The Open de France Indoor Hockey Tournament, played from 7 until 9 December in Rouen, France provided an excellent opportunity to see the indoor rules trials in action.
The tournament featured ten experienced indoor sides including three from Germany and one from Russia. Both trial rules currently proposed by the Hockey Rules Board were used: one player always staying outside the half of the pitch their team is defending and attacking free pushes not played directly into the circle.
Former French international player, Bruno Delavenne, coaching Lille HCM at this tournament, felt that the indirect attacking free push avoided danger to defenders and was easily integrated into the game. He said that “it was a good idea to be able to play the ball off the side-boards into the circle from these free pushes”. On the other hand, Russell Garcia the Great Britain gold medalist playing with Flottbek Hamburg, regretted that this rule would mean it is not possible to take a quick free push into the circle for a “tip-in” goal.
The rule about one player always staying outside the half of the pitch their team is defending was also broadly welcomed but with some comments about the detailed way in which it worked. Russell observed: “it creates interesting opportunities for 5 attackers against 4 defenders which is exciting”. He also noted that there were more attacking break-aways especially after defending a penalty corner.
Requiring one defender to stay outside the defending half was also very interesting if a defending player had been suspended. Igor Shishkov, manager of Dinamo Moscow, noted that “five attackers against 3 defenders plus the goalkeeper in this situation creates good goal scoring opportunities”. More generally, his team thought both trial rules had merit.
This was also the opinion of the umpires. “Both trial rules were easier to umpire than we first thought” said French international umpire Hichem Azaiez. “They placed even more importance on umpire cooperation.”
These indoor hockey trial rules are being played in various countries around the world from Australia, to Bulgaria, to Ireland and, of course, in France as reported here. Indeed, both trials will feature right through to the finals of the French Indoor Hockey Companionship.
The Open de France tournament in Rouen, France, was therefore attended by five members of the Indoor Rules Taskforce established by the Hockey Rules Board. They saw the effects of the trial rules at first hand. However, a decision about whether or not to introduce these rules permanently throughout the game will not be taken until feedback is received from other countries using them in various competitions.
These trials are part of a review of the Rules of Indoor Hockey currently undertaken by the Hockey Rules Board. More information about the rules involved and a feedback questionnaire is available on the FIH website (click here). Any countries or competitions interested in participating in the trials should contact Roger Webb, FIH Technical Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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