From 1 January 2013 RULES OF HOCKEY
1 Rules of Hockey
Effective from 1 January 2013
Copyright © FIH 2012
The International Hockey Federation
Rue du Valentin 61
CH – 1004 Lausanne
Tel. : + 41 21 641 0606
Fax : + 41 21 641 0607
E-mail : info@fi h.ch
Internet : www.fi h.ch
2 Responsibility and Liability
Participants in hockey must be aware of the Rules
of Hockey and of other information in this publication.
They are expected to perform according to the Rules.
Emphasis is placed on safety. Everyone involved in the
game must act with consideration for the safety of others.
Relevant national legislation must be observed.
Players must ensure that their equipment does not
constitute a danger to themselves or to others by virtue
of its quality, materials or design.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) does not
accept responsibility for any defects or non-compliance
of facilities and is not liable for any consequences resulting
from their use. Any verifi cation of facilities or equipment
conducted before a match is limited to ensuring an overall
appearance of compliance and sporting requirements.
Umpires exercise an important role controlling the game
and ensuring fair play.
Implementation and Authority
The Rules of Hockey apply to all hockey players
and offi cials. National Associations have discretion
to decide the date of implementation at national level.
The date of implementation for international competition
is 1 January 2013.
The Rules are issued by the FIH Rules Committee under
the authority of the International Hockey Federation.
Copyright is held by the International Hockey Federation.
Availability of the Rules
Information about the availability of the Rules on the FIH
website and about the purchase of Rules books
is included at the end of this publication.
Introduction ............................................................................................. 4
Terminology ............................................................................................ 8
PLAYING THE GAME
1 Field of play ............................................................................. 10
2 Composition of teams .......................................................... 11
3 Captains ................................................................................... 14
4 Players’ clothing and equipment ........................................ 15
5 Match and result .................................................................... 17
6 Start and re-start the match ................................................ 18
7 Ball outside the fi eld .............................................................. 20
8 Method of scoring ................................................................. 21
9 Conduct of play : players ..................................................... 21
10 Conduct of play : goalkeepers and players
with goalkeeping privileges .................................................. 25
11 Conduct of play : umpires .................................................... 26
12 Penalties ................................................................................... 28
13 Procedures for taking penalties ......................................... 29
14 Personal penalties ................................................................. 37
1 Objectives ................................................................................ 39
2 Applying the rules ................................................................... 40
3 Umpiring skills ......................................................................... 42
4 Umpiring signals ..................................................................... 45
FIELD AND EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS
1 Field and fi eld equipment ..................................................... 48
2 Stick ........................................................................................... 55
3 Ball ............................................................................................. 60
4 Goalkeeper’s equipment ....................................................... 61
Additional Information Available .......................................................... 62
THE RULES CYCLE
The Rules in this new publication are effective from 1 January 2013
at international level. National Associations have discretion to decide
the date of implementation at national level.
A starting date is specifi ed but not an end date. We will avoid implementing
changes to these Rules before the 2014 Hockey World
Cups and perhaps beyond. However, in exceptional circumstances
the International Hockey Federation (FIH) retains the right to make
changes which will be notifi ed to National Associations and published
on the FIH website: www.fi h.ch.
The FIH Rules Committee regularly reviews all the Rules of Hockey.
It takes account of information and observations from a wide
variety of sources including national hockey associations, players,
coaches, offi cials, media and spectators together with match and
competition reports, video analysis and Rules trials. Ideas which
have already been trialled with the FIH Rules Committee’s approval
in local or limited circumstances are especially valuable. Rules
changes can then be based on practical experience. The fi rst, and
main, change referred to below has come about in this way.
The way a goal is scored is amended; it now includes what is sometimes
referred to as an “own goal”. That is, a goal can now be
scored after the ball is touched in the circle by either an attacker or
a defender. The detailed text is provided in Rule 8. It is described
as a “mandatory experimental rule” so that it applies at all levels of
hockey but, because it is a signifi cant change, it will be monitored
closely. After a period of review, the FIH Rules Committee will decide
whether or not it becomes a permanent change to the Rules.
The other notable change permits the ball to be raised intentionally
but safely directly from a free hit using a push, fl ick or scoop action.
5 This is essentially an evolution of what is known as the “self-pass”
from a free hit. By having the option to raise the ball immediately,
opposing players will not have had the opportunity to get closer than
fi ve metres; a raised ball should be safer. The resultant changes are
to Rules 13.2 d and e.
As a consequence of the changes above, Rules 13.2.f and g have
Technical changes have been made to the stick specifi cation later
in these Rules. The specifi cation has been re-written to make it
clearer; the method of measuring the bow or rake has been revised.
Stick manufacturers have been aware of this intended change for
some time so new sticks on the market should be fully compliant.
However, we are aware that some players will have older sticks. We
therefore recommend that National Associations introduce this new
specifi cation sympathetically at lower levels.
Otherwise, changes in this edition of the Rules are clarifi cations of
existing Rules. To draw attention to all changes, even these minor
points of clarifi cation, a line appears in the margin of any text which
has been changed.
PLAYING RULES IN INTERNATIONAL MATCHES
One other change to mention is the note added to Rule 14.1.b
about a green card. In an international match, a green card indicates
a temporary suspension of 2 minutes playing time whereas in
all other matches it is a warning.
The green card has been used this way at international level for
some time. This recognises that these matches are played under
the control of a technical table, with experienced players and offi -
cials. Some other small variations in the playing Rules also occur in
these top level matches. It must be understood, however, that they
only apply in these matches; all other matches must be played in
accordance with the Rules of Hockey unless otherwise agreed by
the FIH Rules Committee after submission by a National Hockey
6 APPLYING THE RULES
The FIH Rules Committee continues to be concerned that some
Rules are not applied consistently.
Rule 7.4.c: ball intentionally played over the back-line by a defender
and no goal is scored. If it is clear that the action is intentional,
umpires should not hesitate to award a penalty corner.
Rule 9.7 specifi es that players must not play the ball with any part
of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height. For consistency
and fairness, shoulder height should be strictly enforced.
Rule 9.12: obstruction. Umpires should penalise shielding the ball
with the stick more strictly. They should also look out for a tackling
player who by pushing or leaning on an opponent causes them to
lose possession of the ball.
Rule 13.2.a: ball stationary at a free hit. Umpires are sometimes not
strict enough on requiring the ball to be stationary, albeit very briefl y,
for a free hit especially if it is taken using a self-pass.
We believe our sport is enjoyable to play, offi ciate in and watch. Nevertheless,
we will continue to seek ways of making our game even
more enjoyable for all its participants while retaining its unique and
attractive characteristics. This enables our sport to develop which
is necessary in a world which makes large demands on personal
time and in which recreation and sport can contribute to personal
The FIH Rules Committee will therefore continue to welcome
suggestions for Rules developments or for clarifi cation of current
Rules especially from National Hockey Associations. National
Associations are an important primary source of advice and
guidance but, if appropriate, Rules suggestions or questions can be
sent by email to info@fi h.ch or to the FIH postal address.
7 MEMBERSHIP OF THE FIH RULES COMMITTEE, 2012 :
Chair : Janet Ellis
Secretary : Roger Webb
Richard Aggiss Richard Akpokavie
Jorge Alcover Eric Donegani
Marten Eikelboom Peter Elders
Margaret Hunnaball Michael Krause
Ramesh Patel Alain Renaud
Peter von Reth
One of the participants in a team.
A team consists of a maximum of sixteen persons composed
of a maximum of eleven players on the fi eld and up to fi ve
One of the participants on the fi eld other than the goalkeeper.
One of the participants of each team on the fi eld who wears full
protective equipment comprising at least headgear, leg guards
and kickers and who is also permitted to wear goalkeeping
hand protectors and other protective equipment.
Field Player with Goalkeeping Privileges
One of the participants on the fi eld who does not wear full
protective equipment but who has goalkeeping privileges ;
this player wears a different colour shirt to their other team
members as identifi cation.
The team (player) which (who) is trying to score a goal.
The team (player) which (who) is trying to prevent a goal
The shorter (55 metres) perimeter line.
The back-line between the goal-posts.
The longer (91.40 metres) perimeter line.
The area enclosed by and including the two quarter circles
and the lines joining them at each end of the fi eld opposite
the centre of the back-lines.
9 23 metres area
The area enclosed by and including the line across the fi eld
22.90 metres from each back-line, the relevant part of the
side-lines, and the back-line.
Playing the ball : fi eld player
Stopping, defl ecting or moving the ball with the stick.
Shot at goal
The action of an attacker attempting to score by playing the
ball towards the goal from within the circle.
The ball may miss the goal but the action is still a
“ shot at goal ” if the player’s intention is to score
with a shot directed towards the goal.
Striking the ball using a swinging movement of the stick
towards the ball.
Moving the ball along the ground using a pushing movement
of the stick after the stick has been placed close to the ball.
When a push is made, both the ball and the head of the
stick are in contact with the ground.
Pushing the ball so that it is raised off the ground.
Raising the ball off the ground by placing the head of the
stick under the ball and using a lifting movement.
Playing a ball which is to the right of the player in a forwards
The distance within which a player is capable of reaching
the ball to play it.
An action to stop an opponent retaining possession of the ball.
An action contrary to the Rules which may be penalised by
10 PLAYING THE GAME
1 Field of play
The information below provides a simplifi ed
description of the fi eld of play. Detailed specifi cations
of the fi eld and equipment are provided in a separate
section at the end of these Rules.
1.1 The fi eld of play is rectangular, 91.40 metres long and
55.00 metres wide.
1.2 Side-lines mark the longer perimeters of the fi eld ; backlines
mark the shorter perimeters of the fi eld.
1.3 The goal-lines are the parts of the back-lines between the
1.4 A centre-line is marked across the middle of the fi eld.
1.5 Lines known as 23 metres lines are marked across the fi eld
22.90 metres from each back-line.
1.6 Areas referred to as the circles are marked inside the fi eld
around the goals and opposite the centres of the backlines.
1.7 Penalty spots 150 mm in diameter are marked in front of
the centre of each goal with the centre of each spot 6.40
metres from the inner edge of the goal-line.
1.8 All lines are 75 mm wide and are part of the fi eld of play.
1.9 Flag-posts between 1.20 and 1.50 metres in height are
placed at each corner of the fi eld.
1.10 Goals are positioned outside the fi eld of play at the centre
of and touching each back-line.
11 2 Composition of teams
2.1 A maximum of eleven players from each team take part in
play at any particular time during the match.
If a team has more than the permitted number of
players on the fi eld, time should be stopped to
correct the situation. A personal penalty should be
awarded against the captain of the team involved.
Decisions taken prior to correcting the situation
cannot be changed.
Play and time is restarted with a free hit to the
opposing team unless another penalty had been
awarded against the offending team immediately
before time was stopped in which case that
penalty is taken.
2.2 Each team has either a goalkeeper or player with
goalkeeping privileges on the fi eld or plays only with fi eld
Each team may play with :
– a goalkeeper wearing a different colour shirt
and full protective equipment comprising
at least headgear, leg guards and kickers ;
this player is referred to in these Rules as a
goalkeeper ; or
– a fi eld player with goalkeeping privileges
wearing a different colour shirt and who may
wear protective headgear (but not leg guards
and kickers or other goalkeeping protective
equipment) when inside their defending
23 metres area ; they must wear protective
headgear when defending a penalty corner
or penalty stroke ; this player is referred to
in these Rules as a player with goalkeeping
privileges ; or
12 – only field players ; no player has goalkeeping
privileges or wears a different colour shirt ; no
player may wear protective headgear except a
face mask when defending a penalty corner
or a penalty stroke ; all team players wear the
same colour shirt.
Any change between these options must take
place as a substitution.
2.3 Each team is permitted to substitute from its players not on
the fi eld of play :
a substitution is permitted at any time except within the
period from the award of a penalty corner until after
it has been completed ; during this period substitution
is only permitted for injury to or suspension of the
defending goalkeeper or defending player with
If another penalty corner is awarded before
completion of the previous penalty corner,
substitution other than for an injured or suspended
defending goalkeeper or defending player with
goalkeeping privileges must not take place
until that subsequent penalty corner has been
At a penalty corner, a defending goalkeeper (ie
wearing full protective equipment) who is injured
or suspended may be substituted by another
goalkeeper wearing full protective equipment or
by a player with goalkeeping privileges.
At a penalty corner, a defending player with
goalkeeping privileges who is injured or suspended
may be substituted by another player with
goalkeeping privileges and not by a goalkeeper
wearing full protective equipment.
If a team has only fi eld players, no substitution
is permitted at a penalty corner until it has been
If the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping
privileges is suspended, the offending team plays
with one less player.
b there is no limit to the number of players who are
permitted to be substituted at the same time or to the
number of times any player is permitted to substitute or
c substitution of a player is permitted only after that
player has left the fi eld
d substitutions are not permitted for suspended players
during their suspension
e after completing a suspension, a player is permitted to
be substituted without fi rst returning to the fi eld
f fi eld players must leave or enter the fi eld for substitution
purposes within 3 metres of the centre-line on a side of
the fi eld agreed with the umpires
g time is stopped for substitution of goalkeepers (ie
wearing full protective equipment) but not for other
Time is stopped briefl y to permit a goalkeeper who
is wearing full protective equipment to take part in a
substitution. The time stoppage is not extended for a
goalkeeper to put on or take off protective equipment
as part of a substitution including following a
goalkeeper injury or suspension. If necessary, play
should continue with a player with goalkeeping
privileges and wearing a different coloured shirt or
only with fi eld players while a substitute goalkeeper
puts on or takes off protective equipment.
2.4 Field players who leave the fi eld for injury treatment,
refreshment, to change equipment or for some reason
other than substitution are only permitted to re-enter
between the 23 metres areas on the side of the fi eld used
Leaving and re-entering the fi eld as part of play
(eg when a defender puts on a face mask at a
penalty corner) takes place at any appropriate part
of the fi eld.
2.5 No persons other than fi eld players, players with goalkeeping
privileges, goalkeepers and umpires are permitted on the
fi eld during the match without the permission of an umpire.
2.6 Players on or off the fi eld are under the jurisdiction of the
umpires throughout the match including the half-time
2.7 A player who is injured or bleeding must leave the fi eld
unless medical reasons prevent this and must not return
until wounds have been covered ; players must not wear
blood stained clothing.
3.1 One player of each team must be appointed as captain.
3.2 A replacement captain must be appointed when a captain
3.3 Captains must wear a distinctive arm-band or similar
distinguishing article on an upper arm or shoulder or over
the upper part of a sock.
3.4 Captains are responsible for the behaviour of all players on
their team and for ensuring that substitutions of players on
their team are carried out correctly.
A personal penalty is awarded if a captain does
not exercise these responsibilities.
4 Players’ clothing and equipment
Competition Regulations available from the FIH
provide additional information and requirements
about players’ clothing, personal equipment and
advertising. Refer also to regulations established by
Continental Federations and National Associations.
4.1 Field players of the same team must wear uniform clothing.
4.2 Players must not wear anything which is dangerous to other
Field players :
– are permitted to wear gloves for protection
which do not increase the natural size of the
hands signifi cantly ;
– are recommended to wear shin, ankle and
mouth protection ;
– are permitted to wear throughout a match for
medical reasons only a smooth preferably
transparent or white but otherwise single
coloured face mask which closely fi ts the face,
soft protective head-covering or eye protection
in the form of plastic goggles (ie goggles with
a soft-covered frame and plastic lenses) ; the
medical reasons must be assessed by an
appropriate authority and the player concerned
must understand the possible implications of
playing with the medical condition ;
– are permitted to wear a smooth preferably
transparent or white but otherwise single
coloured face mask which closely fi ts the face
when defending a penalty corner or penalty
stroke for the duration of that penalty corner
or penalty stroke and when they are inside the
circle they are defending ;
– other than players with goalkeeping privileges,
are not permitted to wear protective headgear
(face mask or other protective head covering)
in any other circumstances.
4.3 Goalkeepers and players with goalkeeping privileges must
wear a single coloured shirt or garment which is different in
colour from that of both teams.
Goalkeepers (ie wearing full protective equipment)
must wear this shirt or garment over any upper
4.4 Goalkeepers must wear protective equipment comprising
at least headgear, leg guards and kickers except that the
headgear and any hand protectors may be removed when
taking a penalty stroke.
The following are permitted for use only by fully
equipped goalkeepers : body, upper arm, elbow,
forearm, hand, thigh and knee protectors, leg
guards and kickers.
4.5 A player with goalkeeping privileges may wear protective
headgear when inside their defending 23 metres area ; they
must wear protective headgear when defending a penalty
corner or penalty stroke.
Protective headgear incorporating a helmet with
fi xed full-face protection and cover for the entire
head and throat is recommended for goalkeepers
and players with goalkeeping privileges.
4.6 Clothing or protective equipment which signifi cantly
increases the natural size of a goalkeeper’s body or area of
protection is not permitted.
4.7 The stick has a traditional shape with a handle and a curved
head which is fl at on its left side :
a the stick must be smooth and must not have any rough
or sharp parts
b inclusive of any additional coverings used, the stick
must be able to pass through a ring with an interior
diameter of 51 mm
c any curvature along the length of the stick (the rake or bow)
must have a continuous smooth profi le 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
d the stick must conform with the specifi cation agreed by
the FIH Rules Committee.
4.8 The ball is spherical, hard and white (or an agreed colour
which contrasts with the playing surface).
Detailed specifi cations of the stick, ball and
goalkeeper’s equipment are provided in a separate
section at the end of these Rules.
5 Match and result
5.1 A match consists of two periods of 35 minutes and a halftime
interval of 5 minutes.
Other periods and interval may be agreed by
both teams except as specifi ed in regulations for
If time expires just before an umpire would
otherwise have made a decision, umpires are
permitted to make that decision immediately after
the end of the fi rst period or the match.
If an incident arises immediately before the end of
the fi rst period (half) or the end of the match which
requires review by the umpires, the review may be
conducted even though time has subsequently
been completed and signaled. The review should
take place immediately and action taken to revert
to and correct the situation as appropriate.
5.2 The team scoring the most goals is the winner ; if no goals
are scored, or if the teams score an equal number of goals,
the match is drawn.
Information about extra time and a shoot-out
competition as ways of reaching a result in a drawn
match is included in Competition Regulations
available from the FIH Offi ce.
6 Start and re-start the match
6.1 A coin is tossed :
a the team which wins the toss has the choice of which
goal to attack in the fi rst half of the match or to start the
match with a centre pass
b if the team winning the toss chooses which goal to
attack in the fi rst half of the match, the opposing team
starts the match
c if the team winning the toss chooses to start the match,
the opposing team has the choice of which goal to
attack in the fi rst half of the match.
6.2 Direction of play is reversed in the second half of the match.
6.3 A centre pass is taken :
a to start the match by a player from the team winning
the toss if they chose this option ; otherwise by a player
from the opposing team
b to re-start the match after half-time by a player of the
team which did not take the centre pass to start the
c after a goal by a player of the team against which the
goal was scored.
6.4 Taking a centre pass :
a taken at the centre of the fi eld
b it is permitted to play the ball in any direction
c all players other than the player taking the centre pass
must be in the half of the fi eld which includes the goal
they are defending
d the procedures for taking a free hit apply.
6.5 A bully takes place to re-start a match when time or play
has been stopped for an injury or for any other reason and
no penalty has been awarded :
a a bully is taken close to the location of the ball when
play was stopped but not within 15 metres of the backline
and not within 5 metres of the circle
b the ball is placed between one player from each team
who face each other with the goal they are defending
to their right
c the two players start with their sticks on the ground to
the right of the ball and then tap the fl at faces of their
sticks together once just over the ball after which either
player is permitted to play the ball
d all other players must be at least 5 metres from the
6.6 A free hit is taken by a defender 15 metres in front of the
centre of the goal-line to re-start a match when a penalty
stroke has been completed and no goal has been scored.
7 Ball outside the fi eld
7.1 The ball is out of play when it passes completely over the
side-line or back-line.
7.2 Play is restarted by a player of the team which was not
the last team to touch or play the ball before it went out of
7.3 When the ball travels over the side-line, play is re-started
where the ball crossed the line and the procedures for
taking a free hit apply.
7.4 When the ball is played over the back-line and no goal is
a if played by an attacker, play is re-started with the ball
up to 15 metres from and in line with where it crossed
the back-line and the procedures for taking a free hit
b if played unintentionally by a defender or defl ected by a
goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges, play
is re-started with the ball on the mark 5 metres from
the corner of the fi eld on the side-line nearest to where
the ball crossed the back-line and the procedures for
taking a free hit apply
c if played intentionally by a defender, unless defl ected
by a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges,
play is re-started with a penalty corner.
8 Method of scoring
Mandatory Experimental Rule
8.1 A goal is scored when:
a the ball is played by an attacker, or touches the stick or
body of a defender, within the circle
b after either of these actions, the ball does not travel
outside the circle before passing completely over the
goal-line and under the cross-bar.
9 Conduct of play : players
Players are expected to act responsibly at all times.
9.1 A match is played between two teams with not more than
eleven players of each team on the fi eld at the same time.
9.2 Players on the fi eld must hold their stick and not use it in a
Players must not lift their stick over the heads of
9.3 Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other
players or their sticks or clothing.
9.4 Players must not intimidate or impede another player.
9.5 Players must not play the ball with the back of the stick.
9.6 Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the
edge of the stick.
This does not prohibit use of the edge of the stick
on the forehand in a controlled action in a tackle,
when raising the ball in a controlled way over an
opponent’s stick or over a goalkeeper or player with
goalkeeping privileges who is lying on the ground or
when using a long pushing motion along the ground.
The use of the edge of the stick on the backhand
has developed as a technical skill and is permitted
subject to danger.
9.7 Players must not play the ball with any part of the stick
when the ball is above shoulder height except that
defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or defl ect
a shot at goal at any height.
Defenders are also permitted to use the stick
to stop or defl ect the ball at any height if it is
otherwise likely to enter the goal as a result of
Mandatory Experimental Rule 8.
When saving a shot at goal, a defender must not
be penalised if their stick is not motionless or is
travelling towards the ball while attempting to stop
or defl ect the shot. Only if the ball is genuinely
hit while above shoulder height and a goal is
prevented should a penalty stroke be awarded.
If a defender attempts to stop or defl ect a ball
travelling towards the goal which will actually miss
the goal, any use of the stick above the shoulder
must be penalised by a penalty corner and not a
If dangerous play results after a legitimate stop or
defl ection, a penalty corner must be awarded.
9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which
leads to dangerous play.
A ball is considered dangerous when it causes
legitimate evasive action by players.
The penalty is awarded where the action causing
the danger took place.
9.9 Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except
for a shot at goal.
A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether
or not it is raised intentionally. It is not an offence
to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including
a free hit, anywhere on the fi eld unless it is
dangerous. If the ball is raised over an opponent’s
stick or body on the ground, even within the circle,
it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous.
Players are permitted to raise the ball with a fl ick
or scoop provided it is not dangerous. A fl ick or
scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is
considered dangerous. If an opponent is clearly
running into the shot or into the attacker without
attempting to play the ball with their stick, they
should be penalised for dangerous play.
9.10 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.
The initial receiver has a right to the ball. If it is not
clear which player is the initial receiver, the player
of the team which raised the ball must allow the
opponent to receive it.
9.11 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 fi eld 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.
9.12 Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting
to play the ball.
Players obstruct if they :
– back into an opponent
– physically interfere with the stick or body of an
– shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with
their stick or any part of their body.
A stationary player receiving the ball is permitted
to face in any direction.
A player with the ball is permitted to move off
with it in any direction except bodily into an
opponent or into a position between the ball and
an opponent who is within playing distance of the
ball and attempting to play it.
A player who runs in front of or blocks an
opponent to stop them legitimately playing or
attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this
is third party or shadow obstruction). This also
applies if an attacker runs across or blocks
defenders (including the goalkeeper or player with
goalkeeping privileges) when a penalty corner is
9.13 Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball
without body contact.
9.14 Players must not intentionally enter the goal their opponents
are defending or run behind either goal.
9.15 Players must not change their stick between the award and
completion of a penalty corner or penalty stroke unless it no
longer meets the stick specifi cation.
9.16 Players must not throw any object or piece of equipment onto
the fi eld, at the ball, or at another player, umpire or person.
9.17 Players must not delay play to gain benefi t by time-wasting.
10 Conduct of play : goalkeepers
and players with goalkeeping privileges
10.1 A goalkeeper who wears protective equipment comprising
at least headgear, leg guards and kickers must not take part
in the match outside the 23 metres area they are defending,
except when taking a penalty stroke.
Protective headgear must be worn by a goalkeeper
at all times, except when taking a penalty stroke.
10.2 A player with goalkeeping privileges must not take part in
the match outside the 23 metres area they are defending
when wearing the protective headgear but may remove the
headgear and take part in the match anywhere on the fi eld.
Protective headgear must be worn by a player with
goalkeeping privileges when defending a penalty
corner or penalty stroke.
10.3 When the ball is inside the circle they are defending and
they have their stick in their hand :
a goalkeepers wearing full protective equipment are
permitted to use their stick, feet, kickers, legs or leg
guards to propel the ball and to use their stick, feet,
kickers, legs, leg guards or any other part of their body
to stop the ball or defl ect it in any direction including
over the back-line
Goalkeepers are not permitted to conduct
themselves in a manner which is dangerous to
other players by taking advantage of the protective
equipment they wear.
b players with goalkeeping privileges are permitted to
use their stick, feet and legs to propel the ball and to
use their stick, feet, legs or any other part of their body
to stop the ball or defl ect it in any direction including
over the back-line
c goalkeepers wearing full protective equipment and
players with goalkeeping privileges are permitted to
use arms, hands and any other part of their body to
push the ball away.
The action in rule c above is permitted only as
part of a goal saving action or to move the ball
away from the possibility of a goal scoring action
by opponents. It does not permit a goalkeeper or
player with goalkeeping privileges to propel the
ball forcefully with arms, hands or body so that it
travels a long distance.
10.4 Goalkeepers or players with goalkeeping privileges must
not lie on the ball.
10.5 When the ball is outside the circle they are defending,
goalkeepers or players with goalkeeping privileges are only
permitted to play the ball with their stick.
A player with goalkeeping privileges is considered
to be a fi eld player when outside the circle they
11 Conduct of play : umpires
11.1 Two umpires control the match, apply the Rules and are the
judges of fair play.
11.2 Each umpire has primary responsibility for decisions in one
half of the fi eld for the duration of the match.
11.3 Each umpire is responsible for decisions on free hits in the circle,
penalty corners, penalty strokes and goals in one half of the fi eld.
11.4 Umpires are responsible for keeping a written record of
goals scored and of warning or suspension cards used.
11.5 Umpires are responsible for ensuring that the full time
is played and for indicating the end of time for each half
and for the completion of a penalty corner if a half is
11.6 Umpires blow the whistle to :
a start and end each half of the match
b start a bully
c enforce a penalty
d start and end a penalty stroke
e indicate a goal
f re-start the match after a goal has been scored
g re-start the match after a penalty stroke when a goal
was not scored
h stop the match for the substitution onto or off the fi eld
of a fully equipped goalkeeper and to restart the match
on completion of the substitution
i stop the match for any other reason and to re-start it
j indicate, when necessary, that the ball has passed
wholly outside the fi eld.
11.7 Umpires must not coach during a match.
11.8 If the ball strikes an umpire, unauthorised person or any
loose object on the fi eld, play continues.
12.1 Advantage : a penalty is awarded only when a player or
team has been disadvantaged by an opponent breaking the
If awarding a penalty is not an advantage to the team
which did not break the Rules, play must continue.
12.2 A free hit is awarded to the opposing team :
a for an offence by any player between the 23 metres
b for an offence by an attacker within the 23 metres area
their opponents are defending
c for an unintentional offence by a defender outside the
circle but within the 23 metres area they are defending.
12.3 A penalty corner is awarded :
a for an offence by a defender in the circle which does
not prevent the probable scoring of a goal
b for an intentional offence in the circle by a defender
against an opponent who does not have possession of
the ball or an opportunity to play the ball
c for an intentional offence by a defender outside the circle
but within the 23 metres area they are defending
d for intentionally playing the ball over the back-line by a
Goalkeepers or players with goalkeeping privileges
are permitted to defl ect the ball with their stick,
protective equipment or any part of their body in
any direction including over the back-line.
e when the ball becomes lodged in a player’s clothing or
equipment while in the circle they are defending.
12.4 A penalty stroke is awarded :
a for an offence by a defender in the circle which prevents
the probable scoring of a goal
b for an intentional offence in the circle by a defender
against an opponent who has possession of the ball or
an opportunity to play the ball
c for defenders persistently crossing over the back-line
before permitted during the taking of penalty corners.
12.5 If there is another offence or misconduct before the
awarded penalty has been taken :
a a free hit may be progressed up to 10 metres
A free hit to the attack cannot be progressed to
inside the circle.
b a more severe penalty may be awarded
c a personal penalty may be awarded
d the penalty may be reversed if the subsequent offence
was committed by the team fi rst awarded the penalty.
13 Procedures for taking penalties
13.1 Location of a free hit :
a a free hit is taken close to where the offence occurred
‘Close to’ means within playing distance of where
the offence occurred and with no signifi cant
The location from which a free hit is taken must be
more precise inside the 23 metres area.
b a free hit awarded within 5 metres of the circle to the attack
is taken at the nearest point 5 metres from the circle
c a free hit awarded to the defence within 15 metres of
the back-line is taken up to 15 metres from the backline
in line with the location of the offence, parallel to
13.2 Procedures for taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the
ball back into play after it has been outside the fi eld :
All parts of this Rule apply as appropriate to a free
hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play
after it has been outside the fi eld.
a the ball must be stationary
b opponents must be at least 5 metres from the ball
If an opponent is within 5 metres of the ball, they
must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or
must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player
is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or
infl uencing play, the free hit need not be delayed.
c when a free hit is awarded to the attack within the
23 metres area, all players other than the player taking
the free hit must be at least 5 metres from the ball
d the ball is moved using a hit, push, fl ick or scoop
e the ball may be raised immediately using a push, fl ick or
scoop but must not be raised intentionally using a hit
f from a free hit awarded to the attack within the
23 metres area, the ball must not be played into the
circle until it has travelled at least 5 metres or has been
touched by a player of either team other than the player
taking the free hit.
If the player taking the free hit continues to play
the ball (ie no other player has yet played it) :
– that player may play the ball any number of times, but
– the ball must travel at least 5 metres, before
– that player plays the ball into the circle by
hitting or pushing the ball again.
– another player of either team who can
legitimately play the ball must defl ect, hit or
push the ball before it enters the circle, or
– after this player has touched the ball, it can
be played into the circle by any other player
including the player who took the free hit.
It is permitted to play the ball high above the
attacking circle so that it lands outside the circle
subject to Rules related to dangerous play and
that the ball is not legitimately playable inside or
above the circle by another player during its fl ight.
13.3 Taking a penalty corner :
a the ball is placed on the back-line inside the circle at
least 10 metres from the goal-post on whichever side
of the goal the attacking team prefers
b an attacker pushes or hits the ball without intentionally
c the attacker taking the push or hit from the back-line
must have at least one foot outside the fi eld
d the other attackers must be on the fi eld, outside the
circle with sticks, hands and feet not touching the
ground inside the circle
e no defender or attacker other than the attacker taking the
push or hit from the back-line is permitted to be within
5 metres of the ball when the push or hit is taken
f not more than fi ve defenders, including the goalkeeper
or player with goalkeeping privileges if there is one, must
be positioned behind the back-line with their sticks,
hands and feet not touching the ground inside the fi eld
If the team defending a penalty corner has chosen
to play only with fi eld players, none of the defenders
referred to above has goalkeeping privileges.
g the other defenders must be beyond the centre-line
h until the ball has been played, no attacker other than
the one taking the push or hit from the back-line
is permitted to enter the circle and no defender is
permitted to cross the centre-line or back-line
i after playing the ball, the attacker taking the push or
hit from the back-line must not play the ball again or
approach within playing distance of it until it has been
played by another player
j a goal cannot be scored until the ball has travelled
outside the circle
k if the fi rst shot at goal is a hit (as opposed to a push,
fl ick or scoop), the ball must cross the goal-line, or be
on a path which would have resulted in it crossing the
goal-line, at a height of not more than 460 mm (the
height of the backboard) before any defl ection, for a
goal to be scored
The requirements of this Rule apply even if the ball
touches the stick or body of a defender before the
fi rst shot at goal.
If the fi rst shot at goal is a hit and the ball is, or
will be, too high crossing the goal-line it must
be penalised even if the ball is subsequently
defl ected off the stick or body of another player.
The ball may be higher than 460 mm during its
fl ight before it crosses the goal-line provided there
is no danger and provided it would drop of its own
accord below 460 mm before crossing the line.
‘Slap’ hitting the ball, which involves a long pushing
or sweeping movement with the stick before making
contact with the ball, is regarded as a hit.
l for second and subsequent hits at the goal and for
fl icks, defl ections and scoops, it is permitted to raise
the ball to any height but this must not be dangerous
A defender who is clearly running into the shot or
into the taker without attempting to play the ball with
their stick must be penalised for dangerous play.
Otherwise, if a defender is within fi ve metres of
the fi rst shot at goal during the taking of a penalty
corner and is struck by the ball below the knee,
another penalty corner must be awarded or is
struck on or above the knee in a normal stance,
the shot is judged to be dangerous and a free hit
must be awarded to the defending team.
m the penalty corner Rules no longer apply if the ball
travels more than 5 metres from the circle.
13.4 The match is prolonged at half-time and full-time to allow
completion of a penalty corner or any subsequent penalty
corner or penalty stroke.
13.5 The penalty corner is completed when:
a a goal is scored
b a free hit is awarded to the defending team
c the ball travels more than 5 metres outside the circle
d the ball is played over the back-line and a penalty
corner is not awarded
e a defender commits an offence which does not result in
another penalty corner
f a penalty stroke is awarded
g a bully is awarded.
If play is stopped because of an injury or for any
other reason during the taking of a penalty corner
at the end of a prolonged fi rst or second half and
a bully would otherwise be awarded, the penalty
corner must be taken again.
13.6 For substitution purposes and for completion of a penalty
corner at half-time and full-time, the penalty corner is also
completed when the ball travels outside the circle for the
13.7 For an offence during the taking of a penalty corner :
a the player taking the push or hit from the back-line does
not have at least one foot outside the fi eld : the penalty
corner is taken again
b for any other offence by the player taking the push
or hit from the back-line : a free hit is awarded to the
c a defender crosses over the centre-line or back-line
before permitted : the penalty corner is taken again
d an attacker enters the circle before permitted : the
penalty corner is taken again
e for any other offence by attackers : a free hit is awarded
to the defence.
Except as specifi ed above, a free hit, penalty
corner or penalty stroke is awarded as specifi ed
elsewhere in the Rules.
13.8 Taking a penalty stroke :
a time and play is stopped when a penalty stroke is
b all players on the fi eld other than the player taking the
stroke and the player defending it must stand outside
the 23 metres area and must not infl uence the taking of
c the ball is placed on the penalty spot
d the player taking the stroke must stand behind and
within playing distance of the ball before beginning the
e the player defending the stroke must stand with both
feet on the goal-line and must not leave the goal-line or
move either foot until the ball has been played
f if the player defending the stroke is a goalkeeper or
player with goalkeeping privileges, they must wear
protective headgear ; if the player defending the
stroke is otherwise taking part in the game as a fi eld
player, they may wear only a face mask as protective
If the team defending a penalty stroke has chosen
to play only with fi eld players and not to use a
substitute goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping
privileges to defend the penalty stroke, the
defender may only use their stick to make a save.
g the whistle is blown when the player taking the stroke
and the player defending it are in position
h the player taking the stroke must not take it until the
whistle has been blown
The player taking the stroke or the player defending
it must not delay the taking of the stroke.
i the player taking the stroke must not feint at playing the ball
j the player taking the stroke must push, fl ick or scoop
the ball and is permitted to raise it to any height
Using a ‘dragging’ action to play the ball at a
penalty stroke is not permitted.
k the player taking the stroke must play the ball only once
and must not subsequently approach either the ball or
the player defending the stroke.
13.9 The penalty stroke is completed when :
a a goal is scored
b the ball comes to rest inside the circle, lodges in the
goalkeeper’s equipment, is caught by the goalkeeper
or player with goalkeeping privileges, or goes outside
13.10 For an offence during the taking of a penalty stroke :
a the stroke is taken before the whistle is blown and a
goal is scored : the penalty stroke is taken again
b the stroke is taken before the whistle is blown and a
goal is not scored : a free hit is awarded to the defence
c for any other offence by the player taking the stroke : a
free hit is awarded to the defence
d for any offence by the player defending the stroke
including moving either foot before the ball has been
played : the penalty stroke is taken again
If the player defending the stroke prevents a goal
being scored but moves either foot before the
ball has been played, this player must be warned
(green card) and for any subsequent offence must
be suspended (yellow card).
If a goal is scored even though there has been
an offence by the player defending the stroke, the
goal is awarded.
e for an offence by a player of the defending team and a
goal is not scored : the penalty stroke is taken again
f for an offence by a player of the attacking team other
than the player taking the stroke and a goal is scored :
the penalty stroke is taken again.
14 Personal penalties
14.1 For any offence, the offending player may be :
a cautioned (indicated by spoken words)
b warned (indicated by a green card)
At an international match, a green card indicates a
temporary suspension of 2 minutes of playing time.
c temporarily suspended for a minimum of 5 minutes of
playing time (indicated by a yellow card)
For the duration of each temporary suspension
of a player on or off the fi eld, the offending team
plays with one less player.
d permanently suspended from the current match
(indicated by a red card).
For each permanent suspension, the offending
team plays for the remainder of the match with
one less player.
A personal penalty may be awarded in addition to
the appropriate penalty.
14.2 Temporarily suspended players must remain in a designated
place until permitted by the umpire who suspended them to
14.3 Temporarily suspended players are permitted to rejoin their
team at half-time after which they must return to a designated
place to complete their suspension.
14.4 The intended duration of a temporary suspension may be
extended for misconduct by a player while suspended.
14.5 Permanently suspended players must leave the fi eld and its
1.1 Umpiring hockey is a challenging but rewarding way to
participate in the game.
1.2 Umpires contribute to the game by :
a helping to raise the standard of the game at all levels by
ensuring that players observe the Rules
b ensuring that every game is played in the right spirit
c helping to increase the enjoyment of the game for
players, spectators, and others.
1.3 These objectives can be achieved by umpires being :
a consistent : umpires maintain the respect of players by
b fair : decisions must be made with a sense of justice
c prepared : no matter how long an umpire has been
offi ciating, it is important to prepare thoroughly for
d focused : concentration must be maintained at all
times ; nothing must be allowed to distract an umpire
e approachable : a good understanding of the Rules must
be combined with a good rapport with the players
f better : umpires must aim to become even better with
each and every match
g natural : an umpire must be themselves, and not imitate
another person, at all times.
1.4 Umpires must :
a have a thorough knowledge of the Rules of Hockey
but remember that the spirit of the Rule and common
sense must govern interpretation
b support and encourage skilful play, deal promptly
and fi rmly with offences and apply the appropriate
c establish control and maintain it throughout the match
d use all the available tools for control
e apply the advantage Rule as much as possible to assist
a fl owing and open match but without losing control.
2 Applying the rules
2.1 Protecting skilful play and penalising offences :
a the relative seriousness of an offence must be identifi ed
and serious offences such as dangerous or rough play
dealt with early and fi rmly in a match
b intentional offences must be penalised fi rmly
c umpires must demonstrate that if players co-operate,
skilful play will be protected and the match will be
interrupted only when essential for its proper conduct.
2.2 Advantage :
a it is not necessary for every offence to be penalised
when no benefi t is gained by the offender ; unnecessary
interruptions to the fl ow of the match cause undue
delay and irritation
b when the Rules have been broken, an umpire must
apply advantage if this is the most severe penalty
c possession of the ball does not automatically mean there
is an advantage ; for advantage to apply, the player/team
with the ball must be able to develop their play
d having decided to play advantage, a second opportunity
must not be given by reverting to the original penalty
e it is important to anticipate the fl ow of the match, to
look beyond the action of the moment and to be aware
of potential developments in the match.
2.3 Control :
a decisions must be made promptly, positively, clearly
b strict action early in a match will usually discourage
repetition of an offence
c it is not acceptable for players to abuse opponents,
umpires or other technical offi cials verbally or through
body language and attitude. Umpires must deal fi rmly
with abuse of this sort and in appropriate circumstances
issue a caution, warning (green card), or a temporary
(yellow card) or permanent (red card) suspension.
Cautions, warnings and suspensions can be given in
isolation or in combination with another penalty
d cautions can be given to players in close proximity
without stopping the match
e it is possible, although umpires are not encouraged to
do so, for a player to receive two green or two yellow
cards for different minor offences during the same match.
However, when an offence for which a card has already
been awarded is repeated, the same card must not be
used again and a more severe penalty must be awarded
f when a second yellow card is awarded, the period of
suspension must be signifi cantly longer than the fi rst
g there must be a clear difference between the duration
of a yellow card suspension for a minor offence and the
duration for a more serious and/or physical offence
h when a player intentionally misbehaves in a serious
manner towards another player, umpire or other match
offi cial the red card must be shown immediately.
2.4 Penalties :
a a wide range of penalties is available
b two penalties can be used together to deal with bad or
3 Umpiring skills
3.1 The main umpiring skill areas are :
a match preparation
c mobility and positioning
3.2 Match preparation :
a umpires must prepare thoroughly for each match by
arriving at the fi eld in good time
b before the match commences, both umpires must
check the fi eld markings, the goals and the nets and
check for any dangerous playing equipment or fi eld
c the two umpires must wear similar colours to one
another, but different from those of both teams
d clothing appropriate to the conditions must be worn
e footwear must suit fi eld conditions and assist mobility
f umpiring equipment includes a copy of the current
Rules book, a loud and distinctive whistle, a stop
watch, coloured cards to indicate personal penalties
and materials to record match details.
3.3 Co-operation :
a good team-work and co-operation between umpires is
b prior to a match, umpires must discuss and agree how
they are going to work together to assist each other.
Eye contact between umpires must be practised and
c umpires must take responsibility and be prepared
to assist when their colleague is unsighted or has
diffi culty seeing certain parts of the fi eld. If necessary
and if mobility is good, umpires must be prepared to
cross the centre-line and go as far as appropriate into
a colleague’s half of the fi eld to assist. This helps to
reassure players that decisions are correct
d a written record of goals scored and cards issued must
be kept by both umpires and confi rmed at the end of
3.4 Mobility and positioning :
a umpires must be mobile so they can move to appropriate
positions throughout the match.
b static umpires cannot view play clearly enough to make
correct decisions at all times
c fi t, mobile and well positioned umpires are better able
to concentrate on the fl ow of the match and on the
decisions which need to be made
d each umpire operates mainly in half of the fi eld with the
centre line to their left
e in general, the most suitable position for umpires is
ahead of and on the right of the attacking team
f for play between the centre-line and 23 metres area,
umpires must be positioned near their side-line
g when play is in the 23 metres area or circle, umpires
must move further into the fi eld away from the sidelines
and, when necessary, into the circle itself to see
important offences and to judge whether shots at goal
h for penalty corners and after the ball has gone outside
the fi eld, umpires must take up a position which gives a
clear view of all potential action
i for penalty strokes, umpires must take up a position
behind and to the right of the player taking the stroke
j umpires must not allow their positioning to interfere
with the fl ow of play
k umpires must face the players all the time.
3.5 Whistling :
a the whistle is the main way in which umpires
communicate with players, each other and other
persons involved in the match
b the whistle must be blown decisively and loudly enough
for all involved in the match to be able to hear it. This
does not mean long loud whistling at all times
c the tone and duration of the whistle must be varied to
communicate the seriousness of offences to players.
3.6 Signalling :
a signals must be clear and held up long enough to
ensure that all players and the other umpire are aware
b only the offi cial signals must be used
c it is preferable to be stationary when giving a signal
d directional signals must not be made across the body
e it is bad practice to look away from the players when a
signal or decision is made ; further offences might be
missed, concentration can be lost, or this can indicate
a lack of confi dence.
4 Umpiring signals
4.1 Timing :
a start time : turn towards the other umpire with one arm
straight up in the air
b stop time : turn towards the other umpire and cross
fully-extended arms at the wrists above the head
c two minutes of play remaining : raise both hands
straight up in the air with pointing index fi ngers
d one minute of play remaining : raise one hand straight
up in the air with pointing index fi nger.
Once a timing signal has been acknowledged no
further time signal is needed.
4.2 Bully : move hands alternately up and down in front of the
body with palms facing each other.
4.3 Ball out of play :
a ball out of play over the side-line : indicate the direction
with one arm raised horizontally
b ball out of play over the back-line by an attacker : face
the centre of the fi eld and extend both arms horizontally
c ball out of play over the back-line unintentionally by
a defender : point one arm at the corner fl ag nearest
where the ball crossed the back-line.
4.4 Goal scored : point both arms horizontally towards the
centre of the fi eld.
4.5 Conduct of play :
Signals for conduct of play offences must be
shown if there is doubt about the reason for the
a dangerous play : place one forearm diagonally across
b misconduct and/or bad temper : stop play and make
a calming movement by moving both hands slowly up
and down, palms downward, in front of the body
c kick : slightly raise a leg and touch it near the foot or
ankle with the hand
d raised ball : hold palms facing each other horizontally in
front of the body, with one palm approximately 150 mm
above the other
e obstruction : hold crossed forearms in front of the
f third party or shadow obstruction : alternately open and
close crossed forearms in front of the chest
g stick obstruction : hold one arm out and downwards
in front of the body half-way between vertical and
horizontal ; touch the forearm with the other hand
h 5 metres distance : extend one arm straight up in the air
showing an open hand with all fi ngers extended.
4.6 Penalties :
a advantage : extend one arm high from the shoulder in
the direction in which the benefi ting team is playing
b free hit : indicate the direction with one arm raised
c free hit progressed up to 10 metres : raise one arm
vertically with fi st clenched
d penalty corner : point both arms horizontally towards
e penalty stroke : point one arm at the penalty stroke
mark and the other straight up in the air ; this signal
also indicates time stopped.
FIELD AND EQUIPMENT SPECIFICATIONS
Diagrams are provided to assist interpretation of
these specifi cations but they are not necessarily
drawn to scale. The text is the defi nitive
1 Field and fi eld equipment
1.1 The fi eld of play is rectangular, 91.40 metres long bounded
by side-lines and 55 metres wide bounded by back-lines.
The playing surface must continue (to create
“run-off” areas) for a minimum of 2 metres at the
back-lines and 1 metre at the side-lines with an
additional unobstructed 1 metre in each case (that
is, a total of 3 metres at the ends and 2 metres
at the sides of the fi eld). These are minimum
requirements with the respective recommended
areas being 3 plus 2 metres and 3 plus 1 metres
(that is, a total of 5 metres at the ends and 4
metres at the sides of the fi eld).
1.2 Markings :
a no marks other than those described in this Rule are to
be made on the playing surface
b lines are 75 mm wide and must be clearly marked along
their entire length
c the side-lines and back-lines and all markings enclosed
between them are part of the fi eld
d all marks must be made in white.
1.3 Lines and other marks :
a side-lines : 91.40 metres long perimeter lines
b back-lines : 55.00 metres long perimeter lines
c goal-lines : the parts of the back-lines between the
d centre-line : across the middle of the fi eld
e 22.90 metres lines across the fi eld 22.90 metres from
each back-line as measured between the furthest
edges of each line
The areas enclosed by and including the 22.90
metres lines, the relevant part of the side-lines,
and the back-line are known as the 23 metres
f lines 300 mm long marked outside the fi eld on each
side-line with the further edge of the lines 14.63 metres
from and parallel to the outer edge of the back-lines
g lines 300 mm long marked outside the fi eld on each
side-line with the further edge of the lines 5 metres
from and parallel to the outer edge of the back-lines
h lines 300 mm long marked outside the fi eld on each
back-line on both sides of the goal at 5 metres and 10
metres from the outer edge of the nearer goal-post, as
measured between the furthest edges of each line