Olympics: Hockey becomes a game of four quarters

LONDON (REUTERS) - Hockey will no longer be a game of two halves at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, with the sport announcing on Thursday a change to a four-quarter format to broaden its appeal to broadcasters and fans.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) said in a statement that four 15-minute quarters would replace the previous two 35-minute halves.

Playing time will be maximised, however, with the introduction of 40-second timeouts following the award of a penalty corner and the scoring of a goal.

After the first and third quarters each team will have a two-minute break, with a 10-minute break at half-time.

"With the additional breaks fans will have the opportunity to enjoy more replays and be more engaged with the event, whether in the stadium or watching from afar, while hockey commentators will be allowed more time to provide sport analysis between plays," said FIH president Leandro Negre.

The FIH said the new format would make the game faster and more exciting while allowing organisers and broadcasters "to develop more engaging fan experiences, both at the venue, on TV and online".

The four-quarter format has already been tried out in the Euro Hockey League and in India. It will apply to all continental Olympic qualifying events from Sept 1.

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