Handball Rules

•• Rules For All Sports: To be eligible for playoffs, participants must play in at least 3 regular season games for their team. The purpose of the League Rep(s) are not to referee the games. Team captains and their teams are expected to referee their own games accordingly and responsibly. League Rep(s) will step-in to make important calls and clarify rules at their own discretion. If issues arise, team captains are asked to speak with the League Rep(s). No players except for captains should approach the League Rep(s) with issues. ••

A. GENERAL

  1. Teams are advised to be at the courts 10 minutes before the game.
  2. A match will consist of two 25-minute halves with a 5-minute break between halves.
  3. Teams are comprised of 6 players (1 goalie and 5 players) with a minimum of 2 female players on the floor at all times. A female goalie does count against this ratio.
  4. At minimum, a team must field at least 4 players. If only 1 female player is present, the team must play with one less player; if NO female players are present, the team will automatically forfeit the game. 

B. GAME PLAY

  1. Handball must be held in the hand. Kicking of any kind is not allowed.
  2. The ball may only be held for a maximum of 5 seconds. If the ball is held longer — as counted aloud — it will be given to the other team.
  3. A maximum of 3 steps is allowed; additional steps result in immediate stoppage of play and the relinquishment of the ball to the opposing team. The only exception to this rule is for the goalie inside the crease. The goalie can take unlimited steps within the crease but must adhere to the same 5-second rule to release the ball.
  4. The ball must completely cross the goal line inside the net for it to count as a score.
  5. A dropped ball results in a change of possession where the infraction occurred. The defensive team player must be at least 5 feet away from player restarting play, where the infraction occurred.
  6. If a defensive player intercepts or hits the ball away in mid-air, the play restarts from the point of contact between the defensive player and the ball, and NOT where the ball lands or stops. If the defensive player knocks the ball out of bounds, the play is still considered a turnover with the defensive player’s team now in possession. In that scenario, the play will also restart from the point of contact and not from the sidelines.
  7. Substitutions can be made on the fly, except for the goalie where there must be a stoppage in play.

C. CONTACT / INFRACTIONS

  1. No contact between players is allowed. Players MUST do their best to avoid contact. No swiping, hitting, or grabbing at the opposing player or the ball they are holding. When defending, players are only allowed to guard with hands up or out.
  2. Players may jump into the crease only if they can avoid any contact with opposing defenders or the goalkeeper. The player must also let go of the ball before ANY part of their body touches the ground. If the player does not have the ball, they must leave the crease immediately or be at risk of being penalized, resulting in a change of possession given to the defending team. If the player’s foot touches the line of the designated crease, it is considered a violation and ball goes to the defensive team.
  3. Updated for Season 9: Players on offence may not charge through or initiate any contact with a defending player — one who is standing between the offending player and the crease. That includes contact with any part of the defending player, including their outstretched arms. Any form of charging or illegal contact, as mentioned above, on offence will result in the defending team obtaining the ball — and subsequently, if a goal is scored on the play, it will be negated. However, a defending player — who is not positioned between the offending player and the crease — may not initiate contact by reaching in to prevent a shot or intentionally / inadvertently causing physical contact. This will result in the offending team obtaining the ball at half court or, if a goal is scored on the play, it will count.
  4. No diving for the ball along the floor.
  5. A player on defence may not be in the crease and in a position to interfere with the opponent taking a shot. Doing so will result in a penalty shot for the offensive team. A penalty shot is taken from the top of the crease without any run-up – it must be taken by the offensive player involved in the play.
  6. Running through the crease is ONLY permitted to get to the other side whether offensively or defensively; however, a player cannot interfere with an attempted shot while in the crease — whether on offence or defence. If deemed to have done so, the ball goes to opposing team. If a defensive player enters their own crease to take possession of the ball after a rebound, the offensive team gets possession at half court. If the offensive player enters the defending crease to take possession of a loose ball, the ball goes to the defending goalie.
  7. A player may not pass to themself off the wall or through the air.
  8. Balls that are out of play on the sidelines — whether off a player or the goalie — will result in the other team gaining possession where the ball went out. Defensive team player must be at least 5 feet away from the inbounding player. (Refer to D4 for balls that go out of play on the end lines.)

D. GOALKEEPING

  1. One goalkeeper is allowed per team. This player is allowed to block shots while in the crease. They may leave the crease as they please, but only ONE player is allowed in the crease at all times.
    • Teams are allowed to switch goalkeepers ONLY during stoppage in play
  2. Upon giving up a goal, the goalie can put the ball into play immediately. However, the team must pass the ball at least once before the half line. Not doing so results in loss of possession. 
  3. Goalies may not wear protective gear that will amplify their goalkeeping ability, such as hockey pads or blocker gloves. Gears such as knee-pads and goggles are allowed.
  4. Balls that are out of play on the end lines will a) result in goalie’s possession if it goes off the offensive team, or b) a corner throw-in if it goes off the defensive team.The exception is if the ball goes off the goalie and out of play on the end lines while making a save; in this case, the possession always goes to the goalie. 
  5. New crease size in effect as below picture:

Handball new crease