WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
England Hockey can now confirm that it supports the implementation of all the rule changes with the exception of one.
Therefore the following (major) changes will be implemented at all levels of the sport in England from the start of the 2019/20 season:
Removal of Player with Goalkeeper Privileges (PwGKP)
Mandatory Experiment: a team no longer has the option to play with a player with goalkeeping privileges. This means that teams either play with a Goalkeeper, or 11 outfield players
Clarification added to the awarding of a Penalty Stroke if the ball hits a piece of equipment lying in the circle and a probable goal is prevented, a penalty stroke may be awarded.
Amendments to Attacking Free Hits within the 23m
Guidance concerning the re-start after awarding a Free Hit to the attacking team within 5 metres of the circle they are attacking.
The introduction of a quick self-pass for these Free Hits allows the defenders to stay within the circle, within 5m and not interfere with play until the ball can legitimately enter the circle.
If there is no quick self-pass, then ALL defenders, regardless of location in the 23m, have to retreat 5m if they wish to legitimately play the ball once the Free Hit is taken.
Defensive Free Hits awarded within the defensive circle
A free hit awarded to the defence within the defensive circle can be taken anywhere in their circle OR taken up to 15 metres from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line.
Amendment to ruling around Attackers entering the circle early at a Penalty Corner
If an attacker enters the circle at a Penalty Corner before permitted, the player taking the push or hit from the backline is required to go beyond the centre-line and the Penalty Corner is taken again.
Support is available for players, coaches, umpires and officials in learning these rule implementations through access to material on the Hockey Hub and this will be shared with Leagues and Umpiring Associations to enhance the learning of their members ahead of the new season.
There are a few more wording changes and guidance on the Hockey Hub.
HALVES OR QUARTERS?
England Hockey has, in recent years, endeavoured to apply a consistent set of rules throughout all levels of the sport.
However, the proposed change to 15-minute quarters has caused considerable concern.
The Board of England Hockey met on 16 July and agreed the following changes:
1. To apply 17.5 minute quarters (without the clock stopping at Penalty Corners) to the elite domestic club game specifically:
a. All Divisions of the England Hockey Leagues (the Investec Women’s Hockey League and Men’s England Hockey League);
b. Tier 1 of the Adult Club Championships.
2. For season 2019-20, to leave the rest of the club game played as halves, usually of 2x35 minutes (or shorter formats in the junior game as appropriate).