The new rule regarding attacking free hits taken within the 5m dotted line has resulted in an amazing amount of discussion in some circles even though in practice, it's been fairly easy for the players to get a handle on. As sometimes happens, we umpires are prone to taking a more restrictive approach than the FIH intends to rules so they have released guidance for UMs to help make the intention of the new rule clear:
All players other than the player taking the free hit should be at least 5 metres from the ball. If a player is within 5 metres of the ball, they must not interfere with the taking of the free hit or must not play or attempt to play the ball. If this player is not playing the ball, attempting to play the ball or influencing play, the free hit need not be delayed.
A player within 5 metres of the ball at the taking of the free hit is not allowed to engage with play prior to the ball having travelled at least 5 metres.
However, at a free hit the ball cannot enter the circle until it has travelled at least 5 metres if the same player continues to play the ball or it has been touched by another player of either team. Defenders who are inside the circle within 5 metres of the free hit are therefore not interfering with play and may also shadow around the inside of the circle a player who takes a self-pass, provided that they do not play or attempt to play the ball or influence play until it has either travelled at least 5 metres or alternatively has been touched by another player of either team who can legitimately play the ball.
Players inside the circle who were 5 metres or more from the point of the free hit are not allowed to move and remain in a ‘set’ position within 5 metres of the ball when the free hit is taken.
For more, please download the .pdf here: Rule 13 – Attacking Free Hits within 5m of the circle – for UMs.