Rules changes for the 2016 hockey season
In February of 2016, the FIH confirmed an amendment to rule 13.2 about attacking free hits in the 23 metres area. The rule now
states that the ball may only be played into the circle once it has travelled 5m or has been touched by a defender. The change
now prevents the attacking team from touching the ball and letting another attacker run onto it and play it into the circle.
Guidance has also been added with regard to the circumstances under which defenders inside the circle will be permitted to remain less
than 5m from the ball.
Rule 13.2 now reads as follows:
13.2 Procedures for taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play after it has been outside the field:
All parts of this Rule apply as appropriate to a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play
after it has been outside the field.
a the ball must be stationary
b opponents must be at least 5 metres from the ball
If an opponent is within 5 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or
must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing
play, the free hit need not be delayed.
c when a free hit is awarded to the attack within the 23 metres area, all players
other than the player taking the free hit must be at least 5 metres from the ball, except as specifically indicated below for
attacking free hits awarded within 5 metres of the circle
d the ball is moved using a hit, push, flick or scoop
e the ball may be raised immediately using a push, flick or scoop but must not be
raised intentionally using a hit
f from a free hit awarded to the attack within the 23 metres area, the ball must not
be played into the circle until it has travelled at least 5 metres or has been touched by a player of the defending team
If the player taking the free hit continues to play the ball (ie no defending player has yet touched it),
that player may play the ball any number of times, but the ball must travel at least 5 metres before that player plays the ball into
the circle by hitting or pushing the ball again.
Alternatively, after a defending player has touched the ball, it can be played into the circle by any other
player including the player who took the free hit.
At an attacking free hit awarded within 5 metres of the circle, the ball cannot enter the circle until it
has travelled at least 5 metres or it has been touched by a defending player.
On this basis, defenders who are inside the circle within 5 metres of the free hit are therefore not
interfering with play and may also shadow around the inside of the circle a player who takes a self-pass, provided that they do not
play or attempt to play the ball or influence play until it has either travelled at least 5 metres or alternatively has been touched
by a defending player who can legitimately play the ball.
Players inside or outside the circle who were 5 metres or more from the point of the free hit at its award
are not allowed to move to and then remain in a stationary position within 5 metres of the ball as the free hit is taken.
Other than indicated above, any playing of the ball, attempting to play the ball or interference by a
defender or an attacker who was not 5 metres from the ball, should be penalised accordingly.
Following a time stoppage after the award of an attacking free hit inside the 23 metres area, upon the
re-start all players other than the player taking the free hit must be at least 5 metres from the ball.
It is permitted to play the ball high above the attacking circle so that it lands outside the circle
subject to Rules related to dangerous play and that the ball is not legitimately playable inside or above the circle by another
player during its flight.
Schools are reminded that they are to ensure that umpires are correctly attired when officiating all matches,
regardless of the level of play. All umpires are required to wear one of the three colours of official Malik umpire shirts,
with both umpires wearing the same colour. Men are required to wear black slacks and ladies a black skirt with long black
socks. All umpires must wear suitable sports shoes, preferably black or a dark colour. Sunglasses are not to be
worn under any circumstances and, while caps may be worn if conditions necessitate it, it is generally not recommended in order that
completely unobstructed eye-contact with players remains possible.
Should any schools wish to obtain the official umpire shirts, they may contact Kathleen Faling from K&T Sports, the
official distributors of Malik products in South Africa, at 079-873-7089.
Umpiring Course Facilitators
In order to empower more people who wish to become active in School Hockey Umpiring, the following facilitators have been
given the mandate by the Mpumalanga Schools' Hockey Executive to present the Level O Umpire course:
Juanita Louw – Volksrust Region
Susan Currie – Middelburg Region
If you wish to make use of their services then please contact the Provincial Rules and Technical portfolio holder who will
initiate the process.
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