Playing the Game

9.  Conduct of Play: Players

            Players are expected to act responsibly at all times.

9.1        A match is played between two teams with not more than eleven players of each team on the field at the same time.

9.2        Players on the field must hold their stick and not use it in a dangerous way.
            Players must not lift their stick over the heads of other players.

9.3        Players must not touch, handle or interfere with other players or their sticks or clothing.

9.4        Players must not intimidate or impede another player.

9.5        Players must not play the ball with the back of the stick.

9.6        Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the edge of the stick.

This does not prohibit use of the edge of the stick on the forehand in a controlled action in a tackle, when raising the ball in a controlled way over an opponent’s stick or over a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges who is lying on the ground or when using a long pushing motion on along the ground.

The use of the edge of the stick on the backhand has developed as a technical skill and is permitted subject to danger.

9.7*        Players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height except that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height.

When saving a shot at goal, a defender must not be penalized if their stick is not motionless or is traveling towards the ball while attempting to stop or deflect the shot.  Only if the ball is genuinely hit while above shoulder height and a goal is prevented should a penalty stroke be awarded.

If a defender attempts to stop or deflect a ball traveling towards the goal which will actually miss the goal, any use of the stick above the shoulder must be penalized by a penalty corner and not a penalty stroke.

If dangerous play results after a legitimate stop or deflection, a penalty corner must be awarded.

*FIH note regarding the application of rules:

“The Hockey Rules Board is aware that how the Rules are applied is key to a fair game.  In this context, there are two Rules which are sometimes applied inconsistently.

Rule 9.7 specifies that ‘players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above etc’.  For consistency and fairness, shoulder height should be strictly enforced.  (Other Rule is Rule 7.4c)

9.8        Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which
leads to dangerous play.
A ball is considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

*Please note the inconsistency with this rule:

Scenario 1:  A moving ball takes a deflection outside the circle and danger occurs inside the circle.  A free hit is awarded outside the circle at the point of deflection rather than at the point danger occurs.

Scenario 2:  A moving ball takes a deflection outside of the circle  and danger occurs also outside of the circle.  A free hit is awarded at the point danger occurs rather than the point of deflection.

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 offense to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous.

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.

Players are permitted to raise the ball with a flick or scoop provided it is not dangerous.  A flick or scoop towards an opponent within 5 meters is considered dangerous.  If an opponent is clearly running into the shot or into the attacker without attempting to play the ball with their stick, they should be penalized for dangerous play.

9.10        Players must not approach within 5 meters of an opponent receiving a falling raised ball until it has been received, controlled and is on the ground.

The initial receiver has a right to the ball.  If it is not clear which player is the initial receiver, the player of the team which raised the ball must allow the opponent to receive it.

9.11        Field players must not stop, kick, propel, pick up, throw or carry the ball with any part of their body.

It is not always an offense if the ball his the foot, or body of a field player.  The player only commits an offense if they voluntarily use their hand, foot or body to play the ball or if they position themselves with the intention of stopping the ball in this way.

It is not an offense if the ball hits the hand holding the the stick but would otherwise have hit the stick.

9.12        Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball.

Players obstruct if they:
-back into an opponent
-physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent
-shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with their stick or any part of their body.

A stationary player receiving the ball is permitted to face in any direction.

A player with the ball is permitted to move off with it in any direction except bodily into an opponent or into a position between the ball and an opponent who is within playing distance of the ball and attempting to play it.

A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this is third party or shadow obstruction).  This also applies if an attacker runs across or blocks defenders (including the goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges) when a penalty corner is being taken.

9.13        Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.

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

9.15        Players must not change their stick between the award and completion of a penalty corner or penalty stroke unless it no longer meets the stick specification.

9.16        Players must not throw any object or piece of equipment onto the field, at the ball, or at another player, umpire or person.

9.17        Players must not delay play to gain benefit by time-wasting.