Vancouver Women's Field Hockey Association: Umpire FAQs
Umpiring FAQ
Q: If the ball is straddling the side-line, half on the line and half off the field, is in still in play or has it gone out?
A: The sidelines, the endlines, and the goal line are all part of the playing field, and the ball is not “out” until the WHOLE ball has COMPLETELY crossed the line. In this case, the ball is still in play. This also comes into play when deciding whether or not a goal has been scored: unless the whole ball has completely crossed the goal line, it is not a goal. The same is also true when deciding whether or not the ball is in the circle, or “D.” The line marking the circle is part of the circle itself, so if the ball is on the line, it is considered to be inside the circle. This can come into play when bringing a ball outside the circle from the initial push out on a penalty corner (short corner). The ball must come outside the circle before the offensive team can score, and so it must completely cross that line.
Q: When taking a penalty stroke, what if the shooter makes an advance toward the ball without playing it, and then subsequently plays it – is this allowed?
A: This is considered feinting, and is not allowed as it makes it unfair to the goalkeeper and is considered poor sportsmanship. Players are allowed to take any number of steps up to the ball in order to play it (providing they start within playing distance), but they may feign shooting in and order to throw off the goalkeeper. If this occurs, the correct decision would be a free hit for the defense, and no goal would be allowed if the ball happened to go in the net, as it is a foul on the attacking player.
Q: An umpire has blown the whistle for a penalty corner because of an defensive foul inside the circle, and a second after she blows the whistle, the ball has gone into the net. What is the correct decision?
A: Had the umpire's whistle not been blown, and presuming no attacking foul lead to the ball going into the net, the call would be a goal. However, because the umpire's whistle had already been blown, regardless of how soon before the ball crossed the goal-line, the original call of a penalty corner must stand, and so the goal does not count. Umpires try their best to play out advantage, including on defensive fouls in the circle, but sometimes they will blow the whistle thinking there is no way the attack could score and they do anyway. If this happens, just do your best to remember that it has probably happened to everyone at some point, and the umpire is not intentionally trying to cheat you out of a goal. :)
Q: When is a penalty corner over in regular play?
A: A penalty corner during regular play (ie: not at the end of a game or half) is considered to be over – ie: for the purposes of first shot on goal - when the ball has gone five meters outside the circle, the first shot has been taken, an offensive foul has been blown, a penalty stroke has been called, a subsequent penalty corner has been called, a goal has been scored, or the ball has gone off the end line and out of play. 
Q: When is the first shot on goal during a penalty corner considered “too high”?
A: The first shot on goal during a penalty corner must cross the goal-line at back-board height or below. The key words there are “cross the goal-line” A ball directed at goal may come up above the back-board and still be counted as a goal as long as it was at back-board height or below when it crossed the goal-line (think of the ball traveling in an arc toward the goal). This holds true only if the first shot is a hit; scoops, flicks, or drag-flicks may cross the goal-line at any height. In addition, if the ball is deflected into the net above back-board height, as long as the first shot was legal (ie: back-board height or below), it will count as a goal.
Q: Are substitutions allowed on a penalty stroke?
A: Yes. Unlike penalty corners (short corners), players may be substituted on a penalty stroke. This means that a player who was not on the field when the stroke was called may take or defend the stroke. In addition, if the defending team was electing to play without a goalkeeper, they may put a goalkeeper in the defend the stroke (if one is not kitted up, the team is asked not to delay the game by taking an extreme amount of time to dress a goalie).
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