Team Handball


    The Playing Court

    The goal area line is probably the most important line.  No one except the goalie is allowed to stand in the goal area.


    Number of Players

    A team consists of seven players on each team - six court players and one goalie.  Substitutes may enter the game at any time through own substitution area as long as the player they are replacing has left the court.


    Duration of the Game

    A team handball game will consist of 2 20 minute halves with a 3 minute halftime.  Running time is used except for injury and each team has one time-out per half.


    Referee Throw

    Awarded when:

    ŸThe ball touches anything about the court

    ŸSimultaneous infringement of the rules

    ŸSimultaneous possession


    Referee throws the ball vertically between two opposing players.  Players jumping may grab the ball or tap it to a teammate.  All other players must be 3 meters away from the throw.  Time-out is called and the referee throw is always taken at center court.


    Free Throw

    For a minor foul or violation, a free throw is awarded to the opponents at the exact spot it took place.  If the foul or violation occurs between the goal area line and the 9 meter line.  The throw is taken from the nearest point outside the 9 meter line.  All players on the team taking the free throw must be outside the 9 meter line.  Opponents must be 3 meters away from the ball when the throw is taken.  The thrower must keep one foot in contact with the floor, then pass or shoot.


    Goal Throw

    Awarded when

    ŸThe ball rebounds off the goalkeeper over the  


    ŸThe ball is thrown over the endline by the

       attacking team.


    Progressive Punishments

    Fouls that require more punishment than just a free throw.  “Actions” directed mainly at the opponent progressively (e.g. reaching around, holding, pushing, hitting, tripping or jumping into opponent and not the ball) are to be punished.


    Warnings (Yellow Card)

    Referee gives only one warning to a player for

    rule violations and a total of three to a team.


    Exceeding these limits results in 2-minute

    suspensions thereafter. 


    Warnings are not required prior to give a 2

    minute suspension.


    Passive Play

    It is illegal to keep the ball in a team’s

    Possession without making a recognizable

    attempt to attack and try to score.  In other

    words, a team cannot stall (freethrow awarded

    for opponents).


    Throw Off

    Taken by the team that wins the coin toss and chooses to start the game with the ball.  Each team must be in its own half of the court with the defense 3 meters away from the ball.  Following a whistle, the ball is passed from center court to a teammate and play begins.  Throw off is repeated after every goal scored and after halftime.



    Goal is scored when entire ball crosses goal line inside the goal.  Goal may be scored from any throw (i.e. free throw, throw in, throw off, goal throw).


    Playing the Ball

    Player is allowed to

    ŸRun with the ball 3 steps (violation is a free throw)

    ŸHold the ball 3 seconds (violation is a free throw)

    ŸUnlimited dribble with 3 steps allowed before and after dribbling (no double dribble)


    Player is not allowed to

    ŸEndanger an opponent with the ball

    ŸPull, hit or punch the ball out of the hands of an opponent

    ŸContact the ball below the knee

    ŸDive on the floor for a rolling or stationary ball


    Defending the Opponent

    A player is allowed to use the torso of the body to obstruct an opponent with or without the ball.  However, using the outstretched arms or legs to obstruct, push, hold, trip, or hit is not allowed.  The attacking player is not allowed to charge into a defensive player (free throw awarded).


    Throw In

    Awarded when ball goes out of bounds on the sideline or when the ball is last touched by a defensive player (excluding the goalie) and goes out of bounds over the endline.  The throw in is taken from the spot where the ball crossed the sideline, or if it crossed the endline, from the nearest corner.  The thrower must place one foot on the sideline to execute the throw.  All opposing players must stay 3 meters away from the ball. 


    2 Minute Suspension

    Awarded for

    ŸSerious or repeated rule violations

    ŸUnsportsmanlike conduct

    ŸIllegal substitution

    The suspended player’s team plays short for 2 minutes.


    Disqualification and Exclusion (Red Card)

    Disqualification - three 2 minute suspensions; disqualified player must leave court and bench but team may replace the player after the 2 minute suspensions expires


    Exclusion - given for assault; excluded player’s team continues short one player for the remainder of the game.