Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Can football learn from hockey rules?

As we look forward to a packed hockey calendar in 2017 it is good to know that for once rule changes are going to be few and far between. In recent years my routine preparation for commentary has usually had to start with a review of which set of rules or interpretations will be in force!

Arguably, too many changes have caused confusion at all levels but the FIH rule makers have been driven by the desire to make the game better to play and better to watch, and in fairness many of the innovations have hit those buttons and enhanced the experience for all.

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Total Hockey



  1. Nick, I totally agree with this article and having grown up playing both football and hockeybelige then progression in hockey is great and can only wish football would go the same way.

  2. Fully agree with all your points except one. The last one about self pass. In football they don’t have to wait for the squirt foam if they decide to take it quickly and do so before the ref shows both teams their whistle. The problem is that the offending team can interfere with any attempt at a quickly taken free kick and won’t be penalised for it. This therefore forces the delay and almost makes the ref have to signal that the restart will be on the whistle. Again football would benefit from hockey style rules about deliberate foul play and a sin bin punishment.

  3. That is a great piece Nick, and I absolutely agree with all the points you make both about how the FIH have improved hockey and how many of the changes would improve football considerably – for players, fans and TV audiences alike.

    I fully expect that hockey will continue to evolve its rules – to make our game even more fast flowing and exciting, whilst football governing bodies will drag their heels and do nothing to make their game better.

    Call me cynical if you like, but would the majority of Premiership stars actually welcome changes that made football faster, fairer and more exciting? They play a game that is constantly stop-start and often spoiled by cynical foulsor inept officating of silly rules or dominated by brute force over skill. These mega stars are however onto a ‘nice little earner thank you’ and changes that made the game faster might find too many of them out! if I was on £50-£250k a week I wouldn’t be rocking the boat!

    You have got to want change and I suspect at the highest levels footballers don’t. ‘Interchange’ (nice word for rolling subs) would make all football so much better, but the benefits at grass roots would be huge – as who would want to be the sub who stands for 8o mins every week watching only to get a 10 minute runout at the end!

    If the majority of normal footballers actually tried playing hockey they’d find out what a wholly more enjoyable, exciting experience our sport offers, but until Ashley Jackson commands the same level of wages as even a mediocre Championship footballer that aint gonna happen!

    Great article.
    Clifton Robinson HC

    (PS. I sat with you & Andy Haliday in the Commentary box at the EH Indoor finals 2 years ago)


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