Hockey to become 60-minute game from September 1

Lausanne, March 20: The international hockey federation (FIH) Thursday introduced major changes to the structure of the sport including reducing the 70-minute game to 60 minutes comprising four 15-minute quarters instead of two 35-minute halves. The changes will come into effect from Sep 1.

After the first and third quarters there will be a two-minute break while the existing 10-minute halftime will remain unchanged. The four-quarter model has been tried and implemented by both the Euro Hockey League and the Hockey India League.

The FIH Executive Board took the decision following the formats of basketball, American football and netball. The world body explained in a release that the purpose of the changes is to improve the flow and intensity of hockey, increase fan experience and provide more time for game presentation and analysis.

Other major changes include the implementation of 40-second time-outs following penalty corners and a goal. Both stoppages ensure that match time is maximised for actual play and not consumed with penalty corner set-ups or other dead time when the ball is not in play.

“The decision demonstrates our commitment to fan engagement. With the additional breaks, fans will have the opportunity to enjoy more replays and be more engaged with the event, whether in the stadium or watching from far,” FIH president Leandro Negre said.

“Hockey commentators will be allowed more time to provide analysis between plays. In addition, coaches and players will see improvement in their performance with the additional opportunities to re-hydrate and re-strategise.”

The new regulations will come into effect from Sep 1 and will be used in the upcoming Champions Trophy, World League Round 2, World League Semi-Final and Final, all continental Olympic qualifying events as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics.