Open Hockey Divisions 6 to 10 - 2014/15        

MBBO Open Hockey League


The MBBO Open Hockey League derives its rules from those of the South Hockey League. The following rules are extracted, with minor modification in order to meet the needs of the Open League, from those rules. It is essential for all team captains and club officials to read and understand the rules. Any questions regarding the rules should be referred to the relevant League Secretary.



  1. Participating teams must be affiliated to the Southern Counties Hockey Association and one of its constituent counties, but not necessarily be within its geographical area.

  2. Teams shall be composed of the strongest players available on the day, assuming that any higher club team shall have already been selected from available players, whether or not such higher team(s) have fixtures.

  3. No team shall play a League match whilst its club on the same day for no acceptable reason cancels or does not play a scheduled league match of a higher selected club team. In the event of the lower team fulfilling the league fixture the match will be awarded to the opponent by a score of 5-0 or the match score, whichever is the higher.

  4. No more than two teams from the same club may play in the same division. If potentially caused by relegation from the division above, a club team in the receiving division shall be relegated. If potentially caused by promotion from below, that otherwise promoted team shall not be promoted.

  5. A player not available for his normal team shall not be entitled to play that day for a lower team without the prior permission of the relevant League Secretary.

  6. No player shall play in the same weekend in more than one outdoor adult men's League match in any league at any level anywhere unless it be for the same team playing twice or as a goalkeeper under rule 1g, save that in exceptional circumstances approval may be granted in advance by the relevant league secretary.

  7. In the event of the selected goalkeeper, without prior knowledge or warning, becoming unavailable or incapacitated on the day of the match, another goalkeeper play two League matches on the same day. Please note that under normal circumstances rule 1f applies equally to goalkeepers.

  8. No person may play in a League match after the first Saturday in February who has not on or before then become a bona fide member of and played for the relevant club. Any person joining and playing League hockey for a second club during the League season may only have played hockey for one other English club during the same season and must have made a bona fide change of clubs. No further change is permitted. Any breach of the rule will result in penalties for both club and player.


  1. Membership of the League is by application and acceptance. It may be refused, suspended or terminated by the MBBO Open League Secretaries, acting as a committee, if deemed to be in the interests of the League.

  2. Each team, by its entry, is deemed to have consented to and be bound by the rules of the League and by any decisions of the relevant League Secretaries and Committees.

3.      FIXTURES

  1. The relevant League Secretary shall arrange and administer League fixtures for his division which, unless agreed by the League Secretaries acting as a committee, shall consist of twelve teams playing each other twice. For the lowest two divisions this may be varied to ensure every team has adequate fixtures and competitive hockey.

  2. Each team shall be notified of its fixtures for the next season as soon as practicable after the end of the preceding season and, in any event, by 30th June.

  3. League fixtures will normally be played in two equal blocks during weeks 5 to 15 and 20 to 30 of the season inclusive.


  1. All matches shall by played in accordance with the rules of hockey.

  2. The home team shall be responsible for the provision of an adequate supply of suitable hockey balls for each game.

  3. In the event of a potential clash of colours of shirts, unless otherwise agreed, the away team shall change.

  4. All matches must be played on acceptable artificial pitches. Floodlights may be used.

  5. A match may be started at any time between 10:00 am and 4:30 pm, provided that no team is required to leave its home area before 9:00 am or arrive back after 7:30 pm after adding 30 minutes to allow for changing and warming up/down. Teams may mutually agree times outside these limits.

  6. Games shall be for a duration of 35 minutes in each half, but if, for a good reason, time is restricted, team captains may agree a shortened playing time period for the game.

  7. Under the rules of hockey a team must play a goalkeeper. The minimum kit requirements for a goalkeeper are that he must wear a protective helmet and must wear a shirt of a different colour to the outfield players of both teams. Please also note that the rules of hockey prevent a goalkeeper from entering the attacking half of the pitch. Under the rules of this League, if a team fields a goalkeeper who is not fully kitted (often referred to as a 'kicking back'), he must also wear socks of a different colour from his team mates.

  8. The minimum number of players to start or continue a game shall be eight, including the goalkeeper. Players who have played some part in the game and are then injured or suspended (including permanent suspension) shall be counted as part of that number.


  1. Each home team shall notify the opposing team contact person as soon as possible and, in any event, more than ten days before the match of the time and venue.

  2. Once notification has been given, no change may be made without the consent of both teams or, in exceptional circumstances, at the direction of the relevant League Secretary.

  3. The result of each match shall be notified by the home team to the relevant League Secretary no later than 6:00 pm on the day following the day on which the match was played. Failure to do so can result in a financial penalty not exceeding £100.

  4. Notification of the results shall be by publication on the League website.

  5. Communication by email shall be acceptable for all League purposes. Communication by telephone or SMS text shall be acceptable for the notification of results.

  6. Teams wishing to join or withdraw from the League shall give notice to the relevant League Secretary by 1st May for the following season.

  7. Each team shall advise the relevant League Secretary of a designated contact for that team. In the absence of any other notification, the team's Fixtures Secretary will be assumed to be that contact.

  8. If so required by the relevant League Secretary teams or their club must provide the names of their players in any particular League match and/or the name and contact telephone number of any umpire appointed by their club to a League match.

6.      UMPIRES

  1. Unless agreed by the two captains, both teams shall provide one umpire.

  2. Umpires may not be changed during the game, except for the replacement of an injured or incapacitated umpire at any time or at half time, with the consent of both captains.

  3. Umpires must be competent to umpire hockey. They must be the highest standard available and preferably either be on the England Hockey Level One Register, County Register or in process of obtaining a relevant umpiring qualification.

  4. Clubs should ensure that their umpires are suitably insured.


  1. Except in extreme circumstances that have been approved and notified in advance to both teams by the relevant League Secretary, a League fixture may only be postponed due to adverse weather or ground conditions. The team captain or, in his absence, an official of the home team having the sole right to determine whether weather or ground conditions make play impossible. The away team and the relevant League Secretary must be notified of the postponement immediately. If an undue delay in notification results in unnecessary travelling for an away team, the League Secretary may require the home team to pay their travelling expenses.

  2. A match may only be abandoned once it has started by the unanimous decision of both umpires. The captains of both teams shall be deemed to have transferred their powers in this respect to the umpires jointly. The umpires are requested to advise the captains immediately and the relevant League Secretary as soon as practicable and, in any case, within 24 hours of the reason for their decision.

  3. If a team is unable to field a side they must notify the opposition team no later than four days prior to the game (ie the Tuesday before a Saturday game). The match shall be awarded to the opponent by a score of 5-0. If notification is made less than four days prior to the game, the League Secretary shall instruct the team that is unable to field a side to cover any unavoidable costs incurred by the other team (eg the cost of pitch hire) and may deduct up to three points. The match will not be replayed

  4. Any match postponed or abandoned under rules 7a or 7b shall be played on a subsequent date agreed by the teams or, in default of agreement, as directed by the relevant League Secretary. A match postponed or abandoned in the first block must, save in exceptional circumstances, be played or replayed before the commencement of the second block. A match abandoned in the second block must, save in exceptional circumstances, be played or replayed on the Saturday following the last normal League date. The relevant League Secretary may give permission for postponed or abandoned games to be played or replayed on a Sunday.

  5. Teams failing to fulfil three or more fixtures in the same season shall, save in exceptional circumstances, have their results deleted and be treated as relegated teams. They shall be readmitted in the next or subsequent seasons only if satisfactory assurances are given as to their ability to fulfil future fixtures.



Three points shall be awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. League position shall be determined by points awarded followed by goal difference, followed by goals scored, followed by the aggregate score between two teams that are otherwise level. If two teams remain level using these criteria where one or other, but not both, would be promoted or relegated there shall be a play-off as directed by the relevant League Secretary. If both teams would be promoted and finish first and second, they shall be deemed to be joint champions of their division. 


  1. Subject to the impact of rules 9b and 9c, at the end of every season there will normally be two promotions and relegations between each division.

  2. There shall be additional or fewer relegations in relevant divisions dependent upon the number of relegated teams received by them.

  3. Any team withdrawing or being expelled or suspended from the League before 1st May shall be deemed to be a relegated team in its relevant division so that there shall be one less relegated team in lower divisions.

  4. Notwithstanding the impact of rules 9b and 9c, the bottom team in each division will always be relegated. If application of this rule requires an additional team to be promoted, that shall be at the discretion of the relevant League Secretary.

  5. Any team may refuse promotion, provided that it gives notice to the relevant League Secretary before 1st April, in which event its place shall be offered to the team next qualified, but not necessarily further.

  6. Notwithstanding the rules herein set out the League Secretaries, acting as a committee, may in its sole discretion before the commencement of any season vary the teams in any division.


  1. If a team so conducts itself or its administration such that a match cannot be played or completed within these rules, the Rules of Hockey or of England Hockey, then the team shall suffer a mandatory deduction of three points and the match shall be deemed to have been won by the opponent by a score of 5-0. Additional financial penalties can also be imposed.

  2. If a match is completed, but a team is subsequently found to have played an ineligible or suspended player then that team shall suffer a mandatory loss by 5-0 or the actual score, if a higher or equal winning goal difference results. Additional financial penalties will normally be imposed. All lower teams in the same club will also be deemed to have lost by 5-0 or the actual score if a higher or equal winning goal difference results.

  3. In these circumstances and all others the relevant League Secretary may impose such additional penalties as are suitable, including a fine of up to £250 and a liability for the costs incurred by the opposition. Additionally, the relevant League Secretary may impose loss of points or mandatory relegation. He may also refer the matter to the Men's South League Committee to consider suspension or expulsion from the League.


  1. Protests or objections to the relevant League Secretary must be lodged within seven days of the relevant match or occurrence or of the time when the circumstances became known to the complainant or any official of the complainant's club. A Secretary having a conflict of interest shall refer the matter to another League Secretary.

  2. A team may appeal through the Secretary to the Men's MBBO Chairman against the decision of a Secretary within fourteen days of notification of such decision and upon deposit of £100 payable to the South Hockey League, which may be returned in whole of in part at the discretion of the appeal committee.

  3. The Men's MBBO Chairman may refer such an appeal to a committee of three persons which shall act with expedition and in its own discretion may hold a written or an oral hearing. The decision of the appeal committee shall be final.

  4. An appeal committee may vary in any way the decision which is the subject of an appeal.


  1. All teams shall pay a subscription as determined by Men's South League by 30th November each season (2012/13 = £15 per team). If not paid, such subscription shall increase by £10 on 1st December and a further £15 on 1st January. Any team not having paid by the commencement of the second block shall automatically be suspended from the League which will require an additional fee of £25 to readmit such team to membership.

  2. The accounts of the League shall be independently scrutinised.

  3. Cups for League winners shall remain the property of the League and, if presented, must be returned to the relevant League official by the end of the following season. Any damage or loss shall be the liability of the relevant club until returned to the League.

  4. The League shall indemnify any person appointed and acting on behalf of the League against any claim which may arise from any action taken with the authority of the League.