Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield 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.
1:1 The playing courtis a 40 meter long and 20 meter wide rectangle, consisting of two goal areas and a playing area. The longer boundary lines are called side lines, and the shorter ones are called goal lines (between the goalposts) or outer goal lines (on either side of the goal). There should be a safety zone surrounding the playing court, with a width of at least 1 meter along the side lines and 2 meters behind the goal lines. The characteristics of the playing court must not be altered during the game in such a way that one team gains an advantage.
1:2 A goal is placed in the center of each outer goal line. The goals must be firmly attached to the floor or to the walls behind them. They have an interior height of 2 meters and a width of 3 meters. The goalposts are joined by a horizontal crossbar. The rear side of the goalposts shall be in line with the rear edge of the goal line. The goalposts and the crossbar must have an 8cm square cross section. On the three sides which are visible from the court they must be painted in bands of two contrasting colors, which also contrast clearly with the background. The goals must have a net, that should be attached in such a way that a ball thrown into the goal normally remains in the goal.
1:3 All lines on the court are fully part of the area that they enclose. The goal lines shall be 8cm wide between the goalposts , whereas all other lines shall be 5cm wide. Lines between two adjacent areas may be replaced with a difference in colors between the adjacent areas of the floor.
1:4 In front of each goal there is a goal area The goal area is defined by the goal-area line (6-meter line), which is drawn as follows :
a) a 3 meter long line directly in front of the goal ; this line is parallel to the goal line and 6 meters away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the goal-area line) ;
b) two quarter circles, each with a radius of 6 meters (measured from the rear inner corner of the goalposts), connecting the 3 meter long line with the outer goal line .
1:5 The free throw line (9-meter line) is a broken line, drawn 3 meters outside the goal-area line. Both the segments of the line and the spaces between them measure 15cm .
1:6 The 7-meter line is a 1 meter long line, directly in front of the goal. It is parallel to the goal line and 7 meters away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the 7-meter line) ;
1:7 The goalkeeper’s restraining line (the 4-meter line) is a 15cm long line, directly in front of the goal. It is parallel to the goal line and 4 meters away from it (measured from the rear edge of the goal line to the front edge of the 4-meter line) ;
1:8 The center line connects the midpoints of the two side lines
1:9 The substitution line (a segment of the side line) for each team extends from the center line to a point at a distance of 4.5 meters from the center line. This end point of the substitution line is enhanced by a line which is parallel to the center line, extending 15cm inside the sideline and 15cm outside the sideline
Playing Time, Final Signal and Time-Out
2:1 The normal playing time for all teams with players of age 16 and above is 2 halves of 30 minutes. The half-time break is normally 10 minutes. The normal playing time for youth teams is 2 x 25 minutes in age group 12-16 and 2 x 20 minutes in age group 8-12. In both cases the half-time break is normally 10 minutes.
2:2 Over time is played, following a 5-minute break, if a game is tied at the end of the regular playing time and a winner has to be determined. The overtime period consists of 2 halves of 5 minutes, with a 1-minute half-time break.
If the game is again tied after a first overtime period, a second period is played after a 5-minute break. This overtime period also has 2 halves of 5 minutes, with a 1-minute half-time break.
If the game is still tied, the winner will be determined in accordance with the rules for the particular competition. In the case that the decision is to use 7-meter-throwing as tie-breaker to decide a winner, the procedures indicated below shall be followed.
2:3 The playing time begins with the referee’s whistle for the initial throw-off. It ends with the automatic final signal from the public clock or from the timekeeper. If no such signal comes, the referee whistles to indicate that the playing time is over.
2:4 Infractions and unsportsmanlike conduct that take place before or simultaneously with the final signal (for half-time or end of game, also in overtime) are to be punished, also if the resulting free-throw (under Rule 13:1) or 7-meter-throw cannot be taken until after the signal. Similarly, the throw must be retaken, if the final signal (for half-time or end of game, also in overtime) sounds precisely when a free-throw or a 7-meter throw is being executed or when the ball is already in the air. In both cases, the referees end the game only after the free-throw or 7-meter throw has been taken (or retaken) and its immediate result has been established .
2:5 For free-throws taken (or retaken) under Rule 2:4, special restrictions apply regarding player positions and substitutions. As an exception to the normal substitution flexibility, the only player substitution allowed is for one player on the throwing team. Moreover, all the team mates of the thrower must be positioned at least 3 meters away from the thrower, in addition to being outside the free-throw line of the opponents.
2:6 Players and team officials remain subject to personal punishment for infractions or unsportsmanlike conduct which take place during the execution of a free-throw or 7-meter throw in the circumstances described in Rules 2:4-5. An infraction during the execution of such a throw cannot, however, lead to a free-throw in the opposite direction.
2:7 If the referees determine that the timekeeper has given the final signal (for half-time or end of game, also in overtime) too early, they must keep the players on the court and play the remaining time. The team that was in possession of the ball at the time of the premature signal will remain in possession when the game resumes. If
the ball was out of play, then the game is restarted with the throw that corresponds to the situation. If the ball was in play, then the game is restarted with a free-throw in accordance with Rule 13:4a-b. If the first half of a game (or an overtime period) has been terminated too late, the second half must be shortened correspondingly. If the second half of a game (or an overtime period) has been terminated too late, then the referees are no longer in a position to change anything.
2:8 A time-out is obligatory when:
a) a 2-minute suspension, disqualification, or exclusion is given ;
b) a team time-out is granted;
c) there is a whistle signal from the timekeeper or the technical delegate ;
d) consultations between the referees are necessary in accordance with Rule 17:7. A time-out is normally also given in certain other situations, depending on the circumstances. Infractions during a time-out have the same consequences as infractions during the playing time.
2:9 In principle, the referees decide when the clock is to be stopped and started in connection with a time-out. The interruption of the playing time is to be indicated to the timekeeper through three short blasts on the whistle and hand signal no. 16. However, in the case of obligatory time-outs where the game has been interrupted by a whistle signal from the timekeeper or Delegate (2:8b-c), the timekeeper is required to stop the official clock
The whistle must always be blown to indicate the restart of the game after a time-out (15:5b).