At a meeting in Lousane, FIH decided to revitalize Hockey as per the modern need. Hockey will now be a 60 minute game, separated in 4 quarters. Each quarter will be played for the duration of 15 minutes each. After the first and third quarter, each team will get break of 2 minutes. Rule of 10 minute break at the half time has remained untouched.
There are some more changes in the rule book. After each Penalty corner, 40 seconds will be allotted as a time out. If PC is re-awarded then in that case, team will be given some time to readjust the players. There is a provision of Green card for taking more than 40 seconds in taking the Penalty corner. It means the guilty will have to warm bench for 2 minutes. If goalkeeper does so, then instead of him, a defender will bear the burden of the card. After every goal, 40 seconds will be awarded as the time out.
Surely both the rules (pertaining to 40 seconds) will release fresh air in the teams. Teams will make suitable strategy for PC and involve themselves in goal celebration more freely.
Quite recently, Hockey was about to face the axe from the Olympic Calendar. Reasons that went out of it’s favour were lack of spectators and stale formats. Despite of all the efforts, game of Hockey was lagging behind other games in fetching number of eyeballs and sponsors.
New format will give more space for advertisers to push their ad. In the timeout and breaks, they can air it. Spectators will get a respite in otherwise speedy game. For TV crew, additional time will be available to analyze the game.
The first tournament to be played with almost similar rules was Premier Hockey League of India. The tournament is defunct now. Presently, Hockey India League and European Hockey League are played with almost the same rules.
Most of the Hockey pundits, coaches and players have said that game will get profit from these rules. Coaches are happy that now they will be able to give more time for the teams. Sponsors are seeing it a window of return of their ad. TRP will surely increase. Players will get more breathing space in fast Hockey. Most importantly, actual time will not be curtailed. At the end of the game, actual time spent by the teams will be close to 70 minutes.
These rules are not coming to effect immediately. Champions trophy, The World League Round 2(semi final-final), all the continental Olympic qualifying events and Rio Olympic 2016 will be played under these guidelines.
Most of the games struggle in making a balance between spectators and advertisers demand. New format will do justice to both the parties. Money and TRP were not a big issue in the past. But time has changed. Just like air and water, these are now the most essential aspects for the survival of a game. There are plenty of lovers of Hockey around the world. Surely in this ‘Avatar’, Hockey will go ahead to many of it’s rivals.