For a more skilful and tactical hockey

In a first of its kind in any hockey competition, field goals will be given more priority than penalty corners in HIL 2016. In addition, to curb rough tackles and maintain discipline, two goals will be awarded for every goal scored from a penalty stroke, resulting from a penalty corner where a goal being scored is prevented by a deliberate foul.

Affan Yousuf (centre) of Punjab Warriors attempts to score against Dabang Mumbai in a Hockey India League match in Mohali last year. Beginning 2016, as per the new rules, a field goal will be counted as two..   -  AKHILESH KUMAR

The fourth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) will see a new set of rules and regulations being implemented, the most important being, a field goal will be counted as two to encourage more skilful and tactical hockey.

In a first of its kind in any hockey competition, field goals will be given more priority than penalty corners in HIL 2016. In addition, to curb rough tackles and maintain discipline, two goals will be awarded for every goal scored from a penalty stroke, resulting from a penalty corner where a goal being scored is prevented by a deliberate foul.

But for the rest – penalty corners, strokes and shoot-outs – the usual one goal will be awarded for conversions. The new goal-scoring system has been approved by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Competitions and Rules Committee, the HIL chairman, Narinder Batra, said.

“Penalty corners give undue advantage to those teams which have penalty corner specialists. The teams also fight to earn penalty corners rather than score goals through field penetration. The new system will encourage teams and players to score goals instead of looking for penalties,” said Batra.

“The system will surely enhance players’ skills and mentality of playing good hockey. The HIL is committed to promoting the world’s best hockey and with these new rules, players will improve themselves in a competitive environment.”

In other changes, franchises can now only have a squad of 20 players – four less than last time – comprising 12 Indians and eight foreigners. The squad must have at least two goalkeepers and all players should be mentioned in the match sheet and be present at the team dugout.

The HIL is also in talks with title sponsor Hero with regard to renewing their contract after the previous three-year deal expired earlier this year.

“We have offered them a five-year deal, now it’s up to them to take it,” said Batra.

They are also in talks with broadcaster StarSports for renewing the contract.