Rules Board meeting results in a more precise stick Rule, and other key modifications

11/9/99 -- Brussels, Belgium

The meeting of the Hockey Rules Board took place recently in Alexandria, Egypt during the week of activities and meetings marking the 75th Anniversary of the International Hockey Federation. The Rules Board put forth a number of important recommendations, which were subsequently approved by the FIH Executive Board and ratified by Council during its meeting of 29th October.

Rule 4, The Stick
The Rules Board has confirmed a clearer definition of the stick with the establishment of more specific stick standards. Detailed wording addressing stick shape, material and ball speed to stick speed ratio, as well as a diagram, have been incorporated into Rule 4, The Stick. Significantly, the revised Rule allows for the stick to "be made of or contain wood or any material other than metal or metallic components, provided it is fit for the purpose of playing hockey and is no risk to health."

The Rules Board worked closely with the FIH Equipment Committee in establishing the stick standards included in Rule 4. The full wording of Rule 4, to appear in the Rules of Hockey, follows for information.

All FIH Member Associations will be advised of the revised Rule, which will go into effect immediately

Additional field of play marking
Also approved was the addition of a new field of play marking, a broken line to be marked five metres from the outside edge of the circle. Although this does not constitute a Rule change, the additional line will make it easier for players, umpires and spectators to gauge the five-metre distance, which is relevant to a number of playing situations including penalty corners and free hits. This requirement, which is effective immediately, will be included in the Rules of Hockey 2000 and FIH Tournament Regulations.

Penalty corner substitution
It will be permissible after the award of a penalty corner to make a substitution for a player who has been directed by the umpire to leave the field of play because of exposed bleeding. This modification will be incorporated into the Rules of Hockey 2000 and apply from the book's effective date, May 2000, for international competition. (National Associations may determine implementation dates on a local level.)

Goalkeepers growing?
The Rules Board has expressed its concern about the possibility of goalkeepers attempting to increase their physical size by making extensions to their clothing. Precise wording will be added to the Rules of Hockey 2000 in order to prevent this, and will be included within FIH Tournament Regulations.

All of the above points will be in force during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Mandatory experiment continued
It was also decided that the mandatory experiment governing the use of the edge the stick (reference Rule 4a in 1999 Rules book) will be continued and included in the next edition of the Rules Book. The Hockey Rules Board will continue to collect data for evaluation.

New Penalty Corner trial approved
A penalty corner trial which will see the ball travel at least five metres outside the circle and result in an "attacking restart" of play has been approved. (Please note that this is not a Mandatory Experiment. Rules Trials are conducted on a selective basis by agreement with individual National Associations.)

The chief reasons behind conducting the trial are concern about safety under the current penalty corner Rule, the complexity of the current Rule, and the appropriateness of the current penalty, given statistics which show that most (approximately 80%) penalty corners are awarded for unintentional offences inside the circle. Since the trial penalty corner results in an attacking restart of play and is not expected to involve specialist players, substitutions will be allowed.

Text of Rule 4, The Stick, for the Rules of Hockey 2000

4. The Stick

4.1 Shape
a.The stick shall have a straight handle and a curved head.
b.The stick shall have a smooth flat face on the lower part of its left-hand side only (playing side).
c. A stick with a deviation of up to 20mm from either edge of the face or the handle is acceptable (distance A - B and/or A 1 B 1 in diagram).
d. The curve of the head, as measured vertically from the lowest part of the flat face parallel to the handle shall not exceed 100mm (distance C-D in the diagram).
e. The stick shall have a smooth transition from the handle to the head.
f. The back of the stick or right-hand side or non-playing side is the remainder for the whole length. It shall be smooth and rounded.
g. All edges shall be rounded.

4.2 Materials and Colour
a. The stick may be made of or contain (wood or) any material other than metal or metallic components, provided it is fit for the purpose of playing hockey and is no risk to health.
b. Tapes and resins may be applied to sticks provided that the surface remains smooth. Tape, which is metallic or light reflective, is not permitted.
c. The stick, including tape added to it, may not be coloured white or green over the lowest 100 mm (distance C D in the diagram), as measured from the lowest part of the flat face of the handle.

4.3 Size and Weight
a. Inclusive of any additional coverings used, the stick shall pass through a ring having an interior diameter of 51mm.
b. The total weight shall not exceed 737 grams.

4.4 Ball Speed / Stick Speed Ratio
Ball speed shall not be higher than 98% of stick speed.

Method of Testing
Ball speed is determined at a stick speed of 80 km/hour (5 times) in the simulator of one of the F.I.H. approved laboratories.

Ball speed is calculated from the time the ball needs to pass two measuring points and is expressed as a ratio to the stick speed mentioned.

F.I.H. approved hockey balls are used (see appendix E to these rules).

Test is carried out at prevailing laboratory conditions:
Temperature approx. 20C
Relative humidity approx. 50%

Manufacturers will be invited to submit (proto) types of sticks for testing and to send the results to F.I.H. for approval. F.I.H. retains the right to test randomly for control purposes.

4.5 Playing Side
The playing side is the whole of the flat face and that part of the handle for the whole of the length which is above the flat face.

Mandatory Experiment
The playing side is the whole of the flat face and the edges and that part of the handle for the whole of the length, which is above the flat face and the edges.

4.6 Diagram
a. The diagram describes the stick placed with the top of the stick to the posi/tive X-axis and the curved part of the head to the positive Y-axis.
b. The face of the stick is the part seen in the diagram; the back of the stick is the part not seen in the diagram (including edges).
c. Distance A-B is 20mm maximum.
d. Distance C-D is 100mm maximum.
(Note: The diagram will be added to the site at a later time.)

4.7 Limitation
The F.I.H. shall retain the traditional shape of the stick and has the right to prohibit shapes which in its opinion deviate therefrom. The F.I.H. also reserves the right to prohibit any type of stick which, in the opinion of its Hockey Rules Board, has been found demonstrably unsafe or likely to have a detrimental impact on the playing of the game.

4.8 Liability
a. Players shall ensure that their equipment does not, by virtue of its quality, materials or design, constitute a danger to themselves or to others.
b. The F.I.H. shall not be liable for any consequences deriving from the choice of the equipment used by the players, nor for any defects it may have or its non-compliance. Any verification of equipment that might have been conducted before the game is limited to ensuring compliance of the overall external appearance of that equipment with purely sporting requirements.

For additional information:
Mary Coyle, FIH Communications Manager
+32 2 219 4537 (phone)
+32 2 219 2761 (fax)
[email protected] (e-mail)

Copyright 1999 International Hockey Federation
Last modified: 11/9/99