There are no changes to the Rules of Hockey for 2006 (either outdoor of indoor) other than the reduction in the amount of bow/rake permitted in hockey sticks which was announced earlier in 2005.
The FIH Hockey Rules Board continues to scrutinise the rules to ensure that our game remains enjoyable for everyone involved in it. One of their focuses is making the game easier to understand while another is reviewing and responding to safety requirements. Changes may therefore occur in the rules in the future but 2006 will be an opportunity to consolidate our experience of the current rules.
The change to the stick specification reduces the permitted bow from 50mm to 25mm. This decision was taken by the FIH Executive Board on the advice of its Equipment Committee and Hockey Rules Board. It followed a concern that the extent of the bow of some sticks had increased significantly over the last few years, which appears to enable an increase in the power with which some players can flick the ball, especially for shots at goal. A limit to the stick bow will reduce some of this power without detracting from dribbling and other attractive ball control skills.
The precise change to the Field & Equipment (Stick) Specifications is shown underlined in the following extract from the rules:
2.3 k any curvature along the length of the stick (the rake or bow) must have a continuous smooth profile along the whole length, must occur along the face side or the back of the stick but not both and is limited to a depth of 25 mm.
The rake or bow is tested using a pointed wedge the point of which is 25 mm from the flat base. The stick is laid on a flat surface. The wedge must not pass completely under the stick at any place along its length.
For international hockey matches, these rules come into force from 1 January 2006. However, individual National Hockey Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation for matches within their jurisdiction. Some associations have therefore delayed implementation for levels of the game where other sticks are likely to continue to be used.
Because this is the sole extent of rules changes for 2006, new books will not be published in hard copy. Instead a small leaflet has been produced which can be inserted in the 2005 books. This leaflet is available to download from the FIH website where a consolidated set of 2006 rules incorporating this change will also be available in due course.
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