Rewrite: Umpires Conduct of play. Rules 11.1. 11.2. 11.3.


A suggested rewrite of the Rules of Hockey

Rule 11 Conduct of play: umpires

Action Amendment

Reason. Two officials are insufficient for there to be an official reasonably close to action around the ball at all times

Current Rule

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 field 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 field.


Not ‘cast in iron’ other suggestions welcome.


11.1. An umpire and four flag-officials control a match and ensure that it is played according to the Rules of Hockey.

The umpire positions and moves in the area between the two shooting circles.


11.2. The umpire has primary responsibility for all decisions.


11.3. Each flag official is responsible for bringing to the umpire’s attention (flagging) a) breaches of Rule   b) confirmation of or dissent about any decision made and c) any other matter which may require intervention.

Each flag official is responsible for patrolling one quarter of the playing field and will move in an arc between the near goalpost and the halfway line in that quarter, depending on which team is attacking and on the positioning of the other flag-official on that side of the field. There should generally be achieved at least a three-point view of play on the ball and all play should be viewed from close range by at least one official.


Communication between officials and when and how flags are to be used will need to be decided and then  ‘ironed out’ with practice and improved with experience.

The position of flag-official might be a useful introduction to international tournament (or national league) play for umpires not experienced at these levels.

This proposal will be difficult to implement in club hockey below national league level , where it is already a problem to find sufficient officials, but there should not be such difficulty where there is competition for appointment.  


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