The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has changed the penalty corner rule, allowing the defenders to keep their protective equipment on after the ball goes outside the circle, the regulatory body of international hockey said in a release on Monday.
"Rule 4.2, related to a penalty corner, 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 metre area," said FIH Sport Director Jon Wyatt.
"No player using PC protective equipment can play the ball outside the 23 metre 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 pressurised 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," he said.
The FIH has also changed the rule regarding the aerial ball.
"Rule 9.10 was changed to allow for the playing of what is commonly referred to as Aerial Balls. The previous text did not cover the possibility for players to safely intercept a falling ball, which is now seen as both legitimate and positive to the development of the game. This followed extensive discussions before, during, and after the Tokyo Olympic Games, during which a more consistent interpretation and understanding of this element of our game was agreed (upon). Aerial Balls will continue to be closely monitored by all stakeholders so that player safety can be maintained," the FIH said in a statement.
The rules are issued by the FIH Rules Committee (made up of Rules experts from the five Continental Federations) under the authority of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). They are updated normally every two years in the January following the Olympic Games or FIH Hockey World Cups. The newly updated rules will come into effect from January 2022 in all international events.
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