Rules of Korfball | How it is Played?

Korfball is a Dutch game which is driven from both netball and basketball. The sport was invented by a Dutch school team in 1902.

As per one survey, there are approximately 500 clubs and more 90,000 players who play Korfball. These figures may come as a surprise to you but numbers show that this game has gained significant popularity in Netherland. It is also played in Belgium and Taiwan and 70 other countries.

Rules of Korfball

One of the distinct things about this sport is teams consist of males and females, which is one of the primary differences between korfball and basketball. The game was included in Olympic games in 1920 and 1928 as a demonstration sport but sadly it was never made a regular Olympic sport.

Object of Playing Korfball

The object of the game is to score more goals than your opponent. There are two nets on either side of the court and each team has to protect their net and attack the opposition’s net. The goals are scored by putting the ball down your opponent’s net.

How to Play?

Korfball has lots of similarities to basketball. It is played in the similar court with a ball, each side have their own halves and net which they have to protect. Both males and females can be inducted in a single side. Goals are scored by forcing the ball down the opposition’s net.

However, before you start playing, you need to learn some important rules regarding legal goals, fouls and how you can pass the ball to your opponent. You can find a detailed set of rules regarding the game in the section below.

General Rules of Korfball

  • Each team has 8 players, out which 4 are female and 4 are male.
  • Both teams stand 4 players in each half and throughout the match those players remain in the half designated to them.
  • The players in the opposition’s half are called attackers while those who stand in their own half are called attackers.
  • A goal is scored by throwing the ball through the opposition’s basket.
  • Once two goals have been scored during the match, the teams change zones. Attackers come into the defending half while defenders walk into the attacking half or in other words opposition’s half.
  • Team change ends after the half time.
  • A player cannot dribble, walk or run with the ball but can move one foot with one remaining planted to the ground.
  • Tackling, blocking or holding is prohibited.
  • You can get the ball by blocking the shot, intercepting the ball or catching the loose ball.
  • The team with most points at the end of the time is declared winner.
  • In case of an equal number of points, the match is considered a draw.

Time duration of a Korfball Match

A Korfball match is played in two halves and each half has a time length of 35 minutes. After the end of the first half, players get a 10-minute break.

Playing Field

Korfball field is pretty similar to Basketball court. The court used for this game should be 20m x 40m for indoors or if playing outdoors it should be 30m x 60m.

For goal scoring, two nets are mounted on top of each pole. The height of this pole should be 3.5m.

Playing Equipment

All you need to play korfball is a ball. The size of this ball remains between 59-60cm in circumference and the weight must not be less than 310g and should not exceed 330g when fully inflated.

Korfball is a safe game and players are not allowed to tackle each other in such a way that could be dangerous for any of the two. Thus, there is no such protective equipment required.

Beach Korfball

Korfball can also be played on the beach but with slight differences in the rules and of course, the field dimensions.

  • Each team can field 4 players (2 males and 2 females) and make 2 substitutions in the game.
  • Each match consists of 2 halves of 6 minutes. After the first half, players get a 1-minute rest.
  • The playing field is 20 metres by 10 metres. Goals are placed 4 metres from the end line.
  • Free shots are taken from the spot where offense occurs.
  • In the end, the team with the most points is declared winner.

Referee’s Role

The referee’s job is to maintain order in the game and ensure that each player is obeying the rules of the game. And for this, a referee must be well-versed with the rules of the game, which can vary a bit from country to country.

Famous Korfball Tournaments

Though the game is mostly played in Netherland, Britain and a few other countries, a few competitive tournaments are held once in a year or two to keep the game nourishing and spreading. Some of the famous Korfball tournaments are:

  • World games
  • IKF World Korfball Championship
  • Continental Championships
  • Europa Cup for clubs

Governing Body

The International Korfball Federation (IKF) is the governing body of the game whose responsibility is to organise major international tournaments, most notably IKF World Korfball Championship.

The federation was founded in 1933 in Antwerp, Belgium. The current headquarters is located in Zeist, Netherlands.