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History Of Handball

What is the history of Handball? What are its origins? Where did Handball come from? Who invented it? Here is the history of Handball.

Handball History

Table of Contents


What are the basic rules of Handball?

Handball is a sport played between two teams, where the objective is to score more goals than the opposing team. Matches are typically composed of two 30 minute halves. Each team has 7 players, one of which is the goalie. A goal is scored when a team throws the ball into the opposing team's net.

There are many rules about what a player can and can not do. For example, players may not touch the ball with their knees, legs, or feet. There is also a designated area surrounding the goal, which only the goalkeeper may stand in. A player who has possession of the ball must either dribble the ball, or possess it for less than three seconds. If a player holds onto the ball for longer than three seconds without passing, shooting, dribbling, a travelling foul will occur. As a result, the other team gets possession.


Which Country Started Handball?

Handball has origins from many different countries. By the late 19th century, handball was being played in Germany, Scandinavia, Czech Republic, and Ukraine. The first evidence of handball goes back to long before, however. The women of the Roman Empire played a game similar to handball, which they called expulsim ludere. There were other handball-like games played in Medieval France.

The first games of Olympic handball were played in 1936 in Berlin. This was just 8 years after the International Amateur Handball Federation was formed. In 1946, the International Handball Federation was formed.


Who Invented Handball?

No one man or woman invented handball or made it an official sport. However, the International Amateur Handball Federation can be credited for legitimizing the sport in 1928.


When was Handball Established?

In 1928, handball was established as a sport. In 1936, men's field handball was added to the Olympics. During the following decades, handball was played in Scandanavian countries. In 1972, indoor handball was first played at the Olympics. The first instance of women's Olympic handball was in 1976, in Montreal. However, the women's world championship was begun in 1957.


Adding handball to the Olympics helped promote the sport and make it much more popular. In 1972, when indoor handball became a part of the Summer Olympics, handball became quite popular in Eastern Europe.

The IHF also organizes junior championships, which helps younger players get involved. This was important for growing the sport across all audiences. By 2009, there were 795,000 teams across the globe, and more than 19 million players.


  • Germany
  • France
  • Spain
  • Romania
  • Croatia
  • Poland
  • Macedonia
  • Norway
  • France
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Serbia
  • Netherlands
  • United States
  • Portugal
  • Brazil
  • United Kingdom
  • Slovakia
  • Czech Republic

Handball History Key Facts and Timeline

  • Medieval ages - Handball-like games are first played
  • Late 19th century - creation of handball as a modern sport
  • October 1917 - Modern Rules created
  • 1919 - Rules updated and changed
  • 1925 - First recognized international handball game
  • 1926 - Committee of Amateur Handball created
  • 1936 - Field handball played at Summer Olympics
  • 1946 - Creation of International Handball Federation
  • 1957 - First ever Women's World Championship
  • 1972 - Indoor Handball added to Olympics
  • 1976 - Women's Handball added to Olympics


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