Walsh, Oltmans feel new rules will boost revenue

India’s men’s hockey coach Terry Walsh and high performance director Roelant Oltmans have welcomed the new changes brought by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to the structure of the game. The two feel it will bring commerce to the game while also ensuring recovery of top players in a match.

The FIH on Thursday announced that hockey would now move from two 35-minute halves to four 15-minute quarters, a model followed at the Euro Hockey League and Hockey India League. There would also be implementation of 40-second time-outs following both penalty corner awards and the scoring of a goal.

The changes would come into effect from September 1. “It means we will play with these rules for the first time in the Asian Games. The new rules do bring the timing down in one way but the timing also can go up. Because these 15 minutes are more or less fixed time to play. Now when you score and play a penalty corner, time will not be stopped. So depending on how much you score, the time can be altered.  Overall the average will be same time,” Oltmans told reporters at the sidelines of Indian team's training session at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Thursday.

Oltmans believed the intermissions would not really break the momentum of the game and it was just a “matter of adaptation” for the teams.

“I think four quarters are good for the game. We all should know that without commercial interference you can’t play a professional sport anymore. Hockey is such a fast game that within the normal game you can’t have any commercial events. Also, because of the breaks, the top players can live longer on pitches. I think it is an advantage to be honest because we don’t have to give them a break on the bench. Even the coaches will have the chance to provide them with essential information of advice,” he said.

Walsh said the rules would allow players to play comfortably. “The logic in it is that they are going to take time-outs for penalty corners and for goals and when you do that it is probably equivalent to three minutes a half anyways. I think it is not such a bad concept. It is little bit pedantic in a way, but I guess it works.

“There have been a lot of changes in what has gone in the rules and the way things were altered. But for me it becomes the first rule that has taken away some of the tempo required in the game. You can play the game comfortably without an incredibly high level. But of course the coaches will push the players.”

Meanwhile, the Indian team will be going on a European tour to play three matches with the Netherlands and Belgium in the Netherlands and two with local teams. “We will are looking ideally to go from April 9-19. We are still awaiting a final confirmations on the dates,” Walsh said.

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