International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Sunday said there would be a rule change concerning penalty corners to ensure the safety of the defenders. Penalty Corners in Hockey have been a threat to the defenders causing many injuries in the past.
Tayyab Ikram, World Body’s President said that there would be a change in the rules of a penalty corner. He also said that the rule change would ensure that the defenders “get more time to react”. However, there isn’t any clarity about what changes are to be made. But he stated that the regulation on free hits inside the 23m region is one of the instances they are considering.
In 2016, FIH (International Hockey Federation) made a rule. The rule states: “the attacking team cannot play the ball into the circle until it has traveled at least five meters or been touched by a defending player.” This was done to eliminate the direct shots taken into the “D” with lots of defenders.
The high-risk shot in Hockey
Drag flicks have raised questions about the safety of penalty corners. In Drag flicks, an attacker quickly gathers the ball just outside the “D,” pulls it in the circle, and flicks it in one of the four corners of the goal. The flicks have a maximum speed of 150kmph and may be released up to 12m from the goal. Research in 2022 showed that penalty corners resulted in 13.9 percent of the overall injuries (49 out of 352).
“We try to have an essential one or two touch before you enter a circle (because) those smashing shots in a very congested circle were a danger for us,” Ikram said. “We just allowed one or two touches before you came into (the ‘D’) and that provided (defenders the time to adjust) – if the person is on the wrong foot, he can come on the front foot, his vision is clear… so that solved 75 percent of his safety situation. So that helps us a little bit. We are taking that example for penalty corners.”
“The priority for us is athletes’ safety,” Ikram said. “We are going to start some experiments on that and it is particularly on the safety issue.”
“The main thing is the high intensity and the speed of the ball (from drag-flicks). That’s something which we are seeing how best we can… we are not going to reduce speed but better provide a little bit more time for defenders to react.”