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Ruling out of own goals is welcomed by hockey players

IT will no longer be possible to score an own goal in hockey from next season after a two year experimental period on the statute book.

However individual nations can either stick with the current legislation until the end of the current season or delete it as they so wish.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has deemed that the rule will no longer be obligatory as of February 1 next year.

With the Irish Hockey League taking place in March and the knock out stages in early April in Banbridge the authorities have a decision to make.

The FIH have also decreed that the rule will cease to exist in international hockey from January 31 next year, meaning both the Ireland men's and women's teams won't have to cope with it in the next round of World League tournaments.

And from September 1 it will no longer be possible to score an own goal at any level as the rule will be removed completely.

The majority of players appear to be in favour of the decision to scrap the rule which meant that the ball did not have to be struck by an attacker's stick from within the shooting circle.

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Lisnagarvey captain and Ireland defender Jonny Bell will be happy to see the rule abolished from all hockey next autumn.

"Personally I will be glad to see the back of the own goal, partly because I have had the embarrassment of having scored two myself, one of which was a real cracker in a World League game against New Zealand in Rotterdam," he explained.

"As a defender you have enough to keep you occupied without having to watch out for deflections and I don't think it added anything whatsoever to the skill set required to play hockey.

"If anything it made the game less skilful and encouraged teams to crash free hits and balls into the circle in the hope that a defender would get in the way."

Former Annadale and current Great Britain player Iain Lewers is in agreement with Bell.

"It's good to see the rule abolished as it has been in the game too long and discourages the use of skill in creating goal scoring chances," he stated.

Pegasus captain Pamela Magill however says she would have been happy to see the rule continue.

"The FIH should stick with rule changes when they make them – the own goal makes defenders sharper and free hits from the edge of the circle more exciting." she said.

"It also means there is no margin for error with your first touch," she added.

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