Handball glossary


Game duration: A game consists of two 30-minute halves, with a 15-minute break (only at IHF events, in other competitions it can be 10 minutes) in between. If the game ends in a tie (only in the knock-out stage – from eighth-finals on), it leads to overtime, that consists of two 5-minute periods, with a 1-minute break in between them. If the game is again tied, a second period is played after a 5-minute break. Even after the second overtime the game is still tied, then a penalty shootout takes places to decide the winner. In the President’s Cup (placement round for the positions 17 – 24) an immediate penalty shoot-out follows, if the match is tied after 60 minutes.

The Ball It is made of either synthetic or leather material, and the surface is not shiny or smooth. The players can apply glue on their hands for extra grip on the ball. At Men’s World Championships, the circumference of the ball is 58 to 60 cm, and the weight is 425 – 475 grams.

Referee: A game has two referees who impose the rules and control the game. They keep switching positions from being a goal referee to a centre referee. Both are assisted by the table officials, with whom they communicate via headsets.

Court & Goal Area: The dimension of the field is 40m X 20m. The goal is 3m wide by 2m high. No player is allowed in the goal area except the goalkeeper. However, a player can jump into this area as long as he throws and releases the ball before he lands on the floor.

The Lines: The 6m represents the division between the goalkeeper and the rest of the players. The 7m is the line from where penalty shots are taken. The 9m is an arched dotted line where the attacking team resumes play after being fouled inside the line. It is also termed as a free-throw line. The Substitution line is the area from where the players leave the court when a substitution is made. The Middle line is at the centre from where the game begins at the start and after half time, or resumes after a goal is scored.

On-Court Positions
Each team has 16 players, 7 on-court (6 players and 1 goalkeeper) and 9 substitutes. A maximum of 4 officials are allowed per team.
Goalkeeper: He defends the goal with any part of the body.
Pivot (or Line Player): He plays along the 6m line and tries to get into a better goal scoring position, or creates openings for his teammates.
Left & Right Backs: They are usually tall with good shoulder power. They jump and shoot from over the defenders.
Centre Back (or Playmaker): The mastermind behind the game who sets up the maneuvers and the remaining players in the shooting positions.
Left & Right Wingers: They are usually short, more agile, and score from the angles or by counter-attacks.

Game Playing

– Double Dribble: Once a player receives the ball, he cannot bounce it, then hold it, and bounce it again.

– Kicking: Other than the goalkeeper, no other player is allowed to kick the ball.

– Playing the Ball: A player is not allowed to hold the ball for more than 3 seconds without shooting, passing or bouncing it. He also cannot take more than 3 steps without dribbling.

– Handball Fouls: Clenching, striking, charging, holding, pushing or tripping is not permitted. A player is allowed to catch, stop, throw, hit or push the ball with the help of his hands, thighs, knees, torso, and the head.

– Passive Play: It is not permitted to keep the ball without making any recognisable attempt to attack or to shoot. The official time for one attack is 30 seconds.

– Sanctions: The referee can punish a player with either a yellow card, a two-minute suspension or a red card (disqualification, player suspended for remainder of the match). After two minutes the team can replace the player. If a referee report follows on a disqualification the player is at least banned for one match.

– 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 half-time.

– 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.
Referee Throw: Awarded when the ball touches anything above the court; after a simultaneous infringement of the rules; or after simultaneous possession of the ball. The referee throws the ball vertically between two opposing players, who may grab the ball or tap it to a teammate. All other players must be 3 meters away from the throw. The referee throw is always taken at center court.

– Free-Throw: For a minor foul or violation, a free-throw is awarded to the opponent 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 post outside the 9-meter line. The thrower must keep one foot in contact with the floor, then pass or shoot.
7-Meter Throw: Awarded when a foul destroys a clear chance to score; the goalie carries the ball back into his or her own goal area; a court player intentionally plays the ball to his or her own goalie in the goal area and the goalie touches the ball; or a defensive player enters his or her goal area to gain an advantage over an attacking player in possession of the ball. All players must be outside the free-throw line when the throw is taken. Player taking throw has 3 seconds to shoot after referee’s whistle. Any player may take the 7-meter throw.
Goal-Throw: Awarded when the ball rebounds off the goalkeeper over the endline or the ball is thrown over the endline by the attacking team. The goalie takes the throw inside the goal area and is not restricted by the 3-step/3-second rule.
Corner-throw: It is awarded when a defender (not the Goalkeeper) knocks the ball behind the goal line. The player who takes it has to keep one foot on the corner of the goal line and the side line.

The playing system of France HANDBALL 2017

– Preliminary round:
24 teams face at the 25th Men’s Handball World Championship in France. After the qualification process is concluded in June 2016, a draw will decide the groups of the preliminary round. Each six teams face in four groups, which are played in the round-robin system. France as the host is entitled to choose their group at the end of the draw event.
The preliminary round is followed by two different stages: the knock-out stage, in which the positions 1 to 16 will be confirmed and the President’s Cup, the round for the final ranking 17 to 24. Those teams ranked 1-4 in each group proceed to the eighth-finals, the first part of the knock-out stage. Those teams ranked 5 and 6 continue in the President’s Cup.
At the end of the preliminary round, teams are ranked according to the total number of points gained (two points for a win, one point for a draw).
If two or more teams have gained the same number of points after the group matches have been completed, the classification is decided as follows:
– results in points between the teams concerned;
– goal differences in the matches between the teams concerned;
– greater number of plus goals in the matches between the teams concerned.

– Eighth-finals, quarter-finals, semi-finals, medal matches and placement matches:
After completion of the preliminary rounds, all matches are played in the knockout system. In case of a draw at the end of the regular playing time, after a break of five (5) minutes, a first overtime period of 2 x 5 minutes shall be played, changing sides halfway through with a one-minute break in-between. Provisions to the contrary set for individual tournaments shall be given priority. If the match should still not be decided after this overtime period, after a break of 5 minutes, a second overtime period of 2 x 5 minutes shall be played, changing ends halfway through with a one minute break in-between. Should the match still not be decided after the second overtime period, it is decided with 7m penalty throws.
In the eighth-finals the group winners face a fourth ranked team and the runners-ups of the groups face a third ranked team (A1-B4, A2-B3, B1-A4, B2-A3 and C1-D4, C2-D3, D1-C4, D2-C3).
The winners of the eighth-finals proceed to the quarter-finals.

– President’s Cup:
If a match ends in a draw, an immediate penalty shoot-out decides the winner.

– Determination of places 9-16
The losers of the eighth-finals are classified 9th-16th according to their results in the preliminary round. No placement matches will take place.

– Determination of places 5-8
The IHF will announce, if a placement round for those positions is carried out or if those positions are classified according to their results in the preliminary round.

– Determination of places 1-4
The winners of the quarter-finals face in the semi-finals. The respective winners qualify for the final, the losers meet in the bronze medal match.

– Additional competition related regulations:
Squads: 16 players may be put in per match and team. Those 16 players must be selected from the provisional team lists, which all federations have to announce to the IHF one month prior to the start of France HANDBALL 2017. The final 16 players must be nominated during the technical meetings one day prior to the opening matches. Federations have the opportunity to replace two players during the World Championship. The replacements also must be part of the 28 provisional squad lists.
The half-time break – as at all IHF events – is 15 minutes.
Team Time-Outs: All teams are entitled to call for three team time-outs during a match. In total, up to two team time-outs are allowed per half, only one team time-out is allowed in the last five minutes of a match.

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