Each period of the match starts with a face off at the centre spot. When parts of the board are separated at any place, the game can continue until the ball gets close to this place. In case an abnormal situation occurs during the match (damaged ball, lights going out, injury, etc.) the referees interrupt the game by whistling three times and the face off takes place at the nearest dot. A face off also takes  place if the referees have different opinions or are unable to decide which team should start.

Even though the term face off indicates the ball to be thrown in like we know from ice hockey, in floorball the ball lays on the floor. One player of each team places his blade closely next to the ball vertically to the centre line (the first one to choose the side is the player from the visiting team, in the corners the one from the defending team). The players stand facing each other, their feet perpendicular to the centre line and in the same distance from it. The sticks have to be held with a normal grip and with both hands above the grip mark (which is 14 cm from the end of the stick). The other players have to stand at least 3 meters away from the ball including sticks when the face off takes place. The face off can, as any other fixed situation (free hit, hit-in), result directly in a goal.

If the ball leaves the rink or hits the ceiling, the non-offending team is awarded by a hit-in. A hit-in is taken from where the ball leaves the rink and can be moved up to 1.5m from the board. The ball has to be hit cleanly and not dragged, flicked or lifted on the stick. The player taking the hit-in can’t touch the ball again before it has been touched by another player or another player’s equipment. The player shouldn’t delay the hit-in if the ball is prepared at the correct spot. In that case, the player gets a warning form the referees and if he or she  does not immediatelystart the game or plays incorrectly, the hit-in goes to the opponent team. There is no time limit for taking the hit in since the matches are played in effective time. The opponent players have to take a position at least 3m from the ball, sticks included.

If a small offence is committed, the non-offending team is awarded with a free-hit. The rules for playing a free-hit are almost identical to the ones of a hit-in. It can be played immediately after the whistle as soon as the ball stands still at the place where the offence has been committed. The players don’t have to wait for another signal from the referees or the opponents to take a defending position. To speed up the game the referees aren’t obliged to show the reasons of small offences. If the offence has been committed behind the goal line, a free-hit is taken from the dots in the corners (the same as in a hit-in). If the defending team commits an offence inside of the goal crease, the free-hit takes place from a 3,5 meter distance from the goalkeeper area to form a defense line before the goalkeeper while leaving 3 meters space from the free-hit point. In this case the referees show the exact point for the free hit and it usually takes place after a signal of the referees.

Most common offences leading to a free-hit:

  • When a player hits, blocks, lifts, kicks or holds an opponent’s stick or an opponent. The only allowed way to reach the ball from the opponent’s blade is without getting in contact with his stick (but that is almost impossible in a 1 to 1 situation against an experienced player).
  • When a field player raises the blade of his stick above waist level in the back swing before hitting the ball, or in the forward swing after hitting the ball.
  • When a field player uses any part of his stick or his foot to play or try to play the ball above knee level.
  • When a field player places his stick, his foot or his leg between an opponent’s legs or feet.
  • When a player, in control of the ball, or trying to reach it, forces or pushes an opponent in any  way other than shoulder to shoulder.
  • When a field player kicks the ball twice, unless in between it has touched the player’s stick, another player or another player’s equipment.
  • When a player receives a foot pass from a field player in the same team.
  • When a field player is in the goalkeeper area.
  • When a field player jumps up and stops the ball. Running isn’t considered as jumping, only when both feet entirely leave the floor.
  • When a field player plays the ball while standing with one or both feet outside the rink behind the board.
  • When a goalkeeper entirely leaves the goal crease during a throw-out, throws or kicks the ball over the centre line.
  • When a face-off, hit-in or a free-hit is incorrectly performed or intentionally delayed.
  • When a goalkeeper has the ball under control for more than 3 seconds.
  • When a player delays play. This includes when a field player, in order to gain time, places himself against the rink or goal cage in such a manner that the opponent is unable to reach the ball in a correct way. Any such player should be warned before any actions are taken. This situation can occur at the end of even matches or during power-play.

Video – Hit-in and most common offences

Image: IFF

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