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FIH deserves a big pat on their back for doing away with extra time rule

FILE PHOTO: Australia celebrates scoring the winning goal in extra time to defeat the Netherlands in the final of the 2012 Champions Trophy.

Field hockey has changed a lot over the years. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have altered rules from time to time with an aim to make the sport more competitive and at the same time, also enhance its excitement level so that the spectators get their money’s worth.

So many changes have taken place in the rule book of field hockey in the past couple of decades, and every new rule has only helped towards ensuring free flowing hockey.

And the International Hockey Federation (FIH) now wants to make hockey more pleasing for the viewers. FIH has recently announced several changes to the rules of the game.

The most striking rule change has been the move to do away with extra time from international matches. As per the new rules, any league match of a particular tournament would see teams share points when they are tied at the end of regulation time (end of 70 minutes of play).

In case of a classification match (a match held to decide positions of a particular tournament), the match would head straight into a penalty shootout when teams are locked on level terms at the end of regulation time.

I think it’s a good idea to dispense with extra time as teams are at times prone to adopting defensive tactics or look at ways to run down the clock in the dying moments of regulation time, knowing extra time is still there to be played.

The positive change will be that teams would be more keen to settle the outcome in regulation time rather allow their fate to be decided by penalty shootout, something teams dread to face as it is often like lottery.

When teams know they have to go all out to churn out a result in normal time and skirt facing the shootout, it would automatically lead to more open hockey.

FIH also deserves a pat on their back for imposing a 45-second time-limit on the execution of penalty corners. I think it bodes well for the game as teams are often seen taking their own sweet time in taking short corners.

These new rules will come into effect at the upcoming Women’s Hockey World League Round 4 tournament in Argentina.

Some Famous Changes in Field Hockey Rule Book

1904: Scoop shot was first allowed.

1908: Penalty corners were first allowed in field hockey.

1959: Umpires were given powers to slap a temporary suspension on a player.

1996: Off-side rule was temporarily abolished.

1998: Off-side rule was permanently abolished.

1998: Substitutions at penalty corners were no longer permitted except for an injured defending goalkeeper but were still permitted during penalty strokes.

2007: Permitting a team either to have a goalkeeper on the field or to play entirely with field players.

2013: Own goal rule was introduced. A goal will be allowed if the ball deflects home after the touching the defender.

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