Field Hockey Rulebook Rewrite: Rule 9.14. Entering the opponent’s goal – A Goal Zone.

A suggested rewrite of the Rules of Hockey.

The current Rule 9.14.

Players must not intentionally enter the goal their opponents are defending or run behind either goal.

Action. Amendment and Expansion, the introduction of a Goal Zone

Reason. Promises made in 1997, when Off-side was abolished have not been honoured; there has been no Rule introduced to curb potential close in dangerous play by opponents, now free to position anywhere up to (and beyond) the baseline irrespective of the positioning of defenders. The recent introduction of above shoulder playing of the ball and the development of edge-hitting as well as what is termed 3D hockey has made defending the goal more difficult and dangerous than at any previous time.

Suggestion.

This is new so untried and any suggestion to improve it is welcome. Obviously the first step is a trial.

A Goal Zone or Goalkeeper’s Zone marked out in a similar way to the marking out of the shooting circle, but with the measurement, from the inner edge of the face of the goalposts to the outer edge of the Zone line, to be a radius of 2m. 

The Goal Zone would serve as a miniature off-side area, no attacking player permitted to enter it before the ball had done so and to vacate it immediately the ball is played out of the Zone. Dribbling with the ball directly into the Zone would of course be permitted.

The Zone would prevent most of the physical blocking and crowding of the goalkeeper that now occurs frequently and also prevent opponent’s ‘goal-hanging’ prior to the ball being raised with a hit or flicked across the face of the goal by an attacker from a position on the base-line. Point-blank deflections into the goal from attackers positioned on or very close to the goal-line before the ball was passed would be eliminated. 

At 2m radius the Goal Zone is small – the goal-line is almost within playing reach from outside the zone –  and the zone could possibly be extended by a further 50cms, but I don’t think it should be made any larger than that. 

 

Rule 9.14 Players may not enter the goal zone of the goal their opponents are defending until the ball is in the zone.

Players must vacate the goal zone their opponents are defending immediately the ball is played out, or otherwise goes out of the goal zone. (For example, because (a) the ball rebounds from a goal-post, or (b)  the ball is propelled into the zone, directly across and out again, without being played from within the goal zone).

Players may not at any time enter the goal their opponents are defending.

No player may run off the pitch behind either their own goal or the goal their opponents are defending, and back onto the pitch on the other side of that goal 

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