NewsBehind the Whistle

Behind the Whistle Scenario: Penalty Corner Obstruction

by USA Field Hockey

Each week, USA Field Hockey's Umpiring Department will provide video clips for educational purposes on recent plays/calls.

View the video clip above and then answer the question below.

Behind the Whistle Scenario: Penalty Corner Obstruction

If you were the umpire, or by your understanding of the rule on obstruction what would you expect to be called?

Thank you to all for the 196 responses to this scenario.


53% selected Free Hit Out to the Defense

21% selected Award another Penalty Corner

26% Selected Play On


The correct application would be…Free Hit Out for the Defense (obstruction on the attack).

Rule 9.12: A player who runs in front of or blocks an opponent to stop them legitimately playing or attempting to play the ball is obstructing (this is third party or shadow obstruction).This also applies if an attacker runs across or blocks defenders (including the goalkeeper) when a penalty corner is being taken.

Guidance: For the safety of players, attempting to play advantage through this scenario is very chancy. By the rules, the onus is on the attack to avoid the contact with the defense as they are running out. Watching from this angle, the attacker is looking back at the ball, thus having no idea of the defender running out. This is a foul by the attack player which should be recognized in order to keep the game safe and show that this action is not permitted.

Playing advantage is always an option, but you must be 100% sure it is not just possession. The outlet pass could have easily been stopped by the team in white, thus no real advantage…luckily the ball did get out. Again, for the safety of the players, this should be recognized immediately and addressed by the umpires.