History of the Rules of Hockey - Indoor
Early Indoor Rules
Until 1966, the German Hockey Associations, in both West Germany and East Germany, had been producing a rules book for their domestic use which was used by other European countries but not by Great Britain.
Then in 1966, the Germans handed over responsibility for the rules to the FIH Indoor Hockey Committee. Accordingly in 1966 the FIH Office in Brussels produced the first FIH Indoor Rules Book in three languages, German, French and English. Significantly, in 1968 the FIH recognised the indoor game by decreeing in its Constitution that hockey included indoor hockey.
The FIH Indoor Hockey Committee continued to be responsible for the Indoor Rules Book via the Brussels office, until responsibility for the indoor rules was transferred in 1988 to the Hockey Rules Board.
The Rules of Indoor Hockey
- Six players, including a goalkeeper and six substitutes, but only at specific situations in the game.
- If any team was reduced to less than four players, the opponents were declared the winners.
- Dimensions of pitch and goals (slightly smaller than those of outdoor hockey).
- Hits not allowed – pushes only and no raised ball except when shooting at goal.
- At penalty corners only the defending goalkeeper was permitted to stand in the goal until the ball was pushed out, with the other players required to stand outside the goal behind the back line on the opposite side from where the ball was being played - they could, after the ball was played, move into the goal-mouth.
- The game was to be played on any hard, fast surface. Players' footwear and equipment were specified and goalkeepers' gloves were to be the same as for outdoor hockey.
- No offside and no corners.
- Playing time (originally 2 x 15 minutes) was increased to 2 x 20 minutes with lesser time for junior domestic matches.
Several rules followed the basic principles of outdoor hockey including the stick and the ball although later the indoor ball was required to be seamless. In 1986 the rules book was re-written to conform as closely as possible to the rules of outdoor hockey.
One indoor rule in 1966 provided for a penalty stroke from 7 metres to be awarded for 'any grave and unsporting behaviour by a team in its own half of the ground'. Also, there was the rule providing that a penalty corner be awarded for a deliberate offence within a player's own half. In 1966 a player could be temporarily suspended 'for unsporting behaviour' for two to five minutes or be suspended for the remainder of the game and an incapacitated or suspended goalkeeper had to be replaced by another goalkeeper.
Finally, the use of the hand to stop the ball in the air during play or at penalty corners by players other than the goalkeeper was permitted until 1992.
- Players must not stand in their opponents' goal mouth.
- Time prolonged at half-time and full-time to allow penalty corners to be completed.
- Prior to a revised edition in 1976 - the provision to forbid substitutions after the award of a penalty corner or penalty stroke.
- A player's stick must be on the ground when playing the ball for a shot at goal.
- A player may not hit or play the ball in the air (but could stop it).
- Players may not take part in the game whilst lying on the pitch except for goalkeepers within their own circles, introduced because players were lying on the pitch thus reducing the playing area and causing unwanted obstruction.
- An injured player was permitted to be substituted during normal play (but only the injured player).
- It was also made clear that an umpire's jurisdiction also extended to all players including those occupying the team benches.
- The substitution of a goalkeeper by a field player with the privileges of a goalkeeper was required to wear a different coloured shirt.
- A provision was inserted to permit substitution of incapacitated goalkeepers at penalty corners and penalty strokes.
- The coloured card procedure (green, yellow, red) was formally introduced.
- Permitting a shot at goal after the ball had been stopped (by hand or stick) either inside or outside the circle.
- At a free push all opposition players had to be at least three metres from the ball.
- For all free pushes within three metres of the circle, all players had to be three metres from the ball.
- Free pushes for the ball going over the side-boards could be taken up to one metre from the boards.
A total revision of the rules book appeared based on that of the outdoor rules book and included Guidance and Advice for Players and Umpires.
- No player (except the goalkeeper) to play with knees, arms or hands on the pitch in the act of playing the ball or stopping it at penalty corners.
- In normal play the hand holding the stick was permitted to be on the pitch for tackling purposes.
- Goalkeepers were not permitted to play the ball outside the circle whilst lying on the ground.
- Players were now not permitted to deliberately enter within (as well as stand in) an opponents' goal mouth, or run behind the goals.
- The award of a penalty stroke for unsporting behaviour in a player's half of the pitch was deleted.
- Requirements relating to personal equipment, including helmets used by goalkeepers.
- Goalkeepers allowed to stop the ball with their stick above their shoulder.
- Field players, when acting as goalkeepers, not permitted to wear helmets outside the circle but compulsory for defending penalty corners and penalty strokes, 1992.
The Hockey Rules Board brought indoor hockey in line with the outdoor game by abolishing all use of the hand except by goalkeepers defending their goal including also abolishing the hand stop at penalty corners. This was somewhat controversial as it was pointed out by indoor hockey followers that this would prevent a legitimate high shot at goal being stopped by hand by a field player at penalty corners. However, the rule has now found general acceptance given the fact that hockey was to be regarded as a stick and ball game.
- Centre pass to start or re-start the game in any direction.
- The free push must move at least 10 centimetres before another player of the same team can play the ball and it did not need not be taken on the exact spot of the offence but within playing distance.
- Goalkeepers permitted to wear 'hand protectors' which were no longer referred to as gauntlets or with any reference to fingers and which were subject to size limitations (23 centimetres wide and 35.5 centimetres long).
- The obstruction rule was simplified and included holding the ball against the side-board as an offence.
The new 1996 book also included Technical Advice, an innovation introduced to assist nations to start or improve indoor hockey facilities.
- Stick specification was agreed - a diagram of the stick was included in the Indoor Rule Book.
- A mandatory experiment relating to play with the edge of the stick.
- Substitution of an attacker or defender permitted at the award of a Penalty Stroke.
- The captain’s responsibility for team discipline was increased to include substitutes.
- For a further offence before the awarded penalty has been taken, the penalty may be progressed up to five metres, upgraded and/or dealt with as misconduct, or reversed if committed by the previously benefiting team
This was the first update of the indoor Rules since 2000. It was therefore appropriate to incorporate the relevant minor changes which had been introduced to the outdoor Rules in the interim. The overall presentation of indoor hockey was also simplified by adopting common indoor and outdoor Rules where appropriate but retaining the distinctive characteristics of each version of the game.
- in common with outdoor hockey, permitting a captain to be on the pitch or, at particular times in the match, to be a substitute;
- making the Rules governing substitution the same for indoor and outdoor hockey (ie at any time except within the period from the award of a penalty corner until after it has been completed);
- simplifying and standardising how a penalty corner is completed for substitution purposes and at the end of half-time and full-time;
- requiring field players who leave the pitch for injury treatment, refreshment, to change equipment or for some reason other than substitution to re-enter only within 3 metres of the centre-line;
- specifying how the result of a match is decided;
- rationalising procedures for starting and re-starting play so that the procedures for taking a free push also apply to the centre pass and to putting the ball back into play after it has passed completely over the side-board or back-line;
- retaining the fundamental characteristics of the bully but simplifying it by requiring sticks to touch only once;
- specifying that players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally;
- simplifying the obstruction Rule by referring in the Rule itself only to the fundamental principle that players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball;
- specifying that players must not tackle unless they are in a position to play the ball without body contact;
- specifying the 'advantage Rule' more simply and clearly;
- introducing the Mandatory Experimental Rule to indoor hockey which permitted a defender to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height;
- introducing the Mandatory Experimental Rule to indoor hockey which specified that the ball must travel outside the circle but need not be stopped before a shot at a goal at a penalty corner; this replaced the previous requirement that the ball must be stopped or come to rest inside or outside the circle before a shot could be taken;
- requiring the player taking a penalty stroke to start by standing behind and within playing distance of the ball and not permitting them to approach either the ball or the goalkeeper after taking the stroke (ie the former limitation of taking only one step forward was deleted);
- specifying that the whistle must be blown to start a penalty stroke when both players are in position (rather than requiring the umpire to confirm that both are ready which can cause confusion in the absence of a common spoken language);
- it was specified that the penalty stroke is taken again if a goalkeeper prevents a goal being scored but leaves the goal-line or moves either foot before the ball was played;
- permitting the intended duration of a temporary suspension to be extended for misconduct by a player while suspended;
- introducing new umpiring signals to indicate dangerous play and stick obstruction.
- permitting a defender to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height;
- requiring the ball to travel outside the circle before a shot at goal at a penalty corner but not requiring it to be stopped.
The only change this year was to the maximum bow/rake permitted in the stick. It was reduced from 50mm to 25mm.
- permitting a team either to have a goalkeeper on the field (with full protective equipment or only with protective headgear) or to play entirely with field players (in which case no player has goalkeeping privileges).
- specifying the face protection which field players are permitted to wear especially in relation to defending a penalty corner.
- clarifying that a defender must not be penalised if their stick is not motionless or is travelling towards the ball while attempting to stop or deflect the shot even when the ball is above shoulder height.
- permitting a goalkeeper to use their hands, arms or any other part of their body (and not just their stick, kickers and leg-guards as hitherto) to move the ball away but only as part of a goal saving action and not to propel the ball forcefully so that it travels a long distance.
- a pitch should be the full-size of 44 metres by 22 metres unless this is not possible in particular sports halls;
- to enable teams to review their game plans and tactics, “time-outs” were introduced;
- as in the 2009 rules for field/outdoor hockey, the player taking the free push may use a “self-pass” whereby they continue playing the ball immediately after taking the free push;
- additionally, free pushes taken by a team inside the half of the pitch they are attacking must not be played directly into the circle from a free push; it must be played by another player or touch the side-boards.
The major changes above were all implemented as Mandatory Experimental Rules to ensure they were monitored and reviewed. Other smaller changes provided clarification and explanation of certain rules:
- how to deal with a team which has too many players on the pitch;
- the roles and actions when playing with a goalkeeper, a field player with goalkeeping privileges or only with field players were clarified;
- the circumstances in which a goalkeeper or field player with goalkeeping privileges can move the ball away using their hands, arms or body;
- the ways in which a penalty corner is completed were all consolidated within the penalty corner Rule.
the “self-pass” rule which had been introduced as a mandatory experimental rule in 2009 was confirmed as a full rule. The restriction on pushing the ball directly into the circle from free pushes in the attacking half of the pitch was amended to permit the ball to enter the circle directly after touching the side-board outside the circle. Subject to this change, the former mandatory experimental rule was confirmed as a full rule.
The rule which specified that “players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally” was deleted. Any action of this sort can instead be dealt with under other Rules.
The penalties applying for an offence during the taking of a penalty corner were listed in detail fro the first time. The penalties applying for an offence during the taking of a penalty stroke were rationalised.
With rule changes not everything can be covered and many alterations and amendments were made to the indoor book which followed previous action taken for hockey as a whole. This kept with the policy of keeping the indoor game as near as possible to the rules of outdoor hockey
Note Editions of the Indoor Hockey Rules Book were issued as follows:
FIH 1966, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1986-88
HRB 1988-90, 1990-92, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007/8, 2009, 2011
This History of the Rules of Indoor Hockey is based on research initially conducted on behalf of the Hockey Rules Board by Ernest Wall in 2000.