The Rules of Hockey as published in booklet form and on the FIH website (see link FIH Rules of Hockey) apply to all hockey played throughout the world. This ensures that the game is played in a consistent way.  If your looking for an introduction to the basics of hockey then go to the link Hockey Explained.

Rule Change for September 2016

There are no new rules for the start of the 2016/17 season, however, there has been a change (and, therefore, clarification) to the awarding of red cards.  The regulations are such that from the start of the 2016/17 season a red card should be awarded instead of a second yellow for the same offence, by the same player, during a match.  However, under these circumstances the red card is just for the rest of the match (i.e. player cannot take part in the remainder of the match and must leave the pitch) and does not result in an automatic 16 day ban.  A “straight red” must still be awarded for serious, intentional misbehaviour towards another player or the umpire(s) (verbal/physical abuse) and this will still result in an automatic 16 day ban.  For more information go to Updated Red Card Regulations – England Hockey.

Rule Change for February 2016

A detailed explanation of the rules change and their interpretation can be found HERE (will open in a new window/tab); in essence they are:

To avoid unfair and potentially dangerous play for all attacking free hits within the 23m area the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced changes to the Rules of Hockey, specifically rule 13.2 which relates to the taking of an attacking free hit within 5 metres of the attacking circle.

The changed rules are as follows:

  • 13.2c: 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.
  • 13.2f: 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.

Umpires should note that:

  1. The management of the set piece has not changed essentially. All players must still be at least 5m away from the free hit, except for the player taking it. Defenders who were within 5m of the place where the foul occurred may still stay within 5m, provided that they are within the circle and do not interfere with play before the ball has travelled 5m, or the stick of a player, other than the hit taker, has legitimately touched the ball.
  2. However, please note that if there has been a stoppage in time between the awarding of the free hit and the re-start in play, then all players, including defenders in the circle, must be at least 5m away.
  3. Also, the practice of a player taking a free hit by touching the ball for a team mate who was 5m away to run onto and then drive into the circle is now a foul. If this occurs, a free hit to the defence should be awarded.”

New Rules for 2015

A detailed explanation of the new rules and their interpretation can be found HERE (will open in a new window/tab); in essence they are:

  • Players breaking early at penalty corners may be sent to the halfway line (and removal of the option to award a penalty flick for repeat offences).
  • Two minute suspension on award of a green card (and green card effectively replaced by verbal warning).
  • Players allowed to play the ball above the shoulder provided it is not dangerous.
  • Attacking free hits award within 5 metres of the edge of the circle may be taken from the point of offence, BUT all other rules stay the same (all players 5 metre or more from the free hit, ball cannot be played directly into the circle, ball must travel 5 metres before being played into the circle etc).
  • Re-start after ball played unintentionally over back-line will be on the 23 metre line in-line with the point at which the ball crossed the back-line BUT all other rules stay the same (all players 5 metre or more from the free hit, ball cannot be played directly into the circle, ball must travel 5 metres before being played into the circle etc).
  • Deletion of the ability to progress a free hit 10 metres up the pitch for misconduct.
  • Introduction of a maximum stick length.
  • Lifting of ban on certain types of face mask, in particular those with metal grills.
A further explanation of all the changes, with videos, can be found HERE.
Specific notes on free hits within 5 metres of the circle HERE and HERE.