Umpire Support Guide Lines from the Competitiom Policy


Based on a recommendation from the FIH Rules Committee, the FIH Executive Board has agreed a change to the Rules of Hockey.
Experimental Own Goal Rule will no longer be played therefore:

 8.1 A goal is scored when the ball is played within the circle by an attacker and does not travel outside the circle before passing completely over the goal-line and under the crossbar.

Playing the ball above the shoulder – Although this rule is being utilized in Top International Tournaments, Hockey Australia is currently only going to use it in their AHL competitions.

THEREFORE, the interpretation for Hockey Queensland Tournaments is that the ball must not be played above the shoulder.

Common Sense is to be applied.

  • A horizontal stick which is just above shoulder height can be a penalty only. Continuous use of the horizontal stick above the shoulder to gain an advantage needs to be managed. A green card may be warranted.

  • Not making contact with the ball is not a breach even if the stick is above the shoulder, unless the action is dangerous to anotherplayer. Manage it, let the player know that if they had made contact they would be penalized.
    Deliberate bringing down of a ball with a vertical stick is an offence which warrants a Yellow Card.

Rule Reminders

  • The ball can now be raised intentionally but safely directly from a free hit/re-start situation using a push, flick or scoop action (but NOT from a HIT)

  • At a free hit which is not a self-pass, the ball is NO LONGER required to move 1m before it can be played by a team mate

  • If time expires just before an umpire would otherwise have made a decision, umpires are permitted to make that decision immediately after the end of the first half or the end of the match.

  • Ie. a goal may be awarded provided the ball crossed the goal line before time expired

  • A PC, PS or personal penalty may be given for an offence that occurred immediately before time expired

  • A wrong decision made immediately before time may also be corrected

Defenders no longer have the option of taking a free hit awarded in the circle “anywhere in the circle 

  • The free hit should now be taken anywhere up to 15 metres from the backline in line with the location of the offence.Ie same application as for 15m (16yd) hit. 

  • Ball Over Backline - remember if the ball is intentionally played over the backlineby a defender a Penalty Corner should be considered.. If it is clear that the action is intentional, umpires should not hesitate to award a penalty corner.

         Green Card Ruling

This rule will continue during 2014. The ruling has provided umpires with the opportunity to reinforce the importance of a green card to players and hopefully help deal with issues as 5 metres, hitting the ball away and back chat if other management techniques have not gained the desired result or it is warranted. It is NOT a replacement for a yellow card offence.

  • Any player who is given a green card must leave the field immediately for a period of 2 minutes.                   

    Yellow Card Ruling

  • Umpires now do not have to wait until a player has left the field before re-starting play after the awarding of a yellow card. Minimum of 5 minutes (if you do not indicate, Tech will assume it is 5)

Note: Umpires can re-start play when they feel that it is appropriate to do  so.

  • The aim of this is to avoid long stoppages of play

 13.2 g The Self-play free hit 

Note: The free hit, centre pass, and putting the ball back into play, (sideline “long corner” and 15m hit). All these are now grouped together and shall be interpreted in a similar manner.

The team taking the free hit:

  • A player must make two clear motions

  • The player must make an attempt to stop the ball first. 

  • Consider is the ball placement. Intervene early if you want to re-position the ball as you consider too big of an advantage has been gained. (avoid replays)

  • The idea of the rule is to allow 'flow' without gaining an unfair advantage.  Any unnecessary interruption to the flow of the game from an umpire will only cause frustration for players and coaches.

  • Note: Players from the same team do not have to be 5m from the free hit except in the attacking 23m area. If a player from the attacking team is within 5m but clearly not influencing play then allow play to proceed.

  • Note: A team with the free hit does not have to wait for opposition players to move 5 metres from where the free hit is to be taken.

  • Note: Opposition Players must move 5 metres from where the free hit is to be taken. This must be done without any delay.

  • Umpires must take action for players deliberately “standing over the ball” or “hitting the ball away” to prevent a free hit from being taken – this is “gamesmanship”.

  • A warning (Verbal or green) may be appropriate unless the action is clearly intentional and affects the game the temporary suspension should be enforced (5 minute Yellow card). Please do not use the 10m penaltyapplication can be a handy tool for umpires in these situations.

  • Umpires must be very proactive in moving players 5 metres from free hits (Verbal and whistling) - avoid replays & reversals

  • Opposition players cannot interfere with the play until they have retreated the 5 metres from where the free hit is to be taken.

  • Note: Playing the ball in any way, ”getting in the way” or “running next” to the ball carrier who has taken a self- play free hit is not acceptable

  • Note: Be aware of teams taking a self-play free hit manufacturing interference from opposition players.

    Free hits for attackers taken inside the attacking 23 metre area.

  •  Note: This is very simple and should be applied as directed:
  • All players other than the player playing the ball must be 5 metres from the ball when the free hit is taken. This includes bringing the ball back into play. 

  • At a self-play free hit, the ball must travel at least 5 metres in any direction before it is played into or through the circle.

Overhead or Aerial Balls

  • Players must not approach within 5 metres 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 the ball. (note: in a contested situation umpires should consider there to be ‘no’ initial receiver)

  • Umpires are encouraged to ‘scan early’ in overhead situations. If the ball looks like landing in amongst players blow early and award a free to the opposing team.

  • If a player was in position to receive the ball and another player rushes in to ‘make a contest’ then the initial player should be awarded the free

  • If both teams are racing towards ball then it should be considered a contested situation and a free awarded to the opposing team.

Penalty Corners

Manage the Penalty Corner – do not allow players to waste time when they are kitting up with protective equipment (defence) or discussing options (attack)

  • Once players are moving back to their positions move in and control the corners. Aim for 45 seconds or less

  • The non-controlling umpire should stand approximately 5 metres off the centre line in line with the left post.

  • Umpires are then in a very good position to check the height and direction of the first shot. They may also have a good view of any obstruction (shielding) by either the attack of defence

14.2.   Breaking at 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 and no defender is permitted to cross the centre-line or back-line.  

  • For any offence of this rule by a defender, the offending player(s) shall be required to go beyond the centre-line and cannot be replaced by another defender. Note: if the goal keeper breaks then a defender other than the keeper shall be required to go beyond the centreline.

  • For an offence of this rule by an attacker who enters the circle before the ball is played, the offending player(s) shall be required to go beyond the centre line. THE PC IS TAKEN AGAIN.

  • The player who pushes or hits the ball from the back-line must not feint at playing the ball.

  • NOTE: Umpires must be absolutely convinced that there is no feint on the part of the person pushing the ball out. For an offence of this rule the offending player must go to the centreline but can be replaced by another attacker with no penalty to the defence.

Stick raised above the head at Penalty Corner – 

Defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height

  • Defenders should not be penalised if their stick is not motionless when making such a save. Only if the ball is genuinely hit while above shoulder height and a goal is prevented should a penalty stroke be awarded

  • If the defender stops or deflects a ball travelling towards goal but which would have missed the goal then a penalty corner should be awarded (not a penalty stroke)

  • If danger results, after the defender legitimately plays the ball in the air then a PC should be awarded.

Dangerous Play                                                                                                                              

Raised balls should only be penalised if they are deemed to be dangerous or lead to danger

  • It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit, anywhere on the field unless it is dangerous 
  • Players must not intentionally raise the ball off a hit except for a shot on goal. A deliberate chip should therefore be penalised

  • There is no rule that says you cannot life the ball into the circle. Danger is the only interpretation

  • The free hit should be taken ‘where the action causing the danger occurs’. Normally on a lofted ball it is dangerous when it is coming down to land amongst players therefore should be taken where it lands. The exception to this is on the ball that is deflected by a defender and lands dangerously in the circle. In this situation the free should be taken outside the circle. Normally in a dangerous free hit situation the ball should be taken from where the free hit was taken.


  • The player trying to get at the ball must be within playing distance. Basically once the ball goes beyond a stick length it should be play on. The push and charge through a player trying to force the obstruction has all but disappeared.

  • A player cannot use their body to shield the ball however, the tackler must be trying to make a legitimate tackle before the person with the ball is penalised.
  • A player may tackle from any position including from behind. The important thing to note is that the tackler must not interfere with either the body or the stick of the person with the ball. If the tackler cleanly gets the ball (regardless of how awkward it may look) then no offence has occurred

    The rules of hockey umpiring are far from black and white.

    Above all be consistent in your interpretations 

    The basic aim of umpiring…      PROTECT THE PLAYERS, PROTECT THE GAME!!



Rules of Hockey