History of Hockey

  • He roots of hockey are buried deep in antiquity. Historical records show that a crude form of hockey was played in Egypt 4,000 years ago, and in Ethiopia around 1,000 BC. Various museums offer evidence that a form of the game was played by Romans and Greeks, and by the Aztec Indians in South America several centuries before Columbus landed in the New World. The modern game of hockey evolved in England in the mid-18th century, primarily around schools.
  • The first Olympic Hockey Competition for men was held in London in 1908 with England, Ireland and Scotland competing separately. After having made its first appearance in the 1908 Games, hockey was subsequently dropped from the 1912 Stockholm Games, and reappeared in 1920 in Antwerp before being omitted again in Paris in 1924. The Paris organisers refused to include hockey on the basis that the sport had no International Federation.

  • Hockey had made its first steps toward an international federation when in 1909 the Hockey Association in England and the Belgium Hockey Association agreed to mutually recognise each other to regulate international hockey relations. The French Association followed soon after, but this was not considered sufficient.

  • Hockey took its most important step forward in 1924 when the International Hockey Federation, the world governing body for the sport, was founded in Paris under the initiative of Frenchman, Paul Léautey. Mr. Léautey, who would become the first President of the FIH, was motivated to action following hockey's omission from the program of the 1924 Paris Games.
  • Mr. Léautey called together representatives from seven national federations to form the sport's international governing body, the Fédération Internationale de Hockey sur Gazon. The six founding members, which represented both men's and women's hockey in their countries, were Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Hungary, Spain and Switzerland.
  • The women's game developed quickly in many countries and in 1927, the International Federation of Women's Hockey Associations (IFWHA) was formed. The founding members were Australia, Denmark, England, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, the United States and Wales. After celebrating their respective Golden Jubilees - the FIH in 1974 and the IFWHA in 1980 - the two organisations came together in 1982 to form the FIH.
  • The growth of the International Hockey Federation from its early beginnings has been most impressive. Denmark joined in 1925, the Dutch men in 1926, Turkey in 1927, and in 1928 - the year of the Amsterdam Olympics - Germany, Poland, Portugal and India joined. India's addition marked the membership of the first non-European country.

  • By 1964, there were already 50 countries affiliated with the FIH, as well as three continental associations - Africa, Pan America and Asia - and in 1974, there were 71 members. Today, the International Hockey Federation consists of five Continental associations - Europe and Oceania have since joined - and 127 member associations.
  • Today, the work of the International Hockey Federation is accomplished through the efforts of the FIH President, Honorary Secretary General and Treasurer, working together with an Executive Board, 13 Committees, and the professional staff in its Lausanne headquarters.
  • In many ways, the FIH serves as the 'guardian' of the sport. It works in co-operation with both the national and continental organisations to ensure consistency and unity in hockey around the world. The FIH not only regulates the sport, but is also responsible for its development and promotion so as to guarantee a secure future for hockey.

Hockey Info

Rules of Hockey

  1. The Hockey Rules Board is aware that how the Rules are applied is key to a fair game. In this context, there are two Rules which are sometimes applied inconsistently. 
  2. Rule 7.4.c says that if the ball is intentionally played over the backline by a defender and no goal is scored, play is re-started with a penalty corner. If it is clear that the action is intentional, umpires should not hesitate to award a penalty corner.
  3. Rule 9.7 specifies that “players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height etc”. For consistency and fairness, shoulder height should be strictly enforced.
  4. Hockey throughout the world should be played according to the Rules in this booklet. This ensures a clear identity for the sport and a consistent game. It is acknowledged, however, that FIH Tournament Regulations are sometimes introduced which vary the Rules of Hockey in order to enhance the profile of world level competitions. This is done by the FIH Competitions Committee in consultation with the Hockey Rules Board and Umpiring Committee.
  5. Such Regulations will only applied in specified and agreed tournaments and matches ; all other hockey should be played solely in accordance with the Rules of Hockey.
  6. If Continental Federations or National Associations wish to implement Regulations for competitions within their jurisdiction which include a Rules related matter, they should seek approval from the FIH a minimum of eight weeks prior to intended


  • The Hockey Rules Board uses input from a variety of sources when it reviews the Rules and considers changes. These sources include : trials of Rules variations ; match and tournament reports ; video analysis ; comments from players, coaches, officials, media and spectators. We therefore welcome suggestions for Rules developments or for clarification of current Rules especially from National Hockey Associations. The National Associations are an important source of advice and guidance but, if appropriate, Rules suggestions or questions can be sent by email to or to the FIH postal address.
  • In particular, the Hockey Rules Board continues to monitor the Penalty Corner Rules and conducted a comprehensive and objective review of these Rules in 2010 primarily based on data from international tournaments. The Hockey Rules Board would though welcome data from National Associations about the Penalty Corner in domestic matches especially in relation to its advantages, disadvantages and possible alternatives which will assist our
    objective review of this Rule.
  • As stated earlier in this introduction, we believe our sport is enjoyable to play, officiate in and watch. However, the Hockey Rules Board is not complacent. We will continue to seek ways of making our game even more enjoyable for all its participants while retaining its unique and attractive characteristics.


Chair :             David Collier

Secretary :      Roger Webb

Members :

  1. Richard Aggiss 
  2.  Richard Akpokavie
  3.  Jorge Alcover 
  4.  Petsuda Chianthianthong
  5.  Eric Donegani 
  6.  Peter Elders
  7.  Margaret Hunnaball 
  8.  Michael Krause
  9.  Alain Renaud 
  10.  Peter von Reth
  11.  Pargat Singh


  • Player
  1. One of the participants in a team.
  2. A team consists of a maximum of sixteen persons composed
    of a maximum of eleven players on the field and up to five
  • Field Player
  1. One of the participants on the field other than the goalkeeper. 

  • Goalkeeper
  1. One of the participants of each team on the field who wears full
    protective equipment comprising at least headgear, leg guards
    and kickers and who is also permitted to wear goalkeeping
    hand protectors and other protective equipment.

  • Field Player with Goalkeeping Privileges 
  1. One of the participants on the field who does not wear full
    protective equipment but who has goalkeeping privileges ;
    this player wears a different colour shirt to their other team
    members as identification.
  • Attack (Attacker)
  1. The team (player) which (who) is trying to score a goal. 

  • Defence (Defender)
  1.  The team (player) which (who) is trying to prevent a goal
    being scored.

  • Back-line
  1.  The shorter (55 metres) perimeter line.

  • Goal-line
  1. The back-line between the goal-posts.

  • Side-line
  1. The longer (91.40 metres) perimeter line.

  • Circle
  1. The area enclosed by and including the two quarter circles
    and the lines joining them at each end of the field opposite
    the centre of the back-lines.

  • 23 metres area
  1. The area enclosed by and including the line across the field
    22.90 metres from each back-line, the relevant part of the
    side-lines, and the back-line.
    Playing the ball : field player
    Stopping, deflecting or moving the ball with the stick.

  • Shot at goal
  1. The action of an attacker attempting to score by playing the
    ball towards the goal from within the circle.
  2.  The ball may miss the goal but the action is still a
    “ shot at goal ” if the player’s intention is to score
    with a shot directed towards the goal.

  • Hit
  1. Striking the ball using a swinging movement of the stick
    towards the ball.

  • Push
  1. Moving the ball along the ground using a pushing movement
    of the stick after the stick has been placed close to the ball.
    When a push is made, both the ball and the head of the
    stick are in contact with the ground.

  • Flick
  1. Pushing the ball so that it is raised off the ground.

  • Scoop
  1. Raising the ball off the ground by placing the head of the
    stick under the ball and using a lifting movement.

  • Forehand
  1. Playing a ball which is to the right of the player in a forwards

  • Playing distance
  1. The distance within which a player is capable of reaching
    the ball to play it.

  • Tackle
  1. An action to stop an opponent retaining possession of the ball.

  •  Offence
  1. An action contrary to the Rules which may be penalised by
    an umpire.