Who Are The Officials In A Handball Game?

Officials in handball include 2 referees, a scorekeeper, and a timekeeper. The court referee and the goal line referee switch positions after each attack. The referees need to be (IHF) certified to officiate a handball game.

The officials in handball are different from those in football or rugby as they change positions with every attack. While the field referee looks at player’s movements, the goal line referee only focuses on actually checking if the ball crosses the line with every try. Referees can also change sides every 5 minutes or less often within 2-3 attacks.

What are officials in handball responsible for?

Referees are generally responsible for how a handball game proceeds and to ensure all the rules of the game are abided.

Officials in handball – pre-match tasks

  • One of the first duties of handball officials before the game is to ensure both kits abide by current regulation and that the two teams are distinguishable on the court
  • Players’ names are added to the scoresheet as they arrive
  • Both goal sets are checked by handball officials, similarly to those in other sports
  • The officials set the starting times of a game, which can be postponed due to weather conditions or other imminent variables
  • Handball officials also discuss the ways they are going to rotate during the game
  • These discussions involve communication on the frequency of side changes for the two referees

Officials in handball – during the match tasks

  • Handball officials are responsible for the coin toss proceedings at the beginning of the game
  • Referees show the spots for throws during the game
  • Referees award penalties
  • Referees dictate passive play when the attacking team is not engaging in an attack when they try to throw off soon after conceding a goal
  • Referees ensure the team which concedes a goal resumes attacking play from their goal line
  • Player substitution is only allowed by the referee
  • Fouls are dictated by referees
  • Bench behavior limits are set by handball officials
  • Referees are responsible to implement the last-minute rule
  • Time outs and eliminations are dictated by referees

Who can become an official in handball?

Not everybody can become a referee and tests need to be passed to reach the status. Handball associations have their referees which are selected from national leagues as seen in the examples of the European Handball Federation below.

  • Austria – 10 referees
  • Azerbaijan – 6 referees
  • Belgium – 4 referees
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – 12 referees
  • Belarus – 8 referees
  • Bulgaria – 2 referees

    handball officials training cours
    Handball officials training course.
  • Croatia – 16 referees
  • Cyprus – 4 referees
  • Czech Republic – 12 referees
  • Denmark – 14 referees
  • Spain – 16 referees
  • Estonia – 2 referees
  • Finland – 6 referees
  • France – 16 referees
  • Great Britain – 6 referees
  • Georgia – 2 referees
  • Germany – 14 referees
  • Greece – 14 referees
  • Hungary – 14 referees
  • Iceland – 8 referees
  • Israel – 12 referees
  • Italy – 10 referees
  • Kosovo – 14 referees
  • Latvia – 10 referees
  • Lithuania – 12 referees
  • Luxemburg – 4 referees
  • Moldova – 4 referees
  • North Macedonia – 20 referees
  • Malta – 2 referees
  • Montenegro – 12 referees
  • Nederland – 6 referees
  • Norway – 14 referees
  • Poland – 12 referees
  • Portugal – 18 referees
  • Romania – 24 referees
  • Russia – 16 referees
  • Slovakia – 14 referees
  • Serbia – 16 referees
  • Switzerland – 6 referees
  • Sweden – 16 referees
  • Turkey – 6 referees
  • Ukraine – 12 referees

european handball federation official referees

Referee training is available and it aims to teach those involved how to get conduct a handball game. Studies on handball referees show that most errors are made by goal-line referees. Plenty of attention needs to be given to all officials in handball and their demanding tasks during training. Feel free to learn more about the rules of European handball and all of the decisions which officials need to take during a game.

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