Oltmans' thumbs up for new HIL goal-scoring rule

India's chief coach Roelant Oltmans was full of praise for the new system but jokingly said he was relieved that the new rule will not be in place at the Rio Olympics.

Roelant Oltmans... "“The nice thing about hockey is that it’s always searching for new ideas, new developments."   -  M. VEDHAN

Indian hockey’s chief coach Roelant Oltmans, on September 15, gave a thumbs up to the new goal-scoring rule, to be introduced in the Hockey India League next year, but felt if the system is used at the international level, world champion Australia will definitely have an edge over others.

Oltmans was full of praise for the new system but jokingly said he was relieved that the new rule will not be in place at the Rio Olympics.

“The nice thing about hockey is that it’s always searching for new ideas, new developments. For many years people have been saying that penalty corners have too much of an influence on the final results of the game, so I think it’s a good idea to test new things in this kind of major events and see how it works out,” Oltmans said ahead of the team’s practice session at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

“The drag-flickers have to score, it’s very simple. I think it’s a good idea to look into it, to see if people are trying to score more field goals. The only thing is that it might help the Australians a little bit more in future because they are the masters in field goals,” he said.

“The good thing is that until Rio Olympics we will not play with this rule apart from the HIL.”

According to the new rules to be introduced in the fourth edition of the HIL, which has been approved by FIH Competitions and Rules Committee, two goal points will be awarded for every field goal to encourage skilful and tactical hockey.To curb rough tackles and maintain discipline among players, two goal points will be awarded to every penalty-stroke goal scored other than resulting from penalty corner.

Also, to ensure spirited and fair play among all players, a side will enjoy the advantage of being awarded two goals for every goal scored from a penalty stroke, which results in a penalty corner due to a deliberate foul. The rest of the system remains the same. Penalty corner goals, goal scored from a penalty stroke resulting from a penalty corner and a direct shoot-out will be considered as one goal.

Oltmans, who is also India’s High Performance Director, clarified that contrary to reports, he was only looking to rope in one more support staff.

“That was surprising to me as well because I only intend to bring one more support staff as a strategy coach and no other new things. We will be defining his role in specific areas and help us try to find out our best possible strategy.

“During games I am always in a very nice position, I am very low so I can see the legs but if someone is in the stands he will see it differently. And that’s also one of his tasks to give me right information during games to get better results,” the Dutchman said.