The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced an updated set of rules for international hockey players during penalty corners. Under the new rules, hockey players defending penalty corners will have to don their protective gear even when the ball goes outside the striking circle. The changes hope to make safety a priority for competing players.
Experts from the five continental federations under the authority of FIH are in charge of drafting the rules for hockey. The FIH rules for hockey are generally updated in the month of January, following the Olympic Games or FIH Hockey World Cups.
FIH Sport and Development Director Jon Wyatt explains what the new rules mean:
The new rules permit players defending penalty corners to wear their protective equipment even when the ball goes outside the striking circle.
Two-Time Olympian Jon Wyatt, in an official statement, said:
"Rule 4.2 has been changed to allow for defending players using Penalty Corner protective equipment to continue to play the ball outside the circle after an interception during the taking of a penalty corner. Players can now continue to run with the ball while keeping their protective equipment on but they must remove that same equipment immediately after, at the first opportunity to do so and always inside the 23 m area."
Meanwhile, players will have to remove their protective gear at the first opportunity inside the 23m area.
FIH Director stated that this new rule was experimented during the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar. Wyatt further added that it received unanimous support from coaches, athletes and officials.
FIH Director further added;
"No player using PC protective equipment can play the ball outside the 23m area at any time. This has been introduced to protect athlete safety so that the focus can be on the ball and the play, and not on removing protective equipment during a pressurized defensive situation. It was trialed in the FIH Odisha Hockey Men's Junior World Cup in Bhubaneswar in December 2021, and received unanimous support from coaches, athletes and officials.