The FIH has confirmed a rule amendment to attacking Free Hits within the 23 metres area.
Following the amendment, the Rule now states that at all attacking Free Hits within the 23 metres area, the ball cannot be played into the circle until it has travelled at least five metres or been touched by a defending player.This amendment removes the possibility for the attacker to touch the free hit for a teammate to run on to and play the ball into the circle.One additional piece of guidance has also been added in relation to the amendment. Following a time stoppage after the award of an attacking free hit inside the 23 metres area, upon the re-start, all players other than the player taking the free hit must be at least five metres from the ball.Other than the above, the Rule and its interpretation remains exactly the same as before. The proposed adjustment is not seen as a major variance to the Rule, but a sensible clarification to avoid unfair and potentially dangerous play.
Hockey Ireland will adopt this Rule adjustment from Monday 22 February 2016.