SAP Arena Handball ausverkauft.jpg
A handball game in progress at SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany
Highest governing bodyIHF
First playedLate 19th century in Denmark. Invented by Nicolaj Ernst in 1897 in Nyborg.
Registered players> 27 million (2016)[1]
ContactYes (frontal)
Team members7 per side (including goalkeeper)
Mixed genderYes, separate competitions
TypeTeam sport, ball sport
EquipmentBall and goals
VenueIndoor court
OlympicPart of Summer Olympic programme in 1936.
Demonstrated at the 1952 Summer Olympics.
Returned to the Summer Olympic programme in 1972.
World GamesBeach handball: 2001 – present (invitational sport before 2013)
Handball game highlights video

Handball (also known as team handball, European handball or Olympic handball)[2] is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outcourt players and a goalkeeper) pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 minutes, and the team that scores more goals wins.

Modern handball is played on a court of 40 by 20 metres (131 by 66 ft), with a goal in the middle of each end. The goals are surrounded by a 6-meter (20 ft) zone where only the defending goalkeeper is allowed; goals must be scored by throwing the ball from outside the zone or while "diving" into it. The sport is usually played indoors, but outdoor variants exist in the forms of field handball and Czech handball (which were more common in the past) and beach handball. The game is fast and high-scoring: professional teams now typically score between 20 and 35 goals each, though lower scores were not uncommon until a few decades ago. Body contact is permitted, the defenders trying to stop the attackers from approaching the goal. No protective equipment is mandated, but players may wear soft protective bands, pads and mouth guards.[3]

The game was codified at the end of the 19th century in Denmark. The modern set of rules was published in 1917 in Germany, and had several revisions since. The first international games were played under these rules for men in 1925 and for women in 1930. Men's handball was first played at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin as outdoors, and the next time at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich as indoors, and has been an Olympic sport since. Women's team handball was added at the 1976 Summer Olympics.

The International Handball Federation was formed in 1946 and, as of 2016, has 197 member federations.[4] The sport is most popular in the countries of continental Europe, which have won all medals but one in the men's world championships since 1938. In the women's world championships, only two non-European countries have won the title: South Korea and Brazil. The game also enjoys popularity in East Asia, North Africa and parts of South America.

Origins and development

A postage stamp from East Germany depicting handball at the 1972 Olympics

There is evidence of ancient Roman women playing a version of handball called expulsim ludere.[5] There are records of handball-like games in medieval France, and among the Inuit in Greenland, in the Middle Ages. By the 19th century, there existed similar games of håndbold from Denmark, házená in the Czech Republic, handbol in Ukraine, and torball in Germany.[6]

The team handball game of today was codified at the end of the 19th century in northern Europe: primarily in Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden. The first written set of team handball rules was published in 1906 by the Danish gym teacher, lieutenant and Olympic medalist Holger Nielsen from Ordrup grammar school, north of Copenhagen. The modern set of rules was published on 29 October 1917 by Max Heiser, Karl Schelenz, and Erich Konigh from Germany. After 1919 these rules were improved by Karl Schelenz. The first international games were played under these rules, between Germany and Belgium by men in 1925 and between Germany and Austria by women in 1930.

In 1926, the Congress of the International Amateur Athletics Federation nominated a committee to draw up international rules for field handball. The International Amateur Handball Federation was formed in 1928 and later the International Handball Federation was formed in 1946.

Men's field handball was played at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. During the next several decades, indoor handball flourished and evolved in the Scandinavian countries. The sport re-emerged onto the world stage as team handball for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Women's team handball was added at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal. Due to its popularity in the region, the Eastern European countries that refined the event became the dominant force in the sport when it was reintroduced.

The International Handball Federation organised the men's world championship in 1938 and every four (sometimes three) years from World War II to 1995. Since the 1995 world championship in Iceland, the competition has been held every two years. The women's world championship has been held since 1957. The IHF also organizes women's and men's junior world championships. By July 2009, the IHF listed 166 member federations - approximately 795,000 teams and 19 million players.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Handbal
Alemannisch: Handball
العربية: كرة اليد
aragonés: Balonmán
অসমীয়া: হেণ্ডবল
asturianu: Balonmano
azərbaycanca: Həndbol
تۆرکجه: هندبول
башҡортса: Гандбол
беларуская: Гандбол
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Гандбол
български: Хандбал
Boarisch: Handboi
bosanski: Rukomet
brezhoneg: Mell-dorn
català: Handbol
čeština: Házená
Cymraeg: Pêl-law
dansk: Håndbold
Deutsch: Handball
eesti: Käsipall
Ελληνικά: Χειροσφαίριση
español: Balonmano
Esperanto: Manpilkado
estremeñu: Balonmanu
euskara: Eskubaloi
فارسی: هندبال
føroyskt: Hondbóltur
français: Handball
Frysk: Hânbal
galego: Balonmán
한국어: 핸드볼
հայերեն: Հանդբոլ
हिन्दी: हैंडबॉल
hrvatski: Rukomet
Bahasa Indonesia: Bola tangan
Interlingue: Handball
íslenska: Handbolti
italiano: Pallamano
עברית: כדוריד
ქართული: ხელბურთი
kaszëbsczi: Rãcznô bala
қазақша: Қол добы
Kinyarwanda: Umupira w’intoke
Kiswahili: Mpira wa mkono
коми: Кисяр
лакку: Гьандбол
Latina: Manufollium
latviešu: Rokasbumba
Lëtzebuergesch: Handball
lietuvių: Rankinis
Lingua Franca Nova: Bal a mano
magyar: Kézilabda
македонски: Ракомет
മലയാളം: ഹാന്റ്ബോൾ
मराठी: हँडबॉल
მარგალური: ხებურთი
Nederlands: Handbal
norsk: Håndball
norsk nynorsk: Handball
occitan: Handbal
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Gandbol
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਹੈਂਡਬਾਲ
Plattdüütsch: Handball
português: Andebol
română: Handbal
rumantsch: Ballamaun
Runa Simi: K'akcha pukllay
русский: Гандбол
sardu: Pallamanu
Scots: Haundbaw
shqip: Hendboll
Simple English: Handball
slovenščina: Rokomet
کوردی: تۆپی دەست
српски / srpski: Рукомет
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Rukomet
suomi: Käsipallo
svenska: Handboll
Taqbaylit: Takurt n Ufus
Türkçe: Hentbol
українська: Гандбол
اردو: ہینڈ بال
Tiếng Việt: Bóng ném
粵語: 手球
Zazaki: Hendbol
中文: 手球