How do you play Bandy?

How Bandy is played

The pitch, rules and strategy of Bandy are very similar to those of Soccer, but the players use sticks and skates.

Bandy is played on an ice surface (rink) the size of a soccer field (120x70 yd/110x65 m). A low barrier (6 in/15 cm) is placed along the side of the rink (on top of the touch line) to stop the ball from rolling out of play.

The goals are in the same position as in soccer, but smaller (7ft/2.1m tall and 11 ft/3.5m wide).

Two teams with 11 players (one goalkeeper and 10 outfield players) uses skates to move around.

Unlike ice hockey, Bandy is played with a round ball (the size of a tennis ball, fast-moving, solid and orange).

The ball is batted with a four feet long Bandy-stick which has a characteristic curve along the bottom of the blade (looks like a steam-rolled field-hockey stick). The stick is mainly held with one hand, and this demands more skill than in ice hockey.

The game time is 2x45 minutes with a 10 minute interval at half time. In cup games, extra time (2x15 min) and penalties are used as in soccer.

Each team has 14 players, of which 11 may be on the ice at one time. Players may be substituted at anytime, and a substituted player may be used again later in the game (much like ice hockey, but with less players).

Goals are scored when the ball crosses the plane between the goal posts and under the crossbar. During a normal bandy game, about seven to eight gaols are scored (thus many more than in soccer).

A player is allowed to physically challenge ("shoulder", but no outright tackling) the opponent, but may not kick, trip, push, grasp or interfere with an opponent, nor strike, lift or slash his stick (like ice hockey used to be...).

Outfield players may pass/play/shoot the ball only with the stick but can control it with their body and feet. Players may not head the ball or control it using arms/hands. A player may jump off the ice as long as it does not endanger another player. Players may not use the stick to control the ball above shoulder height. A player may not play with a broken stick, nor can he throw the stick at the ball.The goalkeeper does not have a stick and can use his hands/body (he's got extra pads, the leg pads very similar to those of Cricket batsmen) to handle the ball inside the penalty area (an 18 yd/17m half circle, with its centre in the middle of the goal). After catching the ball, he may only hold/control the ball for five seconds before throwing/dropping it to an outfield player.

Offsides are given as in soccer, i.e. the ball may not be played to a player positioned behind the last defending player (other than the goalkeeper).

When the ball goes out of play behind the goal via an attacking player, the goalkeeper picks a new ball (from a basket hanging in the side-netting) and re-starts play just as would have if he had catch the ball (all other players have to be outside the penalty area).

A corner is given if the last player to have touched the ball was a defender. When the corner is taken, all attacking players have to be outside the penalty area, while the defending players are on the goal line or its extension (like field hockey).

Free strokes are awarded for infractions outside the penalty area, and "minor" infractions inside the penalty area (these are taken from two fixed points on the border of the penalty area). The opponents have to be at least 5 yd/m away from the free stroke (closer than soccer), and the stroke has to be taken within five seconds (no time wasting!). A free stroke is also awarded if the ball goes out of play over the touch line ("sideline") and for offsides.

Penalty strokes are awarded for goal-preventing and/or violent infractions inside the penalty area. The penalty stroke is taken from a spot 13 yd/12 m from the goal. No other player than the penalty taker is allowed in the penalty are, and the goalkeeper has to be on the goal-line.

If a player is guilty of severe or repeated infractions, he may be removed (and not replaced) from the rink and placed in a "sin-bin" for periods of five or ten minutes, depending on the severity of the infraction. Dangerous and repeated (3 times) severe infractions leads to expulsion from the game.

Eh, I thinks that's about it...

(Compiled from the 1995 Bandy World Championships official program and a 1988 IBF leaflet)