Rules of Hockey. Rule 9.11. Comment.
Reply to comment made by Michael Cheater on my article A clarification of Rule for 2015 which is about change made to Rule 9.11. ball-body contact.
I will put the comment of Michael Cheater in quotes and coloured text to distinguish it from my reply and in that way I can respond to points in the comment near the position they are made.
Greetings, just reading over a few points…
You said: ‘The Guidance that a player should not be penalised if the ball was played by an opponent into his feet or legs from close range, which had been in the Rules of Hockey for a very long time, simply disappeared and has in effect been replaced by a statement in the UMB that a ball that hits a player at below half shin-pad height is not dangerous.’
Hi. Yes I did, that is a clear statement and one I will not disagree with because it is true. The following paragraph however in my view contains a number of statements which are untrue.
I assume you are referring to either Rule 9.11. (ball-body contact) or to ‘forcing’, what was Rule 9.15 until January 2011.
Players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally.
Playing the ball clearly and intentionally into any part of an opponent’s body may be penalised as an attempt to manufacture an offence. Forcing an opponent to obstruct (often emphasised by running into an opponent or by waving the stick) must also be penalised.
Which Rule you mean is not clear so I’ll give answer for both.
Let’s take the forcing Rule first. When this Rule was deleted the explanation that was given under Rules Changes in the Introduction of the rule-book was
“The Rule which used to say that “players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally” is deleted because any action of this sort can be dealt with under other Rules”.
It follows that the forcing of opponents into what might be considered offences was (and is) still a foul, but the foul will be dealt with using other (unspecified) Rules. (It should be noted that a ball-body contact could not be an offence if it was unintentional and as there was no ‘gains benefit’ clause at the time, it having been deleted after 2006, the wording of the Rule didn’t make much sense when applied to the forcing of ball-body contact)
Why, it must be wondered, go to the trouble of deleting a workable and satisfactory Rule (and it was both fairer than what we have now and workable despite the oxymoron) and rely entirely on other Rules – among them, it must be supposed, dangerous play, when the “other Rules” were and are themselves unsatisfactory (dangerous play, Rule 9.8., for example has only “causes legitimate evasive action” as a definition or explanation).
In fact the part in the above explanation for the deletion of forcing as an offence, which I have underlined, is simply a lie. There has never been a Rule which forbade a player from (deliberately or otherwise) playing the ball along the ground into the feet of an opponent. There was only guidance for umpires that if this did occur at close range the player hit with the ball was not at fault and should not be penalised.
When the forcing of ball-body contact became an offence that guidance was no longer necessary and was removed – now the offence of forcing has been deleted there is no guidance except what has been restored in to the Rule in January 2015, i.e. a player hit with the ball may be penalised if they gain an advantage from the contact. Like ‘Find the Lady’ the Rule was put under three cups, the cups were switched around to confuse the observer and the ‘Lady card’ will not be found under any choosen cup. How is completely reversing the original intent of either or both the guidance (advice to umpires) or the forcing Rule simpler for anybody? How is it fair? How is not only permitting but encouraging a player in possession of the ball to play it into the feet or legs of an opponent, safer for anybody? It’s not; to say it is safer or simpler is pap; ‘spin’ trotted out without the least regard to whether it is true or not as long as it is ‘accepted’ (can be imposed).
Umpires have accepted it easily enough because they had long ago given up making any subjective judgement about the intent of either player when the ball hit the foot of a defender. They had openly declared it “too difficult”* to see the intention of a ball holder to play the ball into an opponent’s legs and had stopped penalising such forcing…….
*(anything umpires do not want to do is “too difficult”, the most recent is the difficulty they have with seeing if the maker of a scoop pass has created a dangerous situation – play leading to dangerous play (the ignored part of Rule 9.8) – which has led to the determination that when there is danger at the point of landing penalty will always be awarded at the point of landing and not back at the point of lift, from where the danger may have been initially created even if in fact it was created by the lifter of the ball – a too close same team player who does not allow an opposing initial receiver to receive the ball without contest has in fact committed the second of two offences. But I digress and have already covered this ground in a previous blog article.)
……but they had no problem seeing (inventing) intent on the part of the player hit with the ball. Why? Because it is usually very easy to see if the ball has hit a player’s leg and when that happens to ‘automatically’ award penalty against the player hit – unless the opposition can play on with advantage, (which is ‘salt in the wound’ when the ball has been forced into the player hit in the first place). There was no noticeable change (or none at all) from the way forced contacts were umpired prior to the deletion of the forcing Rule compared to the way they were umpired after (there is ample video evidence of that in other articles within the blog articles) in fact the change followed what umpires were already doing and THAT was the most likely real reason for the deletion – to avoid ‘egg on face’ when someone (a new umpire?) said following an obviously forced contact “I thought there was a Rule which prohibited that”.
The following paragraph is difficult to follow because the identity of “their” and “them” is not clear to me but I’ll comment in general terms.
If a player chooses to play the ball into a players legs or feet as long as it isn’t done dangerously, and stop the flow of their game, so be it. Disadvantage to them. It is also forcing an increase in skill with the stick, mainly in stopping a ball that is pushed towards the feet.
If a player chooses to play the ball into an opponent’s feet (not an opponent’s legs because that would involve raising the ball and be clearly contrary to the explanation given in Rule 9.9.) as long as it is not done dangerously, for example by propelling the ball at high velocity from close range (a very common occurrence), then there is no good reason, no matter what the outcome of the contact, why play should not just continue, there has been no offence.
The next sentence you write (below) repeats something I have read previously on an Internet hockey forum and it saddens me to see such obvious nonsense repeated as if it made some sense. Defenders need to be able to instantly bring under control – not necessarily stop – any ball that an opponent tries to play past their feet on either side or between their feet, that a opponent might play the ball at the defender’s feet rather than past them does not make one jot of difference to the stick handling, anticipation and other defensive abilities, such as footwork, that are already required of any defender. What makes the difference between a ball played past the feet and into the feet is that penalty will follow (despite that being entirely wrong) if an opponent manages to play the ball into a defender’s feet.
I make a distinction between stick-work and the stick handling abilities required to take the ball into control with a single touch. Stick-work I see as being more to do with control and movement of the ball when it it is in the possession of a player and is particularly related to eluding or ‘beating’ an opponent who is trying to dispossess the ball-holder and to the preparation of passes and shots. The player who is so lacking in ability and imagination that they resort to playing the ball into the feet of an opponent in the expectation of the award of a free-ball or a penalty corner can take no pride in that lack of ability, absence of real skill.
You lose me completely, when you write of a recent play-on Rule, what Rule are you are you referring to? Perhaps you mean Advantage, Rule 12.1. The Rule that instructs umpires that if an offence occurs and the opponents of the offender can play on with advantage then the umpire must allow play to continue: that is hardly recent, the present wording dates from 2004 and there has been an Advantage Rule (which has had the foregoing guidance added to it) since 1995/6.
I would never argue that a player who has pushed the ball into an opponents feet (either deliberately or because of a lack of skill) should be awarded a penalty of any sort, penalty should only be awarded against a player who has committed an offence.
The low-grade/high-grade distinction of players is something that first appeared in discussions about hockey and the Rules of Hockey in 2006 – it’s rubbish and I would advise you to ignore it. Read the first paragraph of the Rules of Hockey which contains the Rules which apply to all participants of every ability.
You might argue that the recent play on rule allows a player to push it into the feet, get the penalty and keep going. Sure, in most lower grades of hockey. Mid to higher grades, players aim to continue on play, and make plays up the field. Deliberately playing into the feet is often used when they have no play, or advantage, in which case, they aren’t going to play on quickly, but wait for options, and create plays.
I’ll break up the following paragraph in order to highlight one comment.
The one exception to this is in the D. In Men’s games, high or low, the first thing they’ll try is to score. If they can’t get a shot of, or a safe shot of with no chance of scoring, they’ll play it to a foot, forcing the player to have fouled. Short corner.
Who decided that players want to play a game of “foot contact is a foul” and who determined that this is now accepted as the way the game is (and should) be played? It certainly wasn’t a defending player and all players are defenders at some point in a match.
The ‘accepted’ argument depends on how the question is put and in what circumstances asked – opinion polled can be slanted by the question put and by how it is put to obtain the answer the questioner is asking. If I ask a player “If an opponent hits the ball into your feet from close range should an umpire penalise you” Most players will say “No” but perhaps a greater number than would have previously will hedge their answer with “It depends” and the thing it usually depends most on is what the umpires have done previously. If an umpire at the opposite end of the pitch has earlier penalised a defender with a penalty corner for an accidental ball/foot contact then most players will see it as fair that the other umpire at the this end of the pitch should do exactly the same thing in similar circumstances – and as umpires seldom if ever call “play on” when there is such a contact in their circle (I have never see it happen when there were opponents within 5m of the player hit with the ball) – that has become what players expect and eventually to demand and to play for from umpires – it’s a vicious circle – umpires create an expectation of how they will umpire by their umpiring and then they will say that they are bound by player expectation and are doing what the players want. Players want to be treated the in the same way as opponents are or, more accurately, they want opponents to be treated in the same way they are: they want fairness. The first decision sets the tone for the match, the first match the tone for the season as umpires strive for consistency (even above the Rules of the game or any real sense of fairness of application).
That is accepted as the way the game is played now, at international, national and club to club level, even to the point at low women’s grades where they’ll put it onto a foot, and stop playing when they have a great chance at scoring. Even when their teams suck at short corners. It’s how the players overall want the game, so that is how it is played.
Again, I have no idea what you are referring to here.
The rule change confirming it is simply a little delayed in being changed, which as of this year it is thankfully changed.
Also on a side note, can you quote where not dangerous is defined as ‘a ball that hits a player at below half shin-pad height is not dangerous’. In Australia, a dangerous ball in contact with a player is defined as knee or above height in a normal stance.
UMB 2013 Page 11.
Ball off the Ground
• Blow only in dangerous situations everywhere on the pitch – forget lifted, think danger
• Low balls over defenders sticks in a controlled manner that hit half shin pad are not dangerous
• Use common sense and show understanding of the play
• Be consistent as an individual and as a team.
Nowhere in the world is a dangerous ball defined in the Rules of Hockey as a ball that makes contact with a player at knee height or above when they are in a normal stance. There is only one FIH authorised Rules of Hockey, it can be accessed and read on the FIH website. The only reference to knee-height is made within the procedures for the taking of a penalty corner (particularly the hitting of an out-runner- an absurd contradiction of the general Rule introduced because one team at an Olympic Games in 2004 threw themselves bodily at the ball), but as it is the only reference it is ‘borrowed’ and used ‘in practice’ in the management of the conduct of general open play. Aside from what is contained in Rule 9.9. the only other description/defintion of a dangerously played ball is that it is one that causes legitimate evasive action. A problem is that legitimate evasive action is itself a subjective judgement – not an objective criteria like ‘knee-height’. Umpire get quite ferocious when discussing their right to make subjective judgements but when the matter is closely examined we find that most are using pre-determined formula like “foot in the circle is a penalty corner” or “any contact disadvantages an opponent” or taking purely objective criteria like knee height as the determining factor, there is hardly any subjective judgement going on at all. Why? Because subjective judgement (individual judgement of a specific event), by its very nature, causes inconsistency – umpires it appears much prefer to be incorrect and defend or ‘sell’ their decisions, than be considered inconsistent.
Also, you say: ‘(Rule 12.1 pre 2004) was the forerunner of a Rule prohibiting the raising of a ball towards an opponent, which was, in 2004, deleted as a Rule and downgraded to explanation of application of Rule 9.9 (which prohibits the intentional raising of the ball with a hit except when taking a shot at the opponent’s goal) with a 5m limitation added; effectively making it legitimate (no longer an offence in itself) to raise a ball towards an opponent who was more than 5m from the ball (unless done dangerously – but umpires then decided that legitimate evasive action, the only definition of ‘dangerous’ there is, was not legitimate when taken by a player more than 5m from the ball when it was raised)
This is completely wrong, to the spirit of hockey. I am unsure what rule book you have, but according to the 2013-14 Rules of Hockey released in Australia, rule 9.9 reads as follows with the local opinions in umpiring stated in Parantheses.
9.9 Players must not intentionally raise the ball from a hit except for a shot at goal.
*A raised hit must be judged explicitly on whether or not it is raised intentionally. It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous. (No 5 metre limitation. If it is dangerous, it is dangerous. There is more debate on whether the free hit is awarded where the danger occurred, or where the hit/deflection occured.) If the ball is raised over an opponent’s stick or body on the ground, even within the circle, it is permitted unless judged to be dangerous. (again, the only debate you usually see here, is if a dangerous ball to a team mate is considered an offence if it does not strike them, As a team player, I believe it shouldn’t. It’s usually just followed with an apology to the team mate.)*
*Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous. (first and foremost, as long as it is not dangerous). A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 metres is considered dangerous. (This is referring to flicks or scoops aimed at going over players, and when it is considered a legal pass. I believe I have read somewhere else where you refer that this includes scoops, flicks or ‘chips’ past a player that are not above knee level. As stated before, any passes/ball movements below knee level in a normal stance is not considered dangerous.) If an opponent is clearly running into the shot or into the attacked without attempting to play the ball with their stick, they should be penalised for dangerous play.*
I know that what many umpires are doing (what you have described as ‘accepted’ above) is completely wrong and I am aware of the contradiction between practice and what is written in the Rules of Hockey – that was what I was pointing out in my article.
This is such a wonderful example of the ‘spin’ with which all changes are presented these days that I had to laugh. A subtraction presented as an additional control. I have already covered the point in a previous article but I will repeat it here. Previously we had three cards which were distinctly different in function and effect now we have only two that are distinctly different. The difference between Green and Yellow has been reduced to a matter of time.
There are many occasions when a general warning given visually to both teams because it is presented to an individual will have the desired calming effect, it is NOT always necessary to suspend a player for any length of time when issuing a caution – indeed the purpose of a Green may be primary a warning to all that a Yellow may follow, rather than the caution of a single individual – a Captain’s Green, even though he has committed no offence but is not controlling his team, is but one example. That was the Green – that low level control caution without suspension has now been lost from the ‘control ladder’. If the Green is seen as too little for an offence then there is no reason whatsoever why an umpire should not go direct to Yellow, but if a Green is being seen as ‘nothing’ that is the fault of the people using it not the fault of the way the card system was set up.
The Yellow is a straightforward suspension with a minimum of 5 minutes – that is now said to have been ‘too much’ or ‘too heavy’ a punishment for some offences. The Red is no further participation in the game and also automatic further action, minimum 16 suspensions etc.etc. (We are now it appears entering a totting up system where, as in soccer – where there is only a two card system – a second Yellow will carry an automatic Red)
It seems to me obvious that the solution to the Yellow minimum suspension being seen as ‘too harsh’ and the Green too weak was to reduce the Yellow minimum suspension to a standard two minutes. Then, if the umpire felt the offence warranted more than two minutes this would be communicated to the control table and/or player with the simple ‘five’ open hand signal or the clenched fist ‘ten’ signal'; any more time than that, which would be unusual, could be communicated verbally. There was no need at all to add a suspension time to the Green.
I am not sure as to how the long corner changes work, as the official 2015 Australian rule book isn’t released, and I have just heard that it is changed to be in conjunction with where it goes out on the field??
The ball is placed on the 23m line opposite to where it went off the pitch. A good idea I think as it opens the game up a bit. It would have been a good idea even without the three silly Rules which previously isolated the taker and confined the corner to play in a narrow channel between the circle and the side-line.
The silly Rules are of course the ban on playing a free-ball awarded in the opponents 23m area into the circle, the knock-on from that that a self-passer must move the ball 5m before playing it into the circle and finally the requirement that same team players be 5m from the ball; all three are still in effect and need to be deleted. I covered this topic in my article on an alternative penalty, where I suggested a free-ball awarded centrally behind the 23m line, as an alternative to the penalty corner which is far too heavy a penalty for at least six types of situation ranging, for example, from a defender intentionally playing the ball over the base-line to the ball being accidentally caught in a goalkeeper’s equipment (which was previously a bully situation).
The removal of the ball having to go back to the broken dotted line if a penalty occurs within 5 metres of the circle will be hard initially. Mostly from the confusion it will cause, especially at younger grades that are unfamiliar with ever playing it that way. Also the ball still needing to travel 5 yards before entering the circle is obviously good, but I am not too sure how easy it will be to enforce.
This change is plain daft. It will make life more difficult for umpires, who will now have to ensure defenders are 5m from the ball, so defenders will no longer be able to defend to the edge of the circle within 5m of the ball– that will not be popular – and it makes hardly any difference at all to attackers who are still confined by the three silly Rules mentioned above. The FIH Rules Committee have created a confined and frustrating set or circumstances around what should be a free-ball and it appears they are now trying to find solutions for the problem they themselves have created without losing face by acknowledging the mistaken introductions. made in 2009 (which incidentally completely messed up the taking of a self-pass in the opposing 23m area so that the full potential of that has not been properly explored)