Leicestershire (& Rutland) Mixed Hockey Association


    previously part of Leicestershire & Rutland Hockey Association (LRHA)

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Umpires Corner - Questions & Answers



Introduction :


 Here is a kind of umpires Q+A corner where you can to pose Questions, or even provide Answers by emailing me at the email address at the bottom. The first example came about when someone (who shall remain nameless) asked me a question and though I wouldn't say my word was gospel, the answer was my personal response. 

Margaret McLoughlin.


1.  Corners

    a) Penalty Corners

    b} Umpire Issue

2.  Penalty Strokes

3.  Balls into the Circle

4.  High Sticks & Balls

     a} General

     b) In the Goal Area

5.  Free Hits

     a) In 23m Area

     b) Near the Circle

6.  Stick Tackling

7.  Obstructing

8.  Blading 

9.  Verbal Comment/ Abuse

     a} Before a Game

     b} Calling During a Game

10. Tackling

11. Miscellaneous

     a}  Players Accidently Hit by Ball

     b)  Temporary & Permanent

          Suspension (Players and Subs) 





   Q1.  Two points if I may ask for your opinion.

     1) Penalty Corner and the injector sends the ball in. The receiver collects the ball on the the end of the stick cleanly outside of the circle. Although the butt end of the stick, due to the angle of the stick presented by the receiver, is obviously over the line and inside the circle. My understanding is that a.n. other player should not be 'in contact' within the circle. Does the fact that a stick was hovering within the circle matter?

     2) Time allowed for the taking of a penalty corner. We all know that teams can dawdle and I frequently ask teams to progress play but is there a time limit that the injector can sit posed over the ball and if there is, is that time limit?

   A1. Its just physical contact so re 1) is not an issue whatsoever, more especially as it was a clean stop outside. Keeping it simple is a mantra I often go with.  With that in mind the answer for your second question is there is no actual set limit.  Do what you can to encourage the teams to 'get on with it', and one thing you can do is stop time yourself.

I would warn first (don't time-waste please players / Captain), stop time on the second with possibly a card, and then I could sell the fact that I would 'turn the decision around' awarding a hit out as the rule states:- 9.17 Players must not delay play to gain benefit by time-wasting.  



   Q2.  In a recent game I ended up giving a penalty stroke after an attacking player was fouled in the D when she was stick tackled.  She may have got a shot in though had she not been fouled.  There were, however, defenders and the goalkeeper between the attacker and the goal.  The question I asked myself was whether the stick tackle was intentional as in rule (12.4b)?    I judged it (rightly or wrongly) that the defender had made no attempt to play the ball.  The team were adamant it was simply mistimed.  Was I right?

  A2. Rule 12.4 says that PS is awarded:

    a) for an offence by a defender in the circle which prevents the probable scoring of a goal

    b) for an intentional offence in the circle by a defender against an opponent who has possession of the ball or an opportunity to play the ball

    c) for defenders persistently crossing the back-line before permitted during the taking of a PC

 FOR ME I think about outcome of the tackle and not cause.  What was the intent of the defender?  Obviously an outrageous stick tackle is easy to see and sell as a decision to all concerned – when it is said to be have been mistimed or even lack of skill I ask myself the question was the person in the right place with the right intent and with the correct timing to have attempted the tackle in the first place? 

 IF one element is missing for me it’s a PS, but that’s at my level, what goes on week to week at county level can be judged differently – and is therefore often given only as a PC.

 One thing I would like to point out is ‘There were however defenders and the goalkeeper between the attacker and the goal’  there is nothing in the rule that should bring this into the thought process and its completely irrelevant.


   Q3.   I was telephoned by an umpire colleague asking for advice about a game situation when, on a penalty corner, a player entered the D and basically stood in front of the Goalkeeper to receive a ball in an attempt to deflect the ball into goal.

  A3. If the ball went into the goal, I would not award it and if I saw it happening would blow for an attacking foul.  Rule 9.12 - Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball.  In the advice (final section) it says: ‘A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (third part).  This also applies if an attacker runs across or blocks defenders INCLUDING the goalkeeper when a penalty corner is being taken.’

   In some games, teams will send a runner across the ball stopper in an attempt to slow down the onrushing defence.  This is also obstruction and between the umpires, if seen, needs to be penalized.


  Q4a.  I wonder if you could clarify something for me regarding the first shot at goal from a penalty corner. The rules state that if the ball would be too high (from a hit) crossing the goal line even if it is subsequently deflected off a stick or player, then it must be penalised. Each umpire I speak to seems to have a differing opinion.

Does this mean that if the first hit is high ( regardless of whether or not it crosses the goal line) it is given as a free hit to the defending team, or does it only apply if the ball crosses the goal line, in which case the goal is disallowed and a free hit given?

  A4a.  Easiest thing to do, is was soon as the ball is hit (in an attempt to score a goal – thus it must be goal bound) and you deem that its trajectory would have resulted in it crossing the goal line at a height of not more than 460mm BEFORE any deflection BLOW your whistle and give a defensive free hit.  Rule 13.3 k.  As you quite rightly surmise (and as it points out in the advice under the rules, it matters not a jot if it then deflects off anything).


  Q4b.  Following on from above:    From a short corner, if the first shot on goal at the top of the D is hit on the ground towards the left post, and the injector puts their stick in to deflect the ball on their reverse stick into the top of the net, does this goal stand or is it deemed to be above backboard height when it crosses the goal line and therefore not legal??????
  I'd appreciate some clarification on this as I had a goal disallowed for this reason, saying that as the first hit was towards the left post where I was standing, it was deemed to be a pass rather than a shot on goal (even though it came to my reverse stick and was on target - if I'd have left it, the goalie would have saved it), therefore the first shot was the deflection which was above backboard height.

  A4b.  Rule 13.3 (k) if the first shot at goal is a hit, as opposed to a push, flick or scoop, the ball must cross the goal-line or be on a path which would have resulted in it crossing the goal-line, at a height of not more than 460mm for a goal to be scored.  In your case the ball was on the ground so the height was no issue.   

         Rule 13.3 (l)  for second and subsequent hits at goal and for flicks, deflections and scoops, it is permitted to raise the ball to any height but it must not be dangerous. So we are left with the interpretation of the umpires.  It would be easy for me to say that with the depth of my experience, I allow about a foot either side of the post, re the general direction of the ball and if the ball goes there and gets deflected I would be happy to award the goal.  Other umpires may not have had the same level of input as myself and all that umpire coaching and league umpire committees can do is to try and spread our understanding.  If an umpire decides that the path was outside the area of the posts it could indeed be seen as a pass.  I would hope that if there was any doubt and a captain had correctly raised the issue to the Umpire that the umpires would discuss it and relay their decision.



    Q5.  In a recent game, I had a situation where I wasn't really sure what I should do and wondered if I could ask you advice please? 
The other umpire had awarded a short corner so I was the umpire checking that the defending team forwards were behind the half way line.  They were, but they broke before the corner was taken.  As it was, it didn't matter because the attacking team's shot at goal was 'saved' on the line by a defender's feet so they were awarded a penalty stroke.  I told the team not to break early but I wasn't sure what I should do, if they did it again?  If the short corner were then cleared, should I blow and award a retake even though it's not my circle?  Or should I just signal?  I didn't have chance to chat to the other umpire after the game because I was rushing off to play.  But I looked in the rule book, and I still wasn't sure what to do!   What would your advice be?

   A5. A good question!  You know what, I'm not ever so sure myself as its occurrence, which actually impacts the game, is rare and if it happened it would in most games probably be a play on - unless it was a huge advantage!

  Right, back to the issues. Obviously rule 13.3 h is the one in play here.  From my way of thinking the player breaking the centre line obviously is breaking the rule but if you think about the advantage rule ‘it is not necessary for every offence to be penalized when no benefit is gained by the offender’ as your first thought by having ‘a word’ was spot on. on. on. on. on.

   Next thought may be – what are they, or have they, gained by doing it?

IF the ball gets to them, having travelled more than 5 metres outside the circle direct from the injector, then the PC is over anyway, so it should not be signalled as retake.   If other players have touched the ball, then you need again to decide if they have gained an advantage, or the attacking team a disadvantage before penalizing them.  Perhaps a hit to the original attacking team where the offender gained possession of the ball may be an option?

  If its just pure breaking the line you may consider a green card.

  It could be a point of discussion with your colleague but with other more likely events that you need to cover I wouldn’t worry. 

  Certainly it's one that I will throw around my hockey circles to see what they would suggest.  If a lighting bolt of another or better answer arrives I will pass it on!


   Q6. If a team has a penalty corner and the person taking it hits it, but it is a miss hit and the ball trickles forward a short distance, does play carry on or is it a hit out to the defending team.

  A6.  You cannot self pass at a PC, so if this happened, either an attacker or defender must be the next person to play the ball.  The initial taker must stand off, and before an attempt at goal the ball must still leave the circle. 


  Q7.  When taking a penalty corner, if the taker has one foot behind the line, can  the other foot be anywhere. The reason I ask is that during a game our penalty corner injector was penalised for having one foot behind the line, and the other foot on the line.

  A7. Technically speaking the rule (13.3c) ends 'must have at least one foot outside the field of play' and as you know the line is part of the field of play so this is correct.  However the question I would be asking myself would be - Is the player gaining an advantage or the opposition a disadvantage from them doing it?  If the answer is no, I would find a time to say something to the injector (as it is a rule and therefore should be followed) but I doubt that I would feel the need to penalize it.




   Q1.  On a penalty corner, the defending team player had feet behind the line but stick clearly over the line and on the floor in field of play. I blew twice for the same offence by the same player, only to be told by the other umpire that in fact I was wrong to penalise this player, also no advantage can be played to the attacking team if a player from the defending team breaks the line prior to the ball coming into play. I have looked at EHA rules and find no directive on this. Could you advise.

    A1.  Ummm that scenario is a thought provoker.  First bit - You are talking about rule 13.3 F/H (page 30) where no one except the injector may have contact point inside the circle including the lines.  (Again not stated but can include holding onto the goal posts to extra leverage out as front face of post is contact with line and therefore is ‘in field’). 

My thoughts are probably the same as yours - tell them first, warn them on the second occasion that it’s the same as 12.4c and that they could face a Penalty Stroke, and if they don’t react to that green then on 4thth occasion yellow with the PS (as I am sure that would constitute persistently.  Hopefully it wouldn’t get to that but no where in the rules does it say that they have to be shown to be getting an advantage nor the other team a disadvantage but that’s left with the umpire to manage.

  Second part of the answer is (1) - I refer you to the answer above if persistent and (2) – I think this is where someone has heard about the decision made at National League and higher regional leagues Umpiring circles. 

Coaches told us that PC routines are so precise that they wanted a reset rather than advantage.  I would ask that umpires use their own experience and judgment dependent on the standard of the game.  Reset or allow the advantage can depend on different factors like the amount of disruption caused by the defender.  It’s important therefore that umpires agree before the game as to what their tolerance level is and tell the captains before the game starts.

  In the same area it could be an attacker breaking into the circle, what could you do and how should you deal with it as an umpiring team? 



  Q2.  At a short corner, where the ball doesn’t leave the circle when can / should an umpire intervene?

  A2.  Because the rules book doesn’t give a perfect answer for this, it is something that continue to cause confusion. Most importantly, purely because it doesn’t leave the circle, umpires should not immediately blow.  IF a goal is scored – then it’s NO GOAL as it failed to fulfil the requirement of the PC rule:

   13.3 j a goal cannot be scored until the ball has travelled outside the circle

       If there is a first strike and it hits a defender above 460mm is a free hit defence,

       If the ball hits a defender below 460mm it's a new P.C.

       If the ball deflects off a defenders stick and goes over the back line (or indeed into the goal) it’s a corner.

     Simple huh!



   Q1.  I’ve heard different stories about things that can and cannot happen when a penalty stroke is given.  Can you help?

      a. If a defending team at a Penalty Stroke is using field players only are they permitted to bring on a full kitted Goalie?

   A1a. YES THEY CAN. This is also the case if they were only using a person with Goal keeping privileges

      b. Is it true that anyone can take it?

   A1b. It can be a Goal keeper (who may only remove gauntlets and head gear only) or ANY player in the starting 16 UNLESS at the time they are subject to a yellow card suspension. 


   Q2.  The situation is this:  At the award of a penalty flick, can a player substitute themselves on to take the flick?  It is something that has happened a few times, and whilst we know that the only time you can't make a substitution is a penalty corner, this still seemed to be fundamentally wrong?

  A2. The answer is yes (providing that the player concerned is one of 16 in the original squad and at that time is not subject to a personal penalty i.e. off on a yellow card).  Its page 11 in section 2 Composition of teams point 2.3a in short - The only time a sub cannot take the field is for the award of a Penalty Corner  (but an injured player can come off) except during this period substitution is only permitted for injury to or suspension of the defending goal keeper.  Again if it’s a suspension of the GK – the offending team must only have 10 players.



  Q1.  At a recent Midland Members meeting one area of confusion was discussed about ‘Where was the free hit to be taken from after the ball went straight into the circle from a free hit inside the 23m area.’

  A1. The most up to date info is:- that the free hit should be taken from where the first free hit was taken and NOT where it crossed into the circle.  This would appear to be a strange interpretation but it is likened to the ball going aerial and causing immediate danger when dropping into a crowd of players – same thing, free hit would be from the place the ball went up.   I hope this helps avoid confusion and allows all umpires to advise the teams consistently – certainly I had to make the change.


  Q2.  I have a query as several experienced umpires seem to have differing opinions as to which is the correct position for taking free hits after an offence. In the 23, a hit is awarded to the attack. If they take it and the ball goes straight into the circle before travelling the 5 m, is the defensive hit from where the ball was initially struck or from where the ball entered the circle ?
  A2.  Yes I’m sure there may well be some confusion out there so for all the readers - ITS WHERE THE HIT WAS TAKEN FROM.

           The confusion has arisen due to an initial interpretation that was then updated to the above. 


  Q3.  Nowadays it is quite permissable to raise the ball into the circle, subject to danger, therefore, it follows that an aerial can be "thrown" into the circle.  Rule 9.10 states that the initial receiver (as judged by the umpire) is entitled to 5 metres of space to control a falling raised ball. The scenario I had was this:-

    An aerial ball was thrown from around the half way line into the circle.  The player who I believed would receive the ball was the attacker, however at the time the aerial was thrown, a defender was marking him and continued to do so.  Therefore, the defender had not approached within 5 metres of the attacker as he was already there, and in any case the defender may well have felt that he was the recipient.  I gave a free hit to the defence, from the point where the aerial was thrown, on the grounds of danger (Rule 9.8), although I wasn't convinced I'd made the correct decision.  The attacker wanted a PC as he felt the onus was on the defender to retreat 5 metres.  I "sold" my decision nevertheless, but I'd like your thoughts on the matter, please.

  A3.  The key words you have in your scenario I have underlined (and marked in red)

  You are spot on with the fact that is 9.8.  Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to danger. 

As an umpire, you need to make an instant decision and if where you project the ball will travel through and two there is more than one player within a 5 metre zone my decisions would be that its always likely to cause danger.  It eliminates them both wanting to play at the ball – hence causing danger.




  Q1. Some Explanation of "High Sticks", "Raised Ball", "Dangerous Ball" etc.

  A1.  The rules say:

      9.7 Players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height except that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height.

      9.8 Players must not play the ball dangerously or in a way which leads to dangerous play.

         A ball is considered dangerous when it causes legitimate evasive action by players.

        The penalty is awarded where the action causing the danger took place.

  9.10 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 judgment for the height is for the umpire and I know that Nationally (following International trends) what shoulder height is, is blurry to say the least.  Height, danger (of course) and intention are all part of the thought process.  Also the skill and understanding of players, so its really a decision by decision process.  I still say to candidates, keep it simple, if its an ‘up periscope’ its too high.  If it’s a genuine attempt to receive and play and its not dangerous – jumping to get higher etc, then make a decision and whatever it is SELL IT to all the players.  

A query came back to me earlier this week that said ‘ Some umpires on the circuit seem to think it is an immediate yellow card’.

  Nowhere in the rules book does it say 'Yellow card'.  For me there should be a penalty, as hockey is not played with sticks above head height.  Up periscope in my example and completely missing the ball, is a strong warning (and if the game context its needed perhaps a green card). Two things there, it sends a message to the whole team and takes a bit of time out of the game for people to re-focus.

Up periscope and it stops the ball but doesn’t disadvantage anyone GREEN card, and yes, you guessed it, if the ball is stopped and team disadvantaged, YELLOW.

 I had a game a couple of weeks ago when a girl did exactly that (no real disadvantage) she was horrified at herself, the game had previously only had one green, a strong word, a smile and a shake of the head was all that was required.



   Q1. I have two questions both regarding balls lifted or in the air around the goal.  The first question is regarding the defenders ability to stop the ball by raising their stick when the ball is lifted at the goal.  It has been suggested to me by some umpires that only a player on the line or the player closest to the line can lift their stick as otherwise it is classed as dangerous, is this the case?

 The second, when a ball is dropping close to the goal, heading away from the line, how high can a player lift their stick to hit the ball at goal and does it have to be at a certain angle?  The confusion here lies in people watching hockey on the TV and seeing people knock balls into the goals with their sticks quite high.

  A1.  Good questions and as ever not clear cut and it entirely depends on how you, the umpire, sees it at the time! 

Rule 9.7 states that players must not play the ball with the stick when the ball is above shoulder height EXCEPT that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height.  In the guidance it goes on to say ‘When saving a shot at goal, a defender must not be penalized if their stick is not motionless, or traveling towards the ball while attempting to stop or deflect the shot.  Only if the ball is genuinely hit while above shoulder height and a goal is prevented should a penalty stroke be awarded.’ etc… and finishes ‘IF dangerous play results after a legitimate stop or deflection, a penalty corner must be awarded’.  Does that fact that there are two defenders make it any more or less dangerous?  For me that’s the only point you need to consider – danger.

        The answer to your second question is contained in the first in that ‘that players must not play the ball with the stick when the ball is above shoulder height EXCEPT that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height’.  Yes I am sure that very skilful internationals umpired by very experienced umpire colleagues can seem to do things we don’t usually accept.  There is a very slight margin for each umpire to make a good decision.  Basically what I call an ‘up periscope’ is absolutely wrong and easy to spot, but a play reaching out with half the head just above the shoulder line, is it above or not????  Again the old standby for me is what the player doing dangerous or likely to lead to danger??

        This are purely my own views, and possibly do not give you an exact answer.  Call it as you see it at the time.  If needs be, stop time and have a chat with your colleague, but what ever you do remain consistent throughout the game.



a) IN THE 23m AREA

  Q1.  One question please, it’s around the taking of a defensive free hit in the 23m area.  For any foul, or 16, I will generally allow the teams to take the hit anywhere from the backline to the 16 line, perpendicular with the offence.   i.e. if you are fouled on the penalty spot I’d let the defence take the hit from there to the 16 yard line at top-centre D. A number of umpires have different answers, and one said that unless they move it up to the 16 it is a foul, and if they take the hit from inside their D it will be a short corner?  I know the aim of the rule is to stop the hit being taken from anywhere inside the D but the above seems wrong to me?

  A1.  I think this stems from a badly worded advanced notice on the rule changes that arrived before the rules books got published. 

   Rule 13.1.d: “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” is deleted. 


  Q2. Please can you clear some thing up for me please…  On a attacking Free Hit within the 23, I understand that the Ball cannot be played straight in to the defense's D.  Now reading the latest note from EH it say that the Ball if played as a self pass must travel a total distance of 5m in any direction before being played in to the D. Again it follows to say:- or unless it is played by another player. OK now please help, so if I stand over the ball in the 23 ready to play this and self pass and move half a metre then roll the ball back roughly half a metre to a player that started 5m behind me can they just hit first time in to the D? as my team keep getting blown for this and the guidance I have read says that this is allowed!  

  A2a. YES its perfectly legal and correct.

 Also if I self pass is that the free hit over?
A2b. Technically the free hit is given for the offence, as long as the taker takes it legally it’s a mute point.

 For a self pass I don't have to play it a metre before another one of my players can touch this?
   A2c. NO your team mates can also be within 5 metres (unless its in the attacking 23)



b) NEAR THE CIRCLE (and 5m broken line)

   Q1: I am receiving a number of enquiries and specifically whether the free hit can be taken within 5m of the circle.

   A1. The answer is ‘no it cannot’. If it is awarded within 5 of the circle it is to be taken back to a point that is 5m from the edge. This leads us nicely onto “should all pitches be marked with the 5m broken line now?"

The answer to that one is this - England Hockey requires all NEW or RE-SURFACED pitches to have the 5m broken line. Additionally they require all EHL venues to have the 5m broken line and lastly, they require all venues hosting national programme or single system activity (excluding club/school links) to have the 5m broken line.



   Q1.  Is a stick tackle (not made on purpose)  a yellow card offence?

  A1.  Your question, although short, is not answered so quickly.  If in a game a player purposefully smashes the stick of an opponent without any intention of playing the ball it would be a YES. 

 During a game it is expected that whilst trying to hit the ball that sticks will knock into each other – sometimes this will be AFTER the ball has been dispatched and thus is not an offence.  As umpires we know this will be the case, so if its fairly minor we play on.  When / if it becomes repeated and it unfairly disadvantages the ball carrier, or gives the tackler an unfair advantage then we need to take action.  I usually start with a longer / stronger whistle and say ‘watch those stick tackles please’.  If the same side infringes again, then I would move to a green card, and if it happens again – even though it may not be the same player then you could go to yellow.  Try to treat both teams equally, so if team A has been the main offender and they have had a yellow, and it’s the first time team B has done it they should start with green.



   Q1.  Ball through legs - my question is quite straight forward and I’ve asked a few club members regarding this manoeuvre that I do in training but have never got a straight answer: when being jockeyed by a defender is it a legal move to push the ball back through you own legs to cut round his reverse side?

  A1. I can understand the reason why it may not be a straight answer. Below is part of rule 9.12

           9.12 Players must not obstruct an opponent who is attempting to play the ball.

                  Players obstruct if they :     – back into an opponent

                                                             – physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent

                                                             – shield the ball from a legitimate tackle with their stick or any part of their body.

What you do and when you do it will call the umpires into making a decision as it may be deemed that by putting the ball through your legs you are using your body to shield. To get the benefit of this decision the defender needs to be within playing distance of the ball – how far they can stretch out with their stick.



   Q1.  I was wondering whether there was anything in the rule book about "blading". I'd never heard of it before, but I have been blown up for it twice in two consecutive games, and I wondered whether it was a new rule?

  A1.  The word blading was introduced about 5 years ago and refers to the hitting of the ball HARD on the forehand leading edge of the stick. This type of hitting was stopped by the FIH as dangerous. It was found as the shaped back of the stick leads to the likelihood of the ball raising was far greater. To turn the flat part of the stick to the floor and hitting on the ‘back hand’ is still permitted. You may be skilled, others are not so, I hope this clears it up for you.

 PS. Rule Book - Conduct of Play: Players

 9.6 Players must not hit the ball hard on the forehand with the edge of the stick. This does not prohibit use of the edge of the stick on the forehand in a controlled  action in a tackle, when raising the ball in a controlled way over an opponent’s stick or over a goalkeeper or player with goalkeeping privileges who is lying on the ground or when using a long pushing motion along the ground. The use of the edge of the stick on the backhand has developed as a technical skill and is permitted subject to danger.




  Q1. Apart from reporting players to the appropriate association/executive committee, can an umpire do anything "official" if a player says something inappropriate and/or abusive (even if in jest) BEFORE a game has started.

  A1. This is a match day misconduct offence (MMO) and action can be taken by an umpire who must be minimum L1. 

  An MMO is committed when at any time during the day of a match, but excluding the time from the start to the end of the match, a person due to participate or who has participated in the match misconducts himself in such a way that one of the match umpires decides (a) would have warranted the issue of a Red Card had such misconduct occurred during the match, and (b) is to be reported as an MMO, and the umpire so informs the offender on the day of the match.

  As soon as reasonably practicable after the umpire has decided to report an MMO the umpire shall inform the offender that the offender’s misconduct is to be reported as an MMO. In so far as is reasonably possible, the umpire shall also inform a representative of the affiliated body for which the offender is to participate or has participated on the day of the relevant match that the offender’s

misconduct is to be reported as an MMO.

  A non-registered umpire is not entitled to report an MMO BUT, in the event of an unregistered umpire being of the opinion that there has been misconduct that ought to be reported as an MMO, the umpire may, subject to the Disrepute Offence Regulations, make a Disrepute Complaint in respect of such misconduct.  



    Q1.  I have a question regarding calling for the ball.  In football, any sort of 'false calling', where you are trying to gain an advantage by distracting the person with the ball vocally, is penalised.  I've looked through the rule book, and I cant find any instance of this being mentioned.  Is this any sort of infringement in hockey as well?

    A1. I have never come across this, so this is something I have had a real think about.  Its just plain un-sportsmanship, I would probably tell the player verbally to cut it out, and if necessary have a word with the captain.  As the umpire is responsible to prevent danger, I would be tended to think it could and would have no problem in issuing a card if they didn’t stop doing it.



   Q1.  I was umpiring a game the other day and was not sure what to do about a particular player. The player was a competent defender and made tackles fine, however on more than one occasion, after tackling, they ended up lying face down on the pitch. The problem I had was that this occurred in the D - when on the floor he did not make any direct interference with play or attempt to play the ball, however lying on the floor did cause a danger risk.  The other players felt unable to play the ball in fear of injuring them. What would be the right decision to make (I warned the player to try and stay on their feet, with no effect)?

   A1. One of any umpires key roles is to prevent danger, if a player accidentally goes to ground and the ball is in the immediate vicinity stop the game.  If no foul has been awarded you can re start with a bully.  I would hope that if one team has been disadvantaged that sportsmanship may prevail….. 

The difficulty about it happening in the circle is always that there are more players and more likely danger.  Again if accidental and no foul has occurred bully 5 metres away from edge of D, if deliberate and done by defender.  P.C, if done by an attacker 15 metre hit out. 

Certainly I would be having a quick word with the player about the danger element as you did.  If it is repeated by a player, go for a personal penalty (card).  This could be green or yellow depending on the game situation / impact of them going to ground.  It should be viewed as ‘breaking down of play’ which must always be penalized.


   Q2.  Last week an umpire blew me up for tackling from the wrong side. Okay I was behind the player but thought it was alright as I didn’t touch him..

A2.  Strictly speaking there is no offence of tackling from the back or the wrong side and it up to the umpire to make a judgment using rules:

     9.12 – Players obstruct if they ….  - physically interfere with the stick or body of an opponent – i.e. stick tackling - making contact with the stick first / bodily contact

     9.13 - ‘Players must not tackle unless in a position to play the ball without body contact.’  Obviously the onus is upon the tackler to be the correct Position, to show Intent to tackle and Time the tackle correctly (know as PIT).  If the tackler gets any of these wrong obstruction is very likely to occur

  For umpires I would suggest that we avoid the phrase ‘the wrong side’ and describe what we saw (Stickle tackle, obstruction, contact).

  On the other side of the coin the possessor may shield the ball with the stick or body UNTIL a tackler attempts to get the ball.  If the timing of the tackle is right and the possessor of the ball is still shielding the obstruction will occur giving the tackler a free hit.  The usual example I use for this is those one armed players to end up pulling the ball behind them just at the point where they meet the first tackler……




   Q1.  A local lower division mixed league match, hit outside the D to the attacking team. Hit is not cleanly struck, the ball spins, bobbles, bounces forward a metre and then jumps up at the closest defender standing inside the D. The defender has turned their back and the ball hits them on the backside ! I blow - the attackers want a Penalty Corner, the defenders a hit for "dangerous" play - what should my decision be ? It didn't appear dangerous to me and was not deliberately raised.


  My thoughts in are that:-  

  • A free hit must not be raised intentionally - cannot say this appears to have been the case.

  • Opponents must be 5 metres away and if he had not turned his back he could have probably played it with his stick (Rule 9.9 therefore fits this brilliantly –... ‘It is not an offence to raise the ball unintentionally from a hit, including a free hit unless its dangerous’… third part ‘if an opponent is clearly running into the shot, or into the attacker WITHOUT ATTEMPTING to play the ball with their stick fits neatly as well

 So my decision would be tough to the defender, a  Penalty Corner the same as you.  Is there an alternative??


Free hit defence – NO because of rule 9.9 and your interpretation of the actual events which you may wish to speak to the captain about if asked reasonably.

BULLY outside the circle – simultaneous offence?  Again up to you to sell the decision to both teams

Doesn’t matter for me at what level this occurred, it could occur anywhere.  First consideration is always DANGER, and by turning his back from the outset he caused the danger




   Q1.  I am confused when reading rule 14 regarding Personal Penalties.

  A1. Anyone reading rule 14 on its own (in either the outdoor or the indoor rules) should remember that the definition of a player is “One of the participants in a team”, and that the definition of a Team covers the players on the pitch and substitutes.
Rule 14.1 makes it clear that any player can be cautioned, warned, temporarily suspended or permanently suspended.  As the term “player” refers to players on the pitch and to substitutes, all these actions can be taken with a substitute in exactly the same way as for a player on the pitch...
Rule 14.1 (c) and 14.1 (d) also make it clear that if any player is suspended, whether temporarily (yellow card) or permanently (red card), the affected team plays with one less player for the duration of the suspension.  This applies equally whether the player being suspended happened to be on the pitch or happened to be a substitute at the time of the suspension.

confused when reading rule 14 regarding Personal Penalties.


  Q2.  Where do I send a player receiving a yellow card?

  A2.  At a recent L1 course I ended up in quite a debate over the above matter. A combination of horror stories came to the fore (player not allowed to take a drink or a warm top / player allowed back onto the field as their team were attacking and thus, unmarked, play a vital role in scoring a goal etc.) Apart from the rules that the temporarily suspended player must remain in a designated place etc, it has never really been satisfactorily concluded where this is.  Please find an aide memoir for ALL umpires, which should be brought to the attention of all teams. Please try to find a neutral time to bring the suspended player back on, even if this means stopping time for a few short moments!



  m.mcloughlin300@btinternet.com   07712779295

confused when reading rule 14 regarding Personal Penalties.

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