Chennai:In a bid to encourage free-flowing game, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has introduced a new free hit rule on experimental basis which will come into affect from May this year.
"To decrease the number and duration of interruptions to the flow of play and to increase the length of time the ball is in active play, a 'self-pass' from a free hit has therefore been introduced. It enables the player taking the free hit to play the ball again after taking the free hit which will encourage free-flowing hockey," a FIH release said on Thursday.
The release said the revised free hit rule is being brought about to generate more interest for the spectators, but made it clear that it would be reviewed before making it a permanent feature.
"The hockey rules board of the FIH is concerned that the ball is often played hard, indiscriminately and therefore potentially dangerously into the circle from free hits in the attacking 23 metres area. In future, these free hits must not be played directly into the circle and the game should be as safe as reasonably possible', the release said.
"They are mandatory because they must be played throughout hockey; they are experimental to show that they will be reviewed after experience before deciding if they become permanent rules. When the full set of the Rules of Hockey is published, small changes to some wording and various additional notes will also added to clarify certain current rules," it added.