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New Version of UWH Rules Coming from CMAS

By Don Mathews, 12/15/18, 10:15PM CST


See what rules are expected to change in the new version!

On July 18, 2018, at the World Championship of Underwater Hockey, the federations of UWH discussed new rule changes for the next version of the CMAS International Rules of Underwater Hockey.  The current CMAS rule version is version 10, which was updated in July 2011.  According to those rules, Chapter 7.3.1 states that “… the [CMAS] Rules Director has 6 months to write up the new rules and include them in “Rules of Underwater Hockey”, the rules will be posted on the Commission website and announced to all participating countries…”   By this rule, the new version should be out by January 18, 2019.

Although the wording and the details of debate were quite lengthy, here are the basics of the changes to come:

  1. Penalty shot (17.8.7).  When a penalty shot is determined by a referee, the clocks stop.The clocks restart when the game restarts.This was never clearly defined in the rules, and wording was added to make it clear.
  2. Increased in-water assistance (11.1.4).  Only one coach per team can be in the water and one coach per team many be on the deck.The rule is being changed to allow up to 2 on the deck and 2 and in water per team.
  3. Monolithic Mask (  The wording of this rule will be changed to allow for a new mask design to be used in tournament play.Although the monolithic mask does not have divided glass lenses as required by the current rules, the entire mask is constructed of one solid piece of polycarbonate.  This is the same material and construction technique used for current style safety glasses.
  4. The French rule changes.  There were 14 rule change requests by the French, which were mostly word changes or clarifications.  The 9 that passed are described below:
    • Determination of athletic age of competitor.  The UWH rules are inconsistent and in conflict with the CMAS Procedures and Obligations, 2014.  We voted to make them consistent knowing that CMAS board would have the final say.
    • Protest during a match.  Word change for Rule 5.1.1:“… the Chief Referee may stop play…” to “… the Chief Referee shall stop play…”
    • Removing the “intact protective film” clause (11.3.1).  To require a protective film on fins also requires referees to verify that a film is installed, and then prevent players from using fins that do not have the film.  Although many refs feel that it is better to have the film installed, it shouldn’t be a referee’s liability.
    • Referee sequence for calling a goal (13.1.8).  When a goal is scored, standard practice is to check with the other referees prior to calling a goal with both hands up.  Confirming before calling will now be written as procedure.
    • Advantage Rule change (13.1.24).  We have called advantage rule with a spinning index finger above the water for some time now.  The current rule is written with the index finger spinning below the surface.This language will change to reflect current practice.
    • Overtime play (14.2.5 &  The original request was to change when the clocks stop during overtime play.  This was heavily debated, and the end-result will be a rules-change that changes how overtime play is handled.
    • Grabbing the barrier (16.3.18).  Eliminated the words “or goal”.
    • Clarification to starting the clock for penalties ( The penalty clock starts when the infringing player is totally out of the water and water refs’ hands go down (players touch the puck).
    • Clarification of advantage puck (17.11.1).  If an encroachment happens, move the puck back 3m or to 5m line.  If it’s at the 5m line already, move it to the center.  The rewording of the rule will clearly explain the process.

Please keep in mind that this is a summary of the changes you will see in the new rules version.  Until the next version is released, we must continue to use version 10.0.