The '3-out rule' is to be tested at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia 22 – 30 March 2003.
The new rule trial states at least three players must at all times be outside their defending 23 metre area. These can be any three players and they do not have to be identified in advance or permanently for the match. Host organiser the Malaysian Hockey Federation has fully supported the rules trial at the Azlan Shah Cup, in which Germany, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan participate.
Wolfgang Rommel, Chairman of the Hockey Rules Board, commented, 'The aim is to make the defensive zone less crowded and so facilitate more attacking play - and thus increase the attractiveness of the game for players and spectators. When the defensive zone is less crowded, it is also safer. Extensive experience of the 3–out rule in Australia has also shown that there are fewer speculative, and unattractive, hard hits into the circle.'
'Of course, there are always concerns when we trial a new rule, but the whole purpose of having a trial is to test exactly what does happen and therefore to assess the positive and negative implications of the rule on the future of our sport.'