Lausanne: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) on Thursday introduced major changes to the structure of the sport including reducing the 70-minute game to 60 minutes comprising four 15-minute quarters instead of two 35-minute halves. The changes will come into effect from September 1.
After the first and third quarters there will be a two-minute break while the existing 10-minute halftime will remain unchanged. The four-quarter model has been tried and implemented by both the Euro Hockey League and the Hockey India League.
The FIH Executive Board took the decision following the formats of basketball, American football and netball. The world body explained in a release that the purpose of the changes is to improve the flow and intensity of hockey, increase fan experience and provide more time for game presentation and analysis.
Hockey teams will now get special time-out to celebrate scoring a goal. File Pic
Other major changes include the implementation of 40-second time-outs following penalty corners and a goal. Both stoppages ensure that match time is maximised for actual play and not consumed with penalty corner set-ups or other dead time when the ball is not in play.
“The decision demonstrates our commitment to fan engagement. With the additional breaks, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy more replays and be more engaged with the event, whether in the stadium or watching from far," FIH president Leandro Negre said.
"Hockey commentators will be allowed more time to provide analysis between plays. In addition, coaches and players will see improvement in their performance with the additional opportunities to re-hydrate and re-strategise.”
The FIH, which took the decision today in its Executive Board in Lausanne, said that the change will improve the flow and intensity of the game and increase the fan experience and opportunity for game presentation and analysis.
"Following the already-existing formats of several other sports such as basketball, American football and netball, the FIH Executive Board has decided to move hockey into a four-quarter format," the FIH said in a statement.
The new regulations will come into force from September 1 and thus will not be implemented in the Hockey World Cup to be held in The Hague (the Netherlands) from May 31 to June 15.
"The new regulations will be applied to the upcoming Champions Trophy, World League Round 2, World League Semi-Final and Final, all continental Olympic qualifying events as of 1 September 2014 as well as the Rio 2016 Olympic Games," the FIH said.
A 40-second time-out will be implemented when a penalty corner is awarded or when a goal has been scored. Both time-outs allow for on-field team celebration time, video replays and analysis for televised matches, as well as additional opportunities to engage fans.
The time-outs will ensure that the new 60-minute format is primarily actual playing time and eliminates the dead time associated with penalty corner set up while allowing for teams to enjoy their goal celebrations.