30. When does a rules change become effective?
It does not happen very often, but it is possible for a change to be implemented immediately after agreement by the Hockey Rules Board and the Executive Board of the FIH. But a change will usually come into effect when the next set of rules is published.
In the past this could have been on various dates during the year depending on the cycle of Olympic Games and Hockey World Cups – because the Hockey Rules Board tries to avoid introducing changes in the period immediately before these events. With effect from 2004, the situation was regularized by adopting a standard effective date for each set of rules of 1 January annually. A fixed annual date makes it much easier for everyone to plan ahead. Having said that, officially the 1 January date applies to all international competitions but National Associations have discretion to decide the implementation date at national level.
The cycle for rules changes is taken a step further with effect from 2007 which marks a move to a two-year cycle for the production and publication of the rules of the game. In some ways as noted above, a two-year cycle was already in place because significant changes were not introduced in the periods leading to each Olympic Games and Hockey World Cup. By formalising this cycle, the Hockey Rules Board (HRB) is also acknowledging that it is better to allow a slightly longer period between rules changes for any such changes to be evaluated and reviewed.
The rules will therefore apply to the two year period 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2008 and so on in two-yearly cycles. As before, National Associations have discretion to decide the date of implementation at national level. The HRB will avoid publishing changes during the two year period but in exceptional circumstances retains this right. Any such changes will be notified to National Associations and published on this website.