Perplexed by proclamations on protective pieces on penalty corners and penalty strokes? Procure peace with this #RuleyTuesday!
Players propelling protectives on the pitch post PCs. We’re going all alliterative on this episode of Ruley Tuesday! Let’s do this.
Hey third team friends! I’m Keely Dunn of FHumpires with another Ruley Tuesday, a hot take on one rule in the book.
I'm not going to lie: there are way more than just one rule involved today, but that's what makes umpiring fun!
Anyway, let’s have a chat about protective equipment worn by field players on penalty corners and penalty strokes. What can they wear, and what happens if they fail to get it off the pitch, and when do they have to take it off?
As always, the ever-engaging rules recitation:
Rule 4.2 – Hand and Body Protection
4.2’s guidance, which should be a sub-clause, because it’s an actual rule and not guidance, but I digress, reads:
– are permitted to wear hand protection which does not increase the natural size of the hand significantly; any hand protection used, both for normal play and to defend penalty corners, must be comfortably into an open-ended box of
Also, field players
– are permitted to wear any form of body protection (including leg protection, or kneepads, when defending a penalty corner) underneath normal playing clothing; knee pads, used for this purpose, may be worn outside the socks provided that their colour is exactly the same colour of the socks.
Rule 4.2 – Face Masks
– permitted to wear a smooth preferably transparent or single coloured face mask or metal grill face mask, which follows the contours of the face, when defending a penalty corner or penalty stroke for the duration of that penalty corner or penalty stroke including the immediate taking of a free hit awarded after a penalty corner when passing the ball to another player.
Rule 13.7 – Protective Equipment on Penalty Strokes
Also of note is the penalty stroke provision 13.7(e), which should be (f) because it’s a stand-alone clause, again I digress:
If the player defending the stroke is otherwise taking part in the game as a field player, they may wear only a face mask as protective equipment.
Rule 9.16 – Throwing Objects on the Pitch
And under 9.16:
Players must not throw any object or piece of equipment onto the field, at the ball, or at another player, umpire or person.
Following a penalty corner, if the ball hits any discarded equipment, such as a hand protector, knee pads or a face mask, a free hit should be awarded if this occurs outside the circle, and a penalty corner awarded if this occurs inside the circle.
Rule 12.4(a) – Equipment Stops a Probable Goal
Oh, and by the way, 12.4(a)’s guidance, which should be the next sub-clause under 9.16 and not guidance at all, actually adds that a penalty stroke is awarded:
a) for an offence by a defender in the circle which prevents the probable scoring of a goal. If the ball hits a piece of equipment lying in the circle and a probable goal is prevented, a penalty stroke may be awarded.
So I think you’re getting the idea that the provisions pertaining to protective pieces are prolifically promulgated in a patchwork process. In short, there’s a lot of them, and they’re all over the place. That makes it easy to miss one even if you’re a rules nerd, and trying to read them together gets tricky. Let’s slice and dice.
Gloves For Protection
First off, it's seems clear from 4.2 that players can wear big gloves whenever they want, for field player or corners, so long as they fit in the little box. So, they don't even have to chuck them after the penalty corner is over. Then again, big mitts may well reduce the silky skills of a Hannah Martin or Arthur Van Doren to my own level, so they tend not to stay on too long.
What about those knee pads? This one's a lot more ambiguous. It can be argued that one can wear knee pads only when “used for this purpose”, this purpose being defending a penalty corner. You can also argue it's not clear and so long as they match the socks, they're just like beefier gloves. The “guidance” of 4.2 is written so confusingly, it could be either. Common practice is that players toss them as soon as they can, and there doesn't seem to be a trend where PC defenders wear them throughout a match so that they're alleviated of the burden of putting them on when corners are called.
…on the Penalty Stroke?
Here's a little more ambiguity: if you were listening carefully when I recited 13.7 actual sub (f), you'll wonder, if field players who are defending penalty strokes “may only wear a face mask as protective equipment”, does that mean they can't wear gloves? Can't wear shin guards and a mouthguard? What does protective equipment event mean?
We can take our cue from the definition of what a goalkeeper is, who is a player “who wears full protective equipment comprising of at least headgear, leg guards and kickers and who is also permitted to wear goalkeeping hand protectors and other protective equipment.” Also, the Player With Goalkeeping Privileges definition is a player “who does not wear full protective equipment but who has goalkeeping privileges.” So, protective equipment can be inferred to mean, goalkeeper stuff.
But a face mask isn't protective equipment so it would be more clear if 13.7(f) says, may only wear a face mask and no protective equipment”. But I digress.
So field players can wear penalty corner gloves to defend a penalty stroke because they can wear them throughout the game if they want, and there's no express allowance for or prohibition against players wearing knee pads when defending penalty strokes, so, why not?
Whatever equipment they're allowed to wear, when a player discards it or it otherwise falls off, it can't interfere with play. As 9.16 says, if it happens outside the circle, it's a free hit for the attack. If it happens inside the circle, it's a penalty corner. And if it prevents a probable goal, it's a penalty stroke. This includes both defender equipment and a goalkeeper's protective equipment as set out by 9.16, and illustrated in this super fun example from the 2018 World Cup – here.
When do defenders need to take off their extra penalty corner protection? When the penalty corner is over, which we covered in last week's #RuleyTuesday. Here's a link. One condition we pay a lot of attention to is when the ball goes more than 5m outside the circle, which means a defender dribbling the ball must be removing their mask shortly after leaving the circle. You're going to apply common sense as required in the rule, and the best technique is to use your voice and be proactive. If the defender fails to comply and keeps dribbling up the pitch, the penalty is a free hit to the opposition.
Another condition of note is when the attack commits a foul as the penalty corner is proceeding and a free hit is awarded to the defence. In previous years, we had to get all pedantic and not allow a masked defender to take a quick free hit, which broke down a lot of exciting play for not very much good reason. Now, the “guidance” has been cleared up to ensure that this free hit need not be delayed for the defender to remove their mask first.
Did this #RuleyTuesday promote a perfect perception of protective piece pronouncements? Slide into the comments and replies, tag a friend who has this question, and give me another letter to alliterate on next week. There's also a potential for patronage if you go to fhu3t.com and sign up for a with a $3 monthly
Blue Green membership. Head to fhu3t.com join the FHumpires Third Team! I'd be so… pleased.
Chau for now!
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