle must be stopped or come to rest on the ground outside the circle before a shot at goal is made
  11. if the first shot at goal is a hit, the ball must cross the goal-line, or be on a path which would have resulted in it crossing the goal-line before any deflection, at a height of not more than 460mm (the height of the backboard) for a goal to be scored, unless it touches the stick or body of a defender during its travel towards goal
  12. for flicks, deflections and scoops, and second and subsequent hits at goal, the ball may be raised to any height subject to there being no danger
  13. the attacker putting the ball into play may not score directly even if the ball is played into goal by a defender
  14. if the ball travels more than 5 metres from the circle, the penalty corner Rules no longer apply.

15.2.2 The penalty corner may be given again when:

  1. defenders stand with feet, hands and/or sticks touching the ground inside the circle
  2. defenders are within 5 metres of the ball before it is played
  3. defenders cross the back-line or centre-line before the ball is played.
Attackers deliberately, or gaining benefit from, entering the circle before the ball is played should be penalised by a free hit.

15.2.3 At half-time and full-time the game shall be prolonged to permit completion of a penalty corner. For this purpose the penalty corner shall be considered completed when:

  1. a goal is scored
  2. an attacker breaches any Rule
  3. a defender commits a breach of a Rule except that if another penalty corner or penalty stroke is awarded the game shall be prolonged again to permit completion of the penalty
  4. the ball travels more than 5 metres from the circle
  5. the ball is played out of the circle over the back-line by an attacker or unintentionally by a defender
  6. the ball goes out of the circle over the circle line again (that is, for the second time) after the initial injection from the back-line

15.3 Penalty stroke:

15.3.1 Taking:

  1. time shall be stopped when a penalty stroke is signalled and re-started when the whistle is blown for resumption of play
  2. the player taking the stroke shall stand close to and behind the ball prior to commencing the stroke
  3. all players, other than the defending goalkeeper, shall stand beyond the nearer 22.90 metres line, on the field, and shall not influence the situation
  4. the defending goalkeeper shall continue to wear protective headgear
  5. the defending goalkeeper shall stand with both feet on the goal-line and shall not leave the goal-line or move either foot until the ball has been played
  6. the player may not take the stroke until the controlling umpire confirms that both the stroke taker and the goalkeeper are ready and has blown the whistle
  7. the ball may be pushed, flicked or scooped from the penalty spot
  8. the ball may be raised to any height
  9. the player may touch the ball only once and subsequently shall not approach either the ball or the goalkeeper
  10. in the process of taking the stroke, the player may take one step forward but the rear foot may not pass the front one until the ball has been played
  11. the player may not feint at playing the ball
  12. the defending goalkeeper shall not remove unnecessarily any protective equipment in order solely to gain time

15.3.2 Ending:

  1. a goal is scored or awarded
  2. the ball comes to rest inside the circle, lodges in the goalkeeper's leg guard, is caught by the goalkeeper, passes outside the circle or the stroke-taker breaches the Rule and a goal is not scored or awarded.

15.3.3 Re-starting the game after a penalty stroke:

  1. if a goal was scored or awarded: by a centre pass
  2. if a goal was not scored or awarded: a push or hit by a defender 14.63 metres in front of the centre of the goal-line.

15.3.4 Penalties:

  1. free hit: for an offence by the stroke-taker, taken 14.63 metres in front of the centre of the goal-line
  2. goal awarded: for a breach of the Rules by the goalkeeper that prevents a goal being scored
  3. penalty stroke: may be taken again for an offence by any player of either team.

15.4 Personal penalties:

  1. for rough or dangerous play, misconduct (including the failure of a captain to exercise responsibilities defined in the Rules), or any intentional offence, the umpire may award the appropriate penalty and may:
    • caution the offending player
    • warn the offending player: green card
    • temporarily suspend the offending player for a minimum of 5 minutes of playing time: yellow card
    • permanently suspend the offending player: red card
  2. temporarily suspended players shall remain silently in a designated place until permitted by the umpire who suspended them to resume play
  3. temporarily suspended players may rejoin their team at half-time, then return to the designated place to complete their suspension
  4. permanently suspended players shall not remain within the playing facility or its surrounds.

16 ACCIDENTS/INJURIES

  1. if a goal is scored before the game is stopped it shall be allowed if it would have been scored had the accident not occurred
  2. if a player is incapacitated, the umpire may stop the game
  3. an injured or bleeding player should leave the field as soon as it is safe to do so and receive treatment off the field unless medical reasons prevent this
  4. players shall not return to the field until their wounds have been dressed and no player remain on, enter or re-enter the field wearing blood stained clothing
  5. if an umpire is incapacitated, the game shall be stopped; if injured and cannot continue, should be replaced
  6. the game shall be re-started with a bully, with the appropriate penalty or with a centre pass if a goal was scored.

EXPLANATIONS FOR MANDATORY EXPERIMENTS

Rule 4.a.

Although Rule 4.a. stated that "the playing side (of the stick) is the whole of the flat face ", umpires have been permitting players to play the ball with the edge of the stick. It has been decided to introduce this Mandatory Experimental Rule which will bring the Rules and umpires' decisions into line. An additional reason for adopting this Mandatory Experiment is that shots at goal using the edge of the stick can be spectacular. However, in this instance as in all others, concern about potential danger remains paramount.

One major reason for umpires not penalising edge-of-stick hitting in the past has been uncertainty that their decisions are accurate. The speed of the action makes accurate decisions very difficult.

To this point, advice on regulating edge-of-stick hitting has included stick face upwards, stick face downwards, guidance on position of feet and body, etc. Such advice has aimed to limit the extent of uncertainty and to limit the extent to which the back of the stick might otherwise be used. But uncertainty still reigns, and so we must clear it up through this experimental Rule. In the current Mandatory Experiment no such limitations are proposed, but it must be clearly understood that only the edge of the stick, and not the back, may be used.


The Mandatory Experiment is intended to seek a consensus on a stroke which can be spectacular but also potentially dangerous. However, bearing in mind the responsibility for safety incumbent upon Umpires, and within the Rules, it is emphasised that existing safety-related Rules must be applied. Danger can result not only from the hit but also the position/stance of the hitter.