Hockey NZ has adopted all FIH outdoor hockey rule changes effective 1 January 2022.  A reference link to these new rule changes is:

How will the Rules of Hockey change in 2022? | FIH  (A very good read)

Additionally, we strongly recommend that everyone reads the rule changes section (pages 5 & 6) of the FIH Rules of Hockey which outlines all new rule changes.

Rules of Hockey | FIH

A summary of the new rule changes are as follows:

Three Major Rule Changes

Change to Rule 4.2 – Removing of Penalty Corner Protective Equipment:

Rule 4.2 has been changed to allow for defending players using Penalty Corner protective equipment to continue to play the ball outside the circle after gaining possession during the taking of a penalty corner. Players can now continue to run with the ball while keeping their protective equipment on, but they must safely remove that same equipment at the first opportunity to do so,  and always inside the defensive 23m area. No player using Penalty Corner protective equipment can play the ball outside the 23m area at any time.

Umpiring Guidance/tips:

  • This rule has been changed to improve the flow and speed of the game, as well as improving player safety with defenders now being able to focus on the ball and play, and not on removing protective equipment during a pressurized defensive situation .
  • Ensure you read rule 4 in its entirety including the supporting notes
  • Safety of all players is still the key consideration
  • Field players must remove their penalty corner protective equipment as soon as they are able to do so after a penalty corner is completed.
  • If no suitable opportunity to remove protective equipment arises, players can continue to wear protective equipment whilst they are within the defensive 23m area without penalty
  • All field players must remove all protective equipment before they leave the defensive 23m area or when instructed to by an umpire
  • Should a free hit be awarded to the defending team during a penalty corner, defending players are permitted to immediately pass the ball wearing protective equipment, however they are not permitted to take an auto-pass.
  • A free hit is awarded against the defending team if:
  • A player takes an auto-pass wearing any protective equipment used to defend a penalty corner
  • Any defending player leaves the defensive 23m wearing any protective equipment used to defend a penalty corner. In this case the free hit is taken immediately outside the defensive 23m area where the defender crossed the line. Umpires may choose to play advantage if it is deemed safe and to be an advantage for the attacking team

Change to Rule 9.10 –  Aerial Ball:

Rule 9.10 has been changed to allow for the playing of what is commonly referred to as Aerial Ball.  Players must not approach within 5 metres of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been received, controlled, and is on the ground. An exception is that an aerial ball may be intercepted within 5 metres but outside of playing distance of the receiver, provided it is done safely. Playing distance is defined as the distance within which a player is capable of reaching the ball to play it.

Umpiring Guidance/tips:

  • This new rule has been changed to allow a fairer contest to compete for aerial ball in a safe manner
  • Ensure you read rule 9 in its entirety including supporting notes
  • The initial receiver of an aerial ball has the right to the ball. If it is not clear which player is the initial receiver, the player(s) of the team which raised the ball must allow the opponent to receive it.
  • Safety of all players is still the key consideration. The lower the level of player skill, the higher the level of player safety should be applied when umpiring aerial ball.
  • Apply early recognition of danger and/or advantage gained when considering a penalty
  • A player approaching from outside the 5 metres can legitimately intercept the ball in an uncontested situation in which players of opposing teams are not within playing distance of each other, and the interception is done safely and does not cause the playing distance between such players to be reduced.

Removal of Rule 13.5g

Rule 13.5g has been removed. It stated that the awarding of a bully could be one of the conditions that would determine the completion of a penalty corner. This is no longer possible, as now any stoppage of play for injury or other applicable reasons during the taking of a penalty corner is a retake of the penalty corner as per Rule 6.5d

Umpiring guidance/tips:

  • Read rules 13 and Rule 6 in their entirety including the supporting notes.

Additional rule change

The following rule change is essentially cosmetic and is clarifying and correcting the existing rule.

Removal of Rule 2.2

The mandatory experiment Rule 2.2, allowing teams to play with a field player with Goalkeeping privileges has been removed.

General Application of Hockey Rules

When umpiring hockey, our 2 key overarching pillars are to keep the game fair and keep the game safe. As well as the technical appreciation of a rule, it is just as important to understand the intent/spirit of the rule to ensure the best practical implementation. Apply common sense, context, and a consistent application of the rules at all times.

Access to the FIH Rules of Hockey App can be found here: Rules of Hockey | FIH

New paper based 2022 rule books are being printed and we will advise when these are available for purchase.

For any questions or further support regarding the 2022 outdoor hockey rule changes; these can be directed to Hockey NZ Technical Manager Colin French