The International Hockey Federation's (FIH) Executive Board has made some changes to the rules of the game which will be implemented from next year.
Among the changes, made after recommendations of the Rules Board, is the total deletion of Rule 9.15 - players must not force an opponent into offending unintentionally - said the FIH in its latest news letter.
"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," was the interpretation of the deleted rule.
The mandatory experimental rule introduced in 2009 about location of a free hit (Rule 13.1 and 13.1d with some alterations) have become Full Rules.
In Rule 13.1d - a free hit awarded inside the circle to the defence is taken anywhere inside the circle or up to 15 metres from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line - the option of taking the free hit "anywhere inside the circle" has been deleted.
Former Mandatory Experimental Rule 13.2 - taking a free hit, centre pass and putting the ball back into play after it has been outside the field - also becomes a full Rule from January 1, 2011.
Rule 13.3.h - taking a penalty corner until the ball has been played, no attacker other than the one taking the push or hit from the back-line is permitted to enter the circle - has been modified.
As per the modified rule, when an attacker enters the circle before permitted, the penalty corner is taken again except that when attackers persistently enter the circle before permitted, a free hit is awarded to the defence.
Rule 13.9.a - for an offence during the taking of a penalty stroke - if the stroke is taken before the whistle has been blown and a goal is scored, it is taken again.
The existing rule says: For an offence during the taking of a penalty stroke by the player taking the stroke, a free hit is awarded to the defence.
Rule 13.9.c - for an offence during the taking of a penalty stroke for any other offence by the player defending the stroke which prevents a goal being scored. Instead of a goal being awarded, the penalty stroke is taken again.
Effectively this means that Rules 13.9.c and 13.9.d (for an offence by the player defending the stroke which does not prevent a goal being scored, the penalty stroke is taken again) would both lead to the penalty stroke being taken again, the FIH has stated.
These changes formally take effect for international competition from January 1, 2011 while all international matches played before that date use the existing 2009 Rules.
"However, advance notice of the main changes are provided so that Continental Federations and National Associations may, if they wish, implement the changes sooner for matches within their jurisdiction," the FIH said.
The Asian Hockey Federation has, thus, the choice of implementing the new rules earlier than mandated - at the November 12-27 Asian Games in Guangzhou.