Rules of Hockey. Ball-body contact. Forcing. Advantage.
Edit. 11th January 2017
‘Revolving’ the Rules, so that they are applied in a way that is the opposite of the way they were applied previously or intended to be applied, appears to me to be the sole ‘achievement’ of Phase One of ‘The Hockey Revolution’. Here is an example from a Internet forum discussion on advantage.
Suppose here is an accidental foot that ounces clear to an attacker who has a CLEAR.advantage orr opportunity to proceed advantagerously = play on, advantage over. No advantage = pc
It is possible to plough through the typos and read what was intended to be written.
This kind of thing “No advantage = pc“ is so common (and it is common umpiring practice) that it is no longer noticed – and it is very seldom corrected by an experienced umpire or a forum moderator – but it is the near opposite to what is given in the Explanation of application of Rule 9.11.
It is not the case that, if there is an accidental ball-foot contact by a defender in the defended circle and the attacking team do not gain an advantage from it, a penalty corner should be awarded.
Penalty should be applied following a ball-body (foot) contact if there has been no prior offence by the attacking team which caused the contact (generally a breach of the conditions of Rule 9.9 under which what were previously known as forcing offences are (should) now be penalised) and an advantage is gained by the defending team (“gained” meaning an advantage greater than they would have had anyway if the contact had not occurred – previously explained in the Rules of Hockey as an unfair or undue advantage).
If there is a ball-foot contact by a defender and the ball runs on from it, so that the attacking side are able to play on with advantage (which is not necessarily an application of the Advantage Rule) , there cannot be an unfair advantage gained by the defending team – so there is no offence. It is not possible for both teams to gain an advantage over the other from a single ball-body contact. If there is no offence the Advantage Rule cannot be applied, play just continues because there is no reason for the umpire to intervene – or decide not to intervene but to allow an advantage – confusing because of the common use of similar terms in different situations, offence and no offence.
The shot at goal that hits the foot of a defender is a common occurrence (becausae attackers have no hesitation in shooting at or ‘through’ defending players). If the contact directly prevents the ball entering the goal when it would otherwise have done so, that is clearly an advantage gained by the defending team and (unless the shot is adjudged to have been carried out in a dangerous way) a penalty stroke should be awarded.
If an on target shot hits a defender’s foot, without there being clear intent by that defender to use the body to stop or deflect the ball, when that defender is backed up by other defenders (and possibly the goalkeeper), and the defenders are able stop the ball and to continue with play, it is not possible to state that a goal has been prevented. It is generally not ‘safe’ (fair) to declare that the other defender/s would not have stopped the ball and gained possession of it if the contact had not been made. So what advantage have the defending side gained? Generally none, but it is possible a deflection is towards another defender in the goal who would otherwise have been unable to get a stick to the ball – so a penalty stroke may be appropriate (not a penalty corner – a goal is prevented or that is not the case and there is no disadvantage).
If in the situation described above the ball is deflected off the pitch following a defender’s ball-foot contact the situation is more clear cut. The attacking team have the advantage of a restart from the 23m line. This is certainly the case if the shot was going wide of the goal before the contact.
Accidental ball-body contacts should not generally result in the penalty corner the attacking team would have liked (and now expect). Such incidents are not worthy of the severe penalty a penalty corner is, when there has been no offence – no advantage gained.
Penalty for causing disadvantage to opponents can only be applied when the disadvantage is caused as the result of an offence. Players throughout a match legitimately try to disadvantage their opponents as much as they can – it’s called competing: a legitmate successful tackle for the ball will always disadvantage the player tackled.
If the ball hits the foot of a defender (in either of the conditions described above) and runs to the advantage of the attacking team there is no reason whatsoever for the umpire to intervene – play should continue.
The accidental interception or deflection of a ball that was passed from one attacker (in or out of the circle) to another in the circle may be legitimate reason for the award of a penalty corner. But passes, attempted ‘through’ defenders that are not ‘on’, there being no reasonable passing channel existing or created (or even an attempt made to create one), are often indistinguishable from intentional forcing of contact and they should be ignored by an umpire. A bad pass (one within easy playing reach of an opponent and one that would never be attempted outside the opposition’s circle) is generally not good hockey: bad ‘passing’ or ‘hit and hope’ should be discouraged not rewarded.
An argument that is often advanced by those who expect (demand) a penalty corner following any ball-body contact by a defender in the circle, even if the attacking team retain or regain possession, is that the position of the attacker with the ball is not then as good as it would be if a penalty corner were to be awarded for the contact; that is there is no clear shot at the goal available. It is an argument presented most often when a foot contact has been deliberately forced onto a defender close to the base-line – a position from where a shot at the goal would be unlikely to result directly in a goal – but the counter argument applies no matter where in the circle ball-foot contact occurs.
Whether or not there is opportunity for a clear shot at the goal, as might be expected if a penalty corner was awarded, is not a consideration for advantage. All that is required is that the attacking team can “develop their play”, that is that they are in no worse a position to play on than they would have been if the contact had not occurred – they are not unfairly disadvantaged because of the contact – there is no requirement that their position be better than it would have been had the contact not occurred. If the position of the attackers is significantly worse e.g. an accidental contact during a tackle leads to possession to the defending team, a penalty corner may be considered. When a contact is forced it can be ignored or a free awarded to the defending team (for time wasting by the attacking side – which in the circumstances is a reasonable substitute for the deleted Misconduct Rule).
An attacker who has deliberately played the ball into the foot (or leg or body) of a defender should not expect the umpire to intervene unless the defender is injured or otherwise disadvantaged and then certainly not with the award of a penalty corner to the attacking team.
Forcing ball-body contact onto an opponent has been deleted as a separate offence in its own right, but ALL forcing actions (according to the explanation given with and for the deletion) can be dealt with under other Rules; that is forcing actions should be penalised under other Rules or advantage to the defenders where applicable should be allowed.
It is unfortunate that the FIH Rules Committee appear to have been (are) unaware that there is no “other Rule” which prohibits intentionally playing the ball into the feet of an opponent, if the ball is not raised or the action is not of itself reckless or dangerous play ??? So the explanation for the deletion of the offence of forcing is fatally flawed – and the deletion therefore a mistake – a mistake which has resulted in an excessive number penalty corners being unfairly awarded.
That, on the other hand, that might have been the intention – as part of The Hockey Revolution.
The purpose of Rule 9.11. was to deter intentional stopping or deflecting of the ball with the body – not to punish all ball-body contact – that was demonstrated by the inclusion of what was Rule 9.15 Forcing. The deletion of the forcing Rule and the near mindless penalising of ball-body contact, even that which is forced or is the result of dangerous play by opponents or gives no advantage whatsoever to the team of the player hit with the ball, is spoiling the game. It is completely ruined when the current application of Rule 9.11. is combined with the failure to apply Rule 9.9 as it relates to playing a ball towards an opponent and also the failure to apply the ball-shielding and tackle prevention aspects of Rule 9.12 Obstruction – AND the game is now more dangerous for participants than at any previous time: this is not improvement. We are in fact so far from the game laid out in the Rules of Hockey that is is not proper to call what is being played (field) hockey at all; von Reth’s game might be a more appropriate name and description.