World hockey association FIH will start a pilot next season to experiment with a new form of the penalty corner. In the test, the corner must no longer be stopped outside the circle, but outside the dotted line. In which countries and in which competitions this pilot will be set up is still unknown.

The FIH recently informed all member national associations about the experiment. Unions interested in participating in this can register. The FIH’s aim is to roll out the pilot worldwide at various levels, i.e. among youth, seniors and veterans. The world hockey association hopes to be able to announce soon in which countries and in which competitions the pilots will take place.

The defense of Kampong at a penalty corner during a match in the Tulp Hoofdklasse. Photo: Koen Suyk

The FIH fears that the penalty corner will lead to more and more injuries

The FIH has been investigating possible alternatives to the current penalty corner for some time. The world hockey association fears that the penalty corner in its current form will lead to more and more injuries. In addition, the arsenal of protective equipment, such as bits, gloves, and knee, foot and shin guards, can have a deterrent effect on registering young children with a hockey club, the organization fears.

The sporting aspect and the attractiveness value are also included in the same study. The World Hockey Federation strives for one in four penalty corners to result in a goal. During the 2022 Women’s World Cup, this was the case for one in six.

To gauge the opinions in the hockey world on this subject and to gain inspiration for a possible new form of the penalty corner, the FIH issued an online questionnaire last year. It received 4700 entries from all over the world. Roughly half of the respondents, according to the FIH, believe that the penalty corner should remain as it is. The other half believes that the penalty corner should be made safer. In addition, suggestions were made by respondents. From all submissions, the FIH has chosen one form with which it wants to experiment in the pilot.

Protective equipment behind the target. Photo: William Vernes

What are the rules of this new form of the penalty corner?

  • The ball is still taken on the backline and inside the circle. This is allowed at least ten meters from the post and on both sides of the goal.
  • The ball must no longer be stopped outside the circle, but outside the dotted line.
  • The ball must first be played into the circle before a goal can be scored.
  • The maximum number of defenders – including the keeper – remains five. Just like now, they will stand behind the back line.
  • The attacking party is free to decide how many attackers it will field. They start behind the dotted line.
  • Unlike now, the first shot on target may be directly high. The normal rules regarding dangerous play apply.

Of course, this new set-up leaves little room for a drag push. The world hockey association says it expects the attacking party to shoot directly at goal less often, but chooses to play out the surplus situation. In addition, the FIH expects defenders to be less at risk by no longer having to throw themselves directly into the path of the shot. The intention is that the need for protective equipment on the part of the defending party will eventually disappear.

Collect data

The purpose of the pilot is to collect information in order to be able to make a well-founded decision about the future of the penalty corner in the future. The FIH therefore asks participants in the pilot to keep track of how many penalty corners are converted and how often they lead to an injury. Competitions of a comparable level are also selected in which the usual penalty corner rules continue to apply and in which this data is also kept. Pending the outcome of the pilot, the world hockey association emphasizes that any rule changes will not be introduced before the Paris Olympics next season.

by Hockey.nl

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