RULES' INTERPRETATIONSBy the very nature of the game, the Rules of Hockey leave much to individual interpretation. The following explanations should ensure more consistency and a fair opportunity for players of both teams to play the game.
Subjects are referred to in the same sequence as the related Rules.
If option (b) is chosen, the team will have one less player on the field.
At the end of the original goalkeeper's temporary suspension, the captain again has a choice:
Diving or sliding tackles can cause injury to tacklers and opponents. They can also cause unnecessary interruptions to the game. An illegal tackle which grounds the player with the ball should be penalised appropriately, possibly including a warning or suspension. However, this must not be confused with the occasion when the player who had the ball trips over the tackler or the tackler's stick after a legitimate tackle has been made.
Note that a diving or sliding player will often obstruct an opponent and should be penalised on this basis.
Umpires should be strict in penalising illegal tackles from the reverse-side, from behind the player with the ball or by diving or sliding.
Umpires should also carefully note the related Rules Interpretations concerning the Manufactured Foul (Rule 13) later in this section.
A player receiving a raised ball must be given the opportunity to play it safely. If the receiving player is clear of other players at the time the ball is raised, no players of the opposing team should approach within five meters until the ball has been received and is on the ground. Any player doing so should be penalised. Defenders do not have a right to the ball if an attacker is the initial receiver.
It is important to realise that not every ball entering the circle off the ground is forbidden. A ball which bounces into the circle from a raised stroke or which otherwise enters the circle off the ground must be judged according to the dangerous play rule.
A ball raised from a hit near the corner flag should be penalised as dangerous if it is raised into the circle and into players. This does not mean that every hit which is not played along the ground is to be penalised. The raised ball which is played into the open or to a lone player should not be penalised unless dangerous.
A ball raised over an opponent's stick or body on the ground is permitted subject as always to danger or leading to danger.
The principles are:
The Stationary Player
The Moving PlayerThe variations in this instance are many but the principles are:
However, umpires should careful note certain forms of obstruction which are often incorrectly overlooked. In particular, preventing a legitimate tackle by intentionally shielding the ball with the body or leg is obstruction. Stick obstruction and interference is prohibited; no player may strike at or interfere with an opponent's stick. The player with the ball may not use the stick to shield or protect the ball from a legitimate tackle.
Umpires should also look out for "third party" or "shadow" obstruction. Players who run in front of or block an opponent to deny them the legitimate and feasible opportunity to play the ball are obstructing. This can happen, for example, at penalty corners when attackers run across or block defenders including the goalkeeper.
A sliding or diving tackle may also lead to obstruction either in its execution or once the player concerned is on the ground.
It is important for umpires to be vigilant in observing the obstructions referred to in the preceding paragraphs. Players gain unfair benefit and opponents can become frustrated if the obstructions described are not penalised.
Defenders must show by their actions that it is not their intention to play the ball over the back-line. If a defender plays the ball in such a way that it can only finish up going out of play over the back-line, a penalty corner should be awarded.
Consistency of interpretation throughout the game and at both ends is of particular importance in view of the penalty involved.
The Rules require that a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred and that the ball must be stationary before it is hit or pushed.
Regarding the appropriate place, teams which gain an advantage should be penalised. Regarding the stationary ball, there should be a little leniency if a legitimate attempt has been made to make the ball stationary.
The ball must be moved at least a metre. If it is not and another player of the same team plays it or an opponent is prevented from playing it, a penalty should be awarded against the team taking the free hit.
Although players of the opposing team are required to be at least 5 metres from the ball when the free hit is taken, they must be given sufficient time to move there before they are penalised. The free hit does not have to be delayed until they are. Such action would be detrimental to the flow of the game.
However, players of the opposing team who delay the taking of a free hit (for example by not withdrawing 5 metres, by hitting the ball away, by handling the ball before returning it) should be penalised as appropriate. Persistent offences of this type should be penalised severely.
A free hit should not be penalised when the ball lifts slightly off the ground if the intention to play along the ground is clear and the free hit itself is not dangerous or leading to dangerous play.
If the first shot at goal is a hit, the ball should cross the goal-line no higher than the back-board or side-boards. If this hit is, or will be, too high at the line it should be penalised even if it is subsequently deflected downwards off the stick or body of another player. The ball may be higher than the back-board or side-boards during its flight before it crosses the line provided that there is no danger and provided that it would drop of its own accord to a legitimate height before crossing the line.
For the purposes of this Rule, the first hit at goal is independent of the number of times the ball has been passed or deflected before or after the stop.
Even if the ball touches the stick or body of a defender before the first shot at goal, that shot, if a hit, must still be below the 18 inches when it crosses the goal-line. Once the ball has been shot, the penalty corner is considered ended when:
The possibility of any shot being dangerous should be considered if players are in the circle in front of goal.
It should be noted that the Penalty Corner may be taken again if the defenders enter the circle too early but, if the attackers do so, a free hit should be awarded to the defenders.
To put the ball back into play some players use a stroke which is different from the traditional hit or push. They use a dragging action in which the ball is moved from behind the front foot and not released from the stick until it has passed the front foot. This is acceptable provided the ball is played only once.
All intentional offences must be penalised by an appropriate penalty combined when necessary with a personal penalty of a warning or suspension. Strict action taken early in a game will usually result in non-repetition of the offence.
If players dissent at a penalty awarded in their favour, umpires should be prepared to reverse the decision. This interpretation of the misconduct Rule is most effective. Where a decision is reversed umpires should blow the whistle again, indicate the new penalty and indicate the player causing the new decision.
If players dissent at a penalty awarded against them, it is possible either to advance a free hit up to 10 metres or to increase the penalty, for example from an attackers' free hit inside the 23 metres area to a penalty corner if the dissent is from the defending team. However, a penalty corner cannot be upgraded to a penalty stroke in this instance.
It is important that such powers are used thoughtfully and have a clear purpose. Umpires should understand that if a card is used for an offence early in a game, a precedent has been set for the remainder of the game. It is important to think carefully before using a card.
The main purpose of cards is to communicate decisions to the other umpire, players, team and technical officials and spectators.
Some general principles apply to the use of cards. Under certain, relatively uncommon, circumstances a player could receive two green or even two yellow cards for different offences during the same game. When an offence for which a card has been awarded is repeated the same card should not be used again. When a second yellow card is awarded it would be normal for the period of suspension to be significantly longer than the first suspension. Once a yellow card has been awarded to a player that player should not be given a green card.
Any offence involving violence should not be followed by another card of the same colour. For example, a yellow card for violence must be followed by a red card for another violent offence.
Oral cautions can be given to players in close proximity without stopping the game.
Umpires should keep a note of players to whom cards have been awarded and of the duration of suspensions and should exchange and confirm this information at half-time.
It should be noted that substitutes on the bench are also under the jurisdiction of the umpires. If necessary they should be cautioned or warned. If further action is required they can be suspended from the bench either temporarily or permanently.