Cut from the article “Text following the interpretation” to create a new article.
Why is the UMB divisive? Why is it published at all when all that is in it could (and should) be contained within the rule book?
The Umpire Managers Briefing for Umpires at FIH Tournaments – an FIH Umpiring Committee publication – in regard to Rule Guidance to the self-pass. The text highlighted in yellow, apparently Rule Guidance from the Rule concerning procedure for the taking of a Free-Hit, does not in fact appear anywhere in the Rules of Hockey.
This publication is not the Rules of Hockey, but having previously ‘got away’ with declaring that the Rules of Hockey follow the existing interpretation of ball/body contact given in the UMB, it’s hardly a surprise that inventing Rule Guidance follows. The highlighted text in the above UMB page cannot become Rule Guidance until the FIH Rules Committee put it before the FIH Executive, receive their approval, and then publish it in the Rules of Hockey.
I hope it never is proposed as Rule Guidance. I think the people who came up with the idea of allowing a self-passer, who takes the pass without allowing opponents opportunity to retreat, to run the ball 5m without challenge, know as much about playing hockey as the average bookie knows about riding a race-horse in a Derby – they have often seen it done.
So what if the UMB for International level Umpires is different to the normal Rules of Hockey – does that matter? Yes for two reasons. The first is that because everybody involved needs to be informed with the same information at the same time, Rule Variation for International level matches should be set out in the FIH published Rule Variations – the above variation is not.
The second, and by far the more important for the average participant is that umpires of all levels are being actively encouraged to refer to the UMB for useful guidance. There is no reason whatsoever why any useful guidance should not be sanctioned by the FIH Rules Committee and published in the Rules of Hockey. The UMB is in fact being used to subvert the Rules of Hockey. That statement may seem to be ‘over the top’ but the above UMB page shown above was produced in 2011, presumably after liaison between the FIH Umpires Committee and the FIH Rules Committee (but maybe not because the Rules of Hockey 2013-15 do not contain the additional wording) – This text is still not part of the Rule Guidance – but the UMB issued in 2013 still contains the wording issued in 2011: obviously it should have been withdrawn from the UMB or added to the Rules of Hockey.
The inverse of the method of change that was adopted after the deletion of the gains benefit exception to the Guidance to 9.11. is being used In the case of ‘gains benefit’ umpires behaved (and still behave) as if the deletion had not taken place, (an issue initially confused by the publication of a ‘note’ reversing the change made after 2006). In the case of the Self-pass unsanctioned additional wording has become ‘Rule Guidance’. How ‘unsanctioned’ if it is in an FIH publication? That is easy to answer – it is not in the sole authoritative source, the Rules of Hockey.
It may ‘go against the grain’ for senior umpires to accept this, but they have no right whatsoever to invent Rule via ‘interpretation’. There is, on the other hand nothing preventing them, like anybody else, recommending changes to the existing Rules to the FIH Rules Committee and recommendations from Umpiring Associations are probably more likely to be seriously considered than suggestions from individuals .
The move to a bi-annual publication of the Rules of Hockey was supposed to give time for changes to ‘settle’ and for players and umpires to become used to them. What has happened instead is that the UMB, which may be changed at any time the FIH Umpiring Committee want to change it, has become the vehicle for Rule change. One major problem with that is that much of the briefing umpires receive is given verbally and ‘cascaded’ to others in the same way. It would probably be a good idea to again publish the Rules of Hockey annually and to once more include Advice to Umpires within it. A separately published UMB is unnecessary.
Link to Index of Rules http://wp.me/p3tNmd-3