With the turn of the year, many more nations are now using the 2007/8 Rules of Hockey. The FIH is always keen to receive feedback on any rules changes or, for that matter, any existing rules. We receive this through various informal networks but also scan the web-based discussion forums regularly.
An issue we have picked up through a few national associations, is uncertainty about rule 9.11: ÔÇ£field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their bodyÔÇØ. After much discussion especially with input from Peter von Reth (as Hockey Rules Board member and Chairman of the Umpiring Committee) and after agreement by Hockey Rules Board Chairman Wolfgang Rommel, the following guidance note has been prepared.
Rule 9.11 of the Rules of Hockey 2007/8 states:
ÔÇ£Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.
It is not always an offence if the ball hits the foot, hand or body of a field player. The player only commits an offence if they voluntarily use their hand, foot or body to play the ball or if they position themselves with the intention of stopping the ball in this way.
It is not an offence if the ball hits the hand holding the stick but would otherwise have hit the stick.ÔÇØ
Compared to the 2005/6 Rules, the note in italics has been changed in an endeavour to reinforce the intended interpretation of this rule. The following advice has been produced to clarify this interpretation so that the rule is applied consistently.
The 2005/6 Rules indicated that it was not an offence if the ball hits the foot, hand or body of a field player ÔÇ£unless that player or their team benefits from thisÔÇØ. However, as with other rules, this continues to be an offence if benefit is gained. Rule 9.11 should therefore continue to be applied taking into account any benefit gained by the player or their team.