Kill the own goal rule ! Please !
Osaka, the newest brand shaking things up in the hockey market, wrote it on it’s new T-shirt line “If #hockey was easy, they’d call it football” . A bold statement some might say. But most likely you’ll support it if you have experienced hockey… However the latest change in rules, the so called “own goal” rule undermines this IMHO…
I think all of us in the hockey family would agree the recent rule changes have made our sport more exciting, both for players and supporters. It is one of the distinct advantages our sport can be proud of. The ability to reinvent ourselves step by step, little by little. Keeping up with the fast-paced world. A feature so cruelly lacking in the world’s most popular sport football… Some of these rule changes that had a major impact on our sport were:
- The cancellation of the off-side rule, allowing teams a choice between playing more compact or spread out and a greater variety in tactics.
- The introduction of substitutions without limitations to add even more energy to the game.
- The self pass allowing for even more speed and less interruptions.
However not all rule changes were equally well received. The reception of the high ball, although not that complicated, is not being judged consistently by referees already in trouble of following a high speed game. And therefore is not only frustrating for the players but hard to follow even for the experienced hockey supporters. But by far the most disputed rule change is the one from the “own goal rule”. It has always been a crucial part of our game that a touch within the “circle” by an attacker is mandatory to count the goal. The new so-called “own goal” rule changed that fact to the ball needing to be touched in the circle, it doesn’t matter anymore if this is an attacker or a defender. A small change maybe but it makes a big difference on the pitch.
A reason often stated in favor of the new rule, allowing for own goals, is that it would make it easier for spectators not used to the sport to understand the game.
The major reason against would be it making the sport more dangerous again. Another and somewhat disputed rule change from some years ago intended to prevent free hits near the circle to be hit very hard directly into the circle towards a group of players hoping for a touch. They even created new markings on our pitch for this (the dotted line 5 meter from each circle) so free hits would not be drilled in anymore. Main reason for this was making it less dangerous. The own goal rule has exactly the opposite effect. From almost every game situation it is an invitation to fierce hits into the circle, preferably aimed at a group of players and as hard as you can hoping for a bad control from whomever, deflecting the ball into the net at lightning speed. No one will dispute it creates dangerous situations…
I understand the need to make our sport more “media-friendly” and am not opposed to sometimes trying out something new, even if it’s seem to change the essence of our sport at first glance. However… once it is clear it is not a good rule it should be back to normal as soon as possible. I have not met a top coach who agrees this own goal rule is a good one and as for the players themselves? Well nothing illustrates it better than this one tweet from a recognized top player (5 times best player of the world) :
I hate the own goal rule in hockey and I'm sure over 80% of international players don't like it. @FIH_Hockey @MoritzFuerste @knowlesy09
— Jamie Dwyer (@JamieDwyer01) May 8, 2013
Not all changes work out for the best. If people from outside of hockey don’t understand the simple rule that a ball has to be touched by an attacker in the circle to score a goal… well frankly that’s their problem. I have never understood the game of cricket and still it’s thriving in the world. Golf is a game full of quaint little rules but still one of he fastest growing sports all over the world. If you’re interested in our fast paced game, well make the effort and learn some of the basics to enjoy the game.
Back to normal : “Kill the own goal rule! Please!”
The World Ranking is a joke
Let’s start by congratulating Belgium for their amazing progress resulting in a well earned silver at the Rio Games in 2016 and a first gold medal at the most recent World Cup. The secret to their success is a simple formula : a stronger domestic league + an ambitious long term plan/vision not just on […]
Jason McCracken & Marc Coudron : the future of hockey
Mar 27, 2017 •
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** A very special edition for Hockey5.TV aired live on 2017-03-27. Instead of top players we had a talk with two top administrators for our game of hockey. Jason McCracken is the newly appointed CEO of the FIH, the international hockey federation. Marc Coudron is the…
The future of hockey
Mar 27, 2017 • 00:44:13
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** We discuss the future of hockey with Jason McCracken, CEO for the FIH and Marc Coudron, president of the Belgian hockey federation and board member at the FIH. We talk about the new event the FIH will launch for 2019, the impact of this on…
Manu Stockbroeckx over Bloemendaal en de Red Lions
Oct 10, 2017 • 00:42:12
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Onze wekelijkse talkshow heeft deze week Manu Stockbroeckx te gast, net gekwalificeerd voor de #KO16 van de #EHL vorig weekend met zijn club Bloemendaal. Presentators Floris Geerts & Ernst Baart. Ook te zien op video : https://studiohockey.com/video/hockey5tv/manu-stockbroeckx/
Xavier Reckinger over de start van seizoen 2017-2018
Oct 2, 2017 • 00:40:24
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Bij de start van het nieuwe seizoen 2017-2018 praten we met Xavier Reckinger over zijn nieuwe carrière als coach bij Racing, over de start van het seizoen in België, de aankomende EHL en de transitie van speler naar coach. Met als vanouds Floris Geerts als…
Robert van der Horst about EHL and more
May 8, 2017 • 00:30:09
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Robert van der Horst from HC Oranje-Rood talks about the EHL and the upcoming Final 4 for them. Mats Grambüsch from HC Rot Weiss Köln was supposed to join in but had some technical difficulties. Presentation by Floris Geerts and Ernst Baart. Also available on…
Monologue: The end of hockey...
Jul 5, 2018 • 00:12:19
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Monologue by Ernst Baart on the so called “end of hockey”… or at least the end of hockey as we know it. Read all about it at be-hockey.com, as well as the answer from Thierry Weil, CEO at the FIH.
Simon Letchford about play off and EHL with Racing
May 15, 2017 • 00:36:55
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** English born coach Simon Letchford talks about the end of his last season at the helm of Racing, the play off, the EHL and his move to the coaching staff of the Red Panthers, the national women’s team of Belgium.
Xavier Reckinger en Tommy Willems
Apr 10, 2017 • 00:28:05
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Xavier Reckinger haalt met Herakles de play off en Tommy Willems kreeg met Leuven een pak slaag van de ploeg van zijn vader. Presentatie in handen van Floris Geerts en Ernst Baart.
Thomas Briels en Amaury Keusters
Mar 20, 2017 • 00:41:48
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Briels van Dragons en Keusters van Herakles praten bij over de Belgische competitie en de Red Lions… Presentator van dienst is Floris Geerts, bijgestaan door Ernst Baart.
Cédric Charlier and Florent Van Aubel
Apr 3, 2017 • 00:40:25
**Estimated reading time: 4 minutes** Charlier from Racing and Van Aubel talk about their competition games and the Red Lions. Hosted by Floris Geerts and Ernst Baart. Talk held in the French language.
As predicted! Now what?
Today the administrators from 126 hockey countries (14 could not even be bothered) around the world voted in Tayyab Ikram as president of the FIH. As predicted…
The reason is simple. The FIH has 140 members (= countries with national associations or NA). Each NA has 1 vote in the elections. Regardless if you represent an NA with no playing members (as in zero… yes these exist I’m told) or one with +100K members, it’s 1 vote per NA.
At the moment we are lacking severely in transparency and accountability. Representatives of the NA’s can not be held accountable for their vote because of secret voting. The secrecy of a vote is sacred when it comes to elections by individuals. However it is a sacrilege when it comes to people voting on behalf of others (people they represent) in my opinion.
My rough estimate is some 20 of these NA’s actually have a healthy population of hockey players and in total maybe 40 also support the philosophy represented by Coudron, with a priority on growing the number of players. This means some 100 or so NA’s in my opinion exist mainly to support their administration and make sure they continue to receive money from the government and the Olympic movement. The latter are more likely to support Ikram who will try and get them their funds from national Olympic associations, without really asking them to commit to the difficult task of growing the number of players in their country.As written 2 months before this election in “A clash of cultures”
The vote was 79 vs 47 in favour of Ikram…
So now we know the why, the how and the what with regards to this election. We’re left with “what next”
In my belief the FIH will become even less the international federation of hockey and even more the federation of international hockey. So more stress for domestic hockey as we know it.
It means in order to please the source of all money, the IOC, the FIH will pick the game of Hockey5s over the existing format.
In Europe the club culture focussed on recreational sport for family & friends will slowly wither and be replaced by commercial entities selling subscriptions so people can play whenever they want and whoever they want. Members become clients. In the same way you will book a round of golf, a game of padel or a group session of whatever fitness hype in your local gym. Only team sports who can establish themselves as a business will survive. Hockey will have a difficult time in the shadow of bigger sports. Football will remain the exception because that sport has been to the people in power what “panem et circenses” was to the rulers in ancient Rome. But whatever our administrators try to sell us, hockey is not a big sport in the world. Pretending to be among the big boys will get you hurt eventually…
Whatever comes next, whatever the direction hockey will take. For me, we left behind some true values I believe in. So I will step back. Maybe for now, maybe for good. We’ll see where these folks take us…
The end of hockey?
In 2018 I wrote a column with the title “The end of hockey“.
The end of hockey is getting near… Or at least the end of hockey as we know it.Opening line from my column in 2018
Today our sport took another step into that direction in my belief. There will still be an FIH and the name of hockey will still be listed as an Olympic sport (maybe). Most likely though, not the game I will recognise or love… So even if the end of hockey is a bit melodramatic, it will probably be the end of studiohockey.com talking about this particular topic in the hope of avoiding what I predicted.