30 September 2021

Dean Woods


Playing Rules Update

September 2021

The International Korfball Federation (IKF) has made an overhaul of the rules for playing korfball, the first for over 12 years when the concept of re-starts was introduced for certain offences. These are permanent changes to the playing rules.

These changes are applicable for all versions of Korfball (included the ‘Guarded korfball’ version, should this be played).

Whilst many changes that have been made can be decided in Competition Regulations, those that affect the actual playing and officiating of the game are listed here, together with some important matters to be decided upon by Competition Regulations.

All clubs are asked to inform their players and referees so that they can become familiar with the changes for when korfball re-starts, both tournaments and league competitions.

Deleted rules:

Hit the ball with the fist

This rule has been deleted. (If done close to an opponent’s face it is deemed dangerous play).

Taking hold of the ball when on the ground

This rule has been deleted. (If a player dives on the ball with other players nearby, then this is considered holding off).

Hindering an opponent already hindered

This rule has been deleted. (i.e. two players can hinder one provided they are of the same gender)

Shoot when playing without a personal opponent

This rule has been deleted. Therefore, if a team has less than 8 players on the field then the opponent(s) of the ‘missing’ player(s) is/are now allowed to shoot (may be amended and kept in for youth korfball)

Referee throw-up

This rule has been deleted. If there is a matter of doubt where formerly a referee throw was given, the referee now has to make a decision one way or another as which team has the ball.

To be used in all matches:


Must be taken by the person fouled. Referee to decide who that person is for loss of scoring chance involving a pass. If the taking player is substituted, then any other player at that end takes it including the incoming player.

Playing with the foot

Now only punished if this was deliberate (i.e. no accidental touching with the leg is now punished)

Defended shooting

Nearer the post is now determined by the torso being nearer the post and not merely by the nearest foot to the post.

Solo play

Deliberately throwing the ball against an opponent’s leg -now comes under dangerous play rule but is still punished.


The paragraph about throwing a long pass from a standing position has been removed.

Re-starts, free passes and penalties

Revised texts, but the meaning is basically unchanged except for who takes a penalty (which is the player fouled). If before the penalty is taken the fouled player is substituted, then the team nominates a player from the attack zone).

Changes to be confirmed by CRs (clubs will be informed when CRs are laid down):

Substitutes allowed

Number of substitute players reduced from 8 to 6 but 8 changes are still allowed.

Assistant Coach

Formerly allowed only by CRs but are now part of the game unless determined otherwise.

Length of match

2 x 25 mins real playing time unless determined otherwise (not possible without scoreboard, timekeeper and scorer) so it is likely that EK matches will be not played with real playing time and will also probably be 2 x30 or similar. Whatever length of match will be used in EK competitions, Regional or local leagues, the length must be stipulated in the competition’s rules.

Drawn matches

These are only allowed by CRs so if competitions want to continue to allow draws then they need to legislate. ‘Normal’ rules say a new version of golden goal must be used and a winner always determined.

Golden Goal rules:

The IKF has laid down new golden goal rules within the playing rules. These are different to those used in the past which were issued within Competition Rules. All competitions are advised that they must take note of the changes and if a GG is used in their competition for any reason, then the version in the new Playing Rules must be used. The new rule means that at the end of normal time, when scores are level, play resumes (after a 1 minute break) with a throw off by the team that had possession at the end of normal time and the first goal wins. If no team scores within 10 minutes sudden death penalties take place.