Rewrite: Rule 7.4.c. Ball played over base-line by defender.


A suggested rewrite of the Rules of Hockey.

The current Rule 7.4.c.

7.4 When the ball is played over the back-line and no goal is scored :

c.  if played intentionally by a defender, unless deflected by a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges, play is re-started with a penalty corner.

This is one of the simplest of the Rule amendments that will be suggested during this rewrite. A straightforward deletion.

The reason. Fairness. At one time, when most hockey was played on grass pitches laid out in large open areas hitting the ball hard off the end of the pitch could be employed as means of running or wasting time. Now that most hockey is played on synthetic pitches enclose with high fences there is no justification whatsoever for applying a severe penalty for this action, which is not an offence, and calling it, not a penalty, but a restart. A penalty is a penalty and has the effect and result of a penalty, no matter what it may be regarded as when the reason for awarding it varies. As The Bard wrote “A rose is a rose by any other name.”

The result of enactment of the suggested deletion of Rule 7.4.c would be that any ball played over the baseline by a defending player would lead to the award of a restart to the attacking team on the 23m line, opposite to the place the ball went out of play.



8 Comments to “Rewrite: Rule 7.4.c. Ball played over base-line by defender.”

  1. Always found that rule a pain, both as an umpire and a player. ‘So what I played the ball away from me, the goal or a defender! I’m not penalized against this anywhere else….’
    Plus the amount of times I saw a defender sweep the ball away from beside/in front of the goal over the line deliberately and have it penalized with a PC are numerous.

    • I don’t like it because it is grossly unfair to award ‘a restart’ – not a penalty – which is in fact a penalty, for something which is not an offence. That is an obvious contradiction and just one of several nonsense situations that leads to ridicule of the game.

      • Well one way of doing it is to bring back a long corner 🙂 Unfair to the attackers, while not being unfair to the defense.
        (the FIH gets rid of the long and the first suggestion I make to a problem is re-implementing it, I can’t stop laughing)

        Seriously, I don’t know how to restart it so it is fair to both teams, such as it is anywhere else on the field.

      • In one of the most important and significant changes in recent years (ha ha) the Long Corner was renamed the Corner but the change appears to have gone unnoticed by many – force of habit I suppose.

        Seriously, it was necessary to discontinue the Corner because the restriction on playing the ball directly into the circle combined with the requirement that the ball be moved 5m before being played into the circle turned the Corner from an attacking advantage into a disadvantage. Instead of admitting that restrictions are a disaster the FIH RC introduced a restart on the 23m line.

        That said I like the 23m restart. I have previously advocated a free on the 23m line for some incidents that are presently unjustly or harshly penalised with a penalty corner. The unfair penalising of a defender playing the ball off the end of the pitch was on the list.

        I think the penalty corner restart had its origins as a means of preventing time-wasting when hockey was played on open grass pitches and a good wack over the baseline would use up time (in club hockey) as the ball was either retrived or a replacement was found. With hockey now generally played on caged artificial pitches the original reason to discourage hitting the ball off the end of the pitch has disappeared.

        I think a free to the attacking side on the 23m line is a more useful and open option and I hope the use of it will be expanded.

  2. Trust me force of habit is strong. I still hear people call parts of the field: the 25, 5yards etc (and this was from country where metric became standard in 1960’s). I remember the long name change coming in, but everyone else still called it “a long” or “a short” removing the wrong word.

    International players have the skills to get sometimes gain advantage from a ‘corner’ , but rarely do club players or even a lot of state players, therefore with the restrictions you are right, it was a hindrance not an advantage.

    ….The backline hit was the only thing I miss about my youth days playing grass – breathing time was good. Especially on the field we called the ‘cabbage patch’ with it’s snake infested natural bush fence behind the backlines.

    A qn I have. The free hit you’re suggesting on the 23, is that classed as ‘inside the 23’ therefore under 5meter rules (why must the attackers be 5?), or is it classed as outside, leading to the ability to hit into the circle? (Australian ruling was that it is inside, as a safety feature, (I also don’t have the book on me to check and FIH is having issues on my pc again.))

    • “A qn I have. The free hit you’re suggesting on the 23, is that classed as ‘inside the 23’ therefore under 5meter rules……”

      Yes the force of habit is strong; I never refer to “the ‘free hit’ “, always to the ‘free’ or ‘free-ball’ or ‘free pass’ (although there is little free about a free ball awarded in the opponent’s 23m area at the moment).

      There is no requirement that a free be hit and it is illegal to intentionally raise a free ball with a hit but not with a flick or scoop or lob – so we have “A free hit can be lifted directly but not with a hit” being said without the speakers being aware of how ridiculous that sounds to the casual spectator (who may decide there and then that hockey has Rules that are too complicated or obtuse to follow).

      The answer to your question is “No” because a free awarded to be taken “on the 23m” should be positioned on the 23m line, but it really does not matter much if it is taken from just behind the line, because this Rules rewrite is written as a connected peice and the only 5m requirement remaining is the one in existence before 2009 i.e that members of the team opposing the free retreat to attempt to get 5m from the ball as soon as is reasonably possible when the whistle is blown and signal made.

      ……and the attacker side must comply with ‘a stationary ball in the correct position’ before the umpire blows a second whistle to signal the resumption of play.

  3. Sorry about that, habit from youth hockey calling all ‘frees’, free hits. I actually only meant a ‘free ball’ 🙂

    That statement about a ‘free hit’ does really sound stupid doesn’t. I have had a few friends who have given up with the rules when watching doe to said ‘obtuse’ rules.

    I keep thinking about the rules above as additions/changes to the current, but keep forgetting to remove the current rules as shown by that qn……I think I should get a job at FIH 🙂

    The other thing I was thinking about was related to the current stupid rule that you can’t pass or hit the ball directly into the circle off a free within the 23. If this rule stayed in (as it seems to be in FIH minds), would the free you’re talking about be classed under it?

    • “If this rule stayed in (as it seems to be in FIH minds), would the free you’re talking about be classed under it?”

      Yes it would have to but there is no point in introducing a free on the 23m to replace the penalty corner now awarded if the ball could not be played directly into the circle – such a change would also probably be unaccepatable because of the existing restrictions.

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