Penalty corner (field hockey)
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The penalty corner is a special and important phase in the development of a field hockey match. Also called a "short corner" (in contrast with a long corner), "PC" or simply "penalty", it is awarded to the offending team when the defending team commits an offence in its shooting circle or an intentional offence in its defending quarter. The offending teams keenly seek after these penalty corners since they offer great scoring opportunities, similar to those offered by direct free kicks in association football.
Whilst the penalty corner has always been an important part of the game, that importance has become more pronounced following the introduction of artificial turf in the 1970s. The former great penalty corner strikers like Paul Litjens, Ties Kruize and Michael Peters were successful due to the countless hours they spent in practice perfecting their skills and craft. Uneven bounce and unpredictability were ironed out when artificial turf was introduced. Hence the proliferation of penalty corner specialists during the 1980s and 1990s including Floris Jan Bovelander, Jay Stacy, Carsten Fischer, Khalid Bashir, Craig Davies, Jim Irvine and Seong Seo Kim were no doubt largely due to the evenness and predictability of the new surface. While these players are basically hard hitters of the ball, the introduction of the drag flick provided another dimension to counter the goalkeepers who lie down during the hit. This new skill of drag flicking also introduced new exponents of this skill including Bram Lomans, Taco van den Honert and Taeke Taekema, Steller (Netherlands), Sohail Abbas (Pakistan), Sandeep Singh (India), Kuhan Shanmuganathan (Malaysia), Florian Kunz, Christopher Zeller (Germany), Calum Giles (England), Hayden Shaw (New Zealand) and Jorge Lombi (Argentina) who are the modern exponents of this lethal skill. They all have ability to whip the ball at speed up to 120 km/h (75 mph). This technique has remained the favoured way to score goals on penalty corners.
A penalty corner is awarded when:
- a defending player (i.e. a player on the team without possession of the ball) commits an offence in their shooting circle which does not prevent the probable scoring of a goal
- a defending player commits an intentional offence in their shooting circle against an opponent who does not have possession of the ball or an opportunity to play the ball
- a defending player commits an intentional offence outside the circle but within the 23-metre (25-yard) area they are defending
- a defending player, other than a goalkeeper, intentionally plays the ball over the back-line by a defender (if a goalkeeper deflects the ball over the back line intentionally, a long corner is awarded to the attacking team)
- the ball becomes lodged in a player's clothing or equipment while in the circle they are defending.
An umpire signals a penalty corner by pointing both arms horizontally towards the respective goal.
When a penalty corner is awarded, a maximum of five defending players (including the goalkeeper) line up behind the back line either in the goal or within 5 metres of the nearest goal post. All other players on the defending team must be behind the centre line. One attacking player places themselves on the back line with the ball, 10 metres from the nearest goal post on either side of the goal. The remainder of the attacking team players place themselves on the field outside of the shooting circle. All players other than the attacking player on the back line must not have any part of their body or stick touch the ground inside the circle or over the centre line until the ball is in play. The attacking player on the back line is allowed one foot within the circle, but the other foot must remain behind the back line. If any player enters the circle or crosses the centre line prematurely, or the attacking player on the back line does not have one foot outside the circle, the penalty corner is reset and taken again.
When the attacking player on the back line pushes the ball into play, the players may then enter the shooting circle or cross the centre line. Before a shot on goal can be taken, the ball must first travel outside the circle. In a typical penalty corner, the attacking player on the back line will push the ball to a player at the top of the circle who will stop the ball just outside the circle. Another player will take the stopped ball and push or drag it back into the circle before attempting to shoot at goal (as per normal rules, the ball must be last played by an attacking player within the shooting circle for a goal to count).
If the first attempt at goal in a penalty corner is hit, as opposed to a flick, scoop or push, the ball must be no higher than the backboard in the goal (460 mm or 18 in) when it crosses the goal line, for the goal to count. If the ball raises above 460 mm in its flight, provided it does not constitute dangerous play and drops below 460 mm under its own accord (i.e. with no interference from the goalkeeper or defenders) before crossing the goal line it is still counted as a goal. Flicks, scoops, pushes, and hits on second and subsequent attempts at goal may cross the goal line over 460 mm, provided it does not constitute dangerous play.
The penalty corner ends when a goal is scored, the ball is played over the back line and another penalty corner is not awarded, a penalty stroke is awarded, the defending team is awarded a free hit, or the ball travels more than 5 metres outside the circle (i.e. beyond the dotted line outside the shooting circle). If the penalty corner was awarded on half or full time, then the ball only has to travel outside the circle for the second time for the penalty corner (and the half) to end.
The Penalty Corner was introduced in 1908 for offences by defenders in the circle. At a penalty corner, the Rules required the ball to be stopped before a shot at goal but this was not umpired rigorously; all defenders were behind the goal-line with attacking players outside the circle.
In 1949 deliberate offences by defenders within the 25 yards area and persistent offences by defenders at corners were penalized by a penalty corner.
From 1961 at penalty corners and for long corners, a maximum of six defenders were to be behind the back line with the remainder of the defending team at the 25 yards line.
In 1975 with the publication of the first common Rule book for men and women further changes were made. The ball now had to be stopped dead by an attacker before a shot at goal; there was to be no latitude.
1987 saw a further reduction in the number of defenders behind the back line from six to five. This year also saw the introduction of a height limit on the first hit at goal, the ball should not cross the goal-line higher than 18 inches and if the ball traveled more than 5 yards outside the circle then the penalty corner rules no longer applied.
1995, following the introduction of rolling substitutes a few years previously, substitution was now allowed at penalty corners and penalty strokes. This led to the introduction of true specialists, brought on just for penalty corners.
In 1996 the stop was moved to outside the circle
From 1997 the rules required the prolongation of play to permit the completion of a penalty corner at half-time and full-time.
1998: Substitutions at penalty corners were no longer permitted except for an injured defending goalkeeper but were still permitted at penalty strokes.
2003: The requirement to stop the ball was removed, instead, the ball was only required to travel outside the circle.
- Rule 12.3, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Umpiring Rule 4.6d, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.3a-g, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.7, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.3h-j, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 8.1, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.3k, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.3l, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.5, FIH Rules of Hockey
- Rule 13.6, FIH Rules of Hockey
- "FIH Rules of Hockey - Outdoor - from 1 January 2013". International Hockey Federation (FIH). Retrieved 9 December 2012.</ref>