2019 Rule Changes

Hockey Victoria has announced the rule changes being adopted in 2019. Catch up with what you need to know.

The rules issued by the FIH are fully supported by Hockey Victoria and will be implemented in full, with modified Quarters partially adopted and implementation of Stoppage of time for Penalty corners excluded for 2019. A summary of the adopted FIH rule changes can be found below:

  • Removal of the ability to have a Player with Goalkeeping privileges
  • Defending free hits within 5 meters of the circle
  • Free hits awarded inside the defensive circle
  • Completion of a penalty corner
  • Penalties during the taking of a Penalty corner
  • Various interpretation and wording updates

Hockey Victoria have determined that the match format for the following grades will be quarters in 2019.

  • Premier League and Reserve
  • Vic League 1 and Reserve
  • Vic League 2 and Reserve
  • Vic League 3

As such the matches will be played under the following format:

  • • 17-minute quarters
  • • 2-minute ¼ and ¾ time
  • • 5-minute ½ time.

The introduction of the quarters format sees a total of 77 minutes required for match time in a 90-minute time slot. It is the clubs, coaches and players responsibility to work with appointed officials to ensure games both commence on time and return from breaks on time.


Removal of the ability to have a Player with Goalkeeping privileges 
“Kicking backs” will no longer be allowed. Teams have now two options: they either play with a goalkeeper who wears full protective equipment comprising at least headgear, leg guards, kickers and hand protectors, or they play with only field players. It is hoped that this experimental rule will enhance safety as field players will no longer have goalkeeping privileges so will not be entitled to use their body to stop shots at goal.

Defending free hits within 5m of the circle
Players other than the attacker taking the free hit must be at least five meters away, including when they are in their circle. If the attacker however chooses to take the free hit immediately, then defenders who are inside the circle and within five meters from the ball may shadow around the inside of the circle as per the explanation of the rule before 2019.

This has the advantage of not preventing the quickly taken free hit which has been widely welcomed by coaches and players, whilst maintaining the 5m rule used everywhere else on the pitch to provide space for the free hit taker.

Free hits awarded inside the defensive circle 
As in Indoor Hockey a defender may now take a free hit awarded in the circle anywhere inside the circle or up to 15 meters from the back-line in line with the location of the offence, parallel to the side-line.

Penalties during the taking of a penalty corner

If an attacker enters the circle before permitted, the player taking the push or hit from the backline is required to go beyond the centre-line :the penalty corner is taken again

Completion of a penalty corner
The option that a penalty corner is completed when the ball travels outside the circle for the second time has been removed from the rule book.


2019 FIH Rules are available here and the app is available from goole play and itunes