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Simplied Rules of Korfball

Teams must comprise 4 men and 4 women. Teams are split into two divisions, attack and defence, each consisting of 2 men and 2 women. After every two goals the divisions switch so attackers become defenders and vice versa.

Matches consist of two halves, in the Cambridge league, each of 25 minutes. The home team chooses the direction they attack in the first half and starts with the ball. In the second half the teams switch ends and the away team starts with the ball.

The object of the game is to score as many goals as possible. A goal is scored by shooting the ball into the basket, called a korf.

The referee will start and stop the game by blowing his/her whistle. When the game is re-started, e.g. after a goal or foul, the player must wait for the whistle before resuming play.

The players can only mark/defend players of the same sex.

Korfball is a non-contact sport, though don't be surprised if referees do allow some contact.

Players are not allowed to run with the ball. If a player receives the ball while stationary they may only pivot on one foot. If a player receives the ball while running and then shoots or passes, they are allowed two steps before releasing the ball.

It is an offence for an attacker to shoot while they are 'defended'. If the attacker shoots while defended, the ball is given to the defence for a restart. The attacker is 'defended' if all the following apply:

  1. The defender is nearer the post than the attacker.
  2. The defender is within an arm’s length of the attacker, i.e. the attacker is within touching distance
  3. The defender is looking at the attacker.
  4. The defender is actively defending, i.e. trying to block the ball.

The main offences that a player could commit are:

  1. Contact, i.e. pushing, barging, holding
  2. Knocking the ball out of an opponent's hand(s)
  3. Travelling, i.e. illegally moving with the ball
  4. Playing outside one’s half, e.g. a defender entering the attacking half
  5. Touching the ball with the leg or foot
  6. Playing the ball when on the ground
  7. Solo-play, e.g. trying to move position by throwing & catching the ball oneself
  8. Marking/defending a player of the opposite sex
  9. Scoring from the defensive half or direct from a free pass
  10. To grab hold of or move the post

If a player commits an offence then the punishment is one of a restart, a free pass or a penalty.

A penalty will be awarded if the attacking team has been denied a clear scoring chance, e.g. contact on a player in the act of shooting or knocking the ball from the hands of a player when another player is free to score. A penalty can be awarded no matter where the offence occurs.

A penalty is taken from a point 2.5 metres directly in front of the post. All the other players must be at least 2.5 metres from the post and from the penalty spot. The other players may not enter this zone until the ball has left the penalty takerÂ’s hands.

A free pass is taken from the penalty spot. At a free pass all the players, other than the taker must be 2.5 metres from the penalty spot. In addition the attacking players must be 2.5 metres from each other. The referee will blow the whistle to start play as soon as the players are in position or after 4 seconds, which ever is first. The taker must pass the ball to a team-mate. The team-mate may not touch the ball, nor enter the 2.5 metre zone, until it has travelled 2.5 metres from the point of the free pass. The taker must pass the ball within 4 seconds. The defenders can enter the 2.5 metre zone as soon as the taker moves the ball.