The FIH has just published the biennial update to the Rules of Hockey which will take effect from 1 January 2019. NB England Hockey will decide when these rules will be implemented domestically.
The biggest change is that all 11 a side hockey will now be 4 quarters of 15 minutes instead of two 35 minute halves. So for those of you who love an inspiring team talk (and who doesn’t) this will be manna from heaven.
It may also be curtains for the kicking back, as a mandatory experiment teams will only have the option of playing a goalkeeper or 11 outfield players, no more goalkeeping privileges for the kicking back.
Defensive free hits given inside the circle will now be able to be taken from anywhere inside the circle. You will still have the option to take it up to the 16 but that will still have to be in line with the offence.
Free hits within 5 metres of the D - all players must now be 5 metres from the ball when the hit is taken even if they are a defender in the D. If the hit is taken immediately thus not giving defenders time to retreat, then defenders within 5 metres may still shadow inside the D as they do now.
Completing short corners - the rule that a short corner after the end of the half was over if the ball went outside the D a second time has been deleted.
The official FIH announcement and the new rules are available on their website