The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has published the Rules of Indoor Hockey which come into effect from 1 May 2009. From this date, they will apply to all matches at international level. National Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation at national level.
A starting date is specified but not an end date. FIH will avoid implementing changes to these Rules before the Indoor Hockey World Cup in 2011 and perhaps beyond. However, in exceptional circumstances FIH retains the right to make changes which will be notified to National Associations and published on the FIH website: www.worldhockey.org.
One of the objectives of the FIH and therefore of the Hockey Rules Board is to make the game more interesting and skilful. This edition of the Indoor Rules therefore specifies that a pitch should be the full-size of 44 metres by 22 metres wherever possible. This will ensure there is space on the pitch for attractive and skilful play.
Indoor hockey involves swift changes of direction and tactics. To enable teams to review their game plans during a match, “time-outs” have been introduced.
Another objective of the HRB is to decrease the number and duration of interruptions to the flow of play and to increase the length of time the ball is in active play. As in the 2009 Rules for outdoor or field hockey, the Indoor Rules permit the player taking the free push to use a “self-pass”. However, free pushes taken by a team inside the half of the pitch they are attacking must not be played directly into the circle.
These revised Rules are referred to as Mandatory Experimental Rules. They are mandatory because they must be played throughout indoor hockey; they are experimental to show that they will be reviewed after experience before deciding if they become permanent Indoor Rules.
These are the main changes in the Rules of Indoor Hockey. Other small changes to wording and some additional notes provide improved interpretation and explanation of certain Rules.
The Rules of Indoor Hockey are provided here on the FIH website. The rules books are currently being printed and will be available in a few weeks.
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