The organisers of the Men’s European Cup (MEC) have announced a tournament-specific addition to the rules stating that it will be illegal for blockers to skate forwards during gameplay.
Blockers who are seen skating forward whilst executing a block will immediately be issued a “Forward skating” penalty by the officials. Skating forward temporarily without attempting to make contact with another skater will be classed under “no impact/no penalty”.
MEC organisers commented: “This simply reflects what our participants want and the way they are already playing. We feel that we have to be flexible about adapting the rules as game dynamics change over time.”
“Backward skating has become so predominant in European Men’s derby that players have become much more proficient at playing this way. Forward skating is at this point a nearly extinct practice that makes for boring gameplay.”
“Forward skating simply presents a safety issue for a lot of our participating skaters. Many of them practice so little forward skating that they are not able to safely execute a block whilst skating forward. That is why we have decided to ban this outdated practice altogether from the tournament.”
“Forward skating is like the baseball slide. It’s just no longer relevant to modern Men’s roller derby and presents nothing but flashy, hazardous gameplay.”
When asked if they expect many Forward skating penalties to be issued during the MEC tournament, the organisers answered: “We think it’s pretty unlikely that we’ll see many skaters doing this.”
It remains to be seen whether these rule changes will be extended to jammers in upcoming years.