A Guide To Handball In France

Handball is a fast-paced, dynamic sport that has captured the hearts of many across France. Known for its rich history and competitive spirit, it’s no wonder handball is one of the country’s most popular sports.

In this guide to Handball in France, we’ll explore everything from the game’s origins and rules to its impact on French culture and promising future developments.

Key Takeaways

  • Handball is a popular and exciting sport in France, with a rich history and talented players.
  • French handball is governed by rules and regulations that ensure fair play and player safety.
  • French handball fans have plenty of national and international tournaments to follow throughout the season, including Lidl Starligue, Coupe de France, EHF Champions League, IHF World Men’s Handball Championship, Women’s leagues (LFH Division 1 & Division 2), beach handball events such as ITFE Ile-de-France, Montpellier Beach Handball Cup, Mediterranean Beach Games among others.

Understanding Handball Basics In France

Handball in France has a few basic rules, including the use of hands to move the ball and throwing it into the opponent’s goal.

The History And Origins Of Handball In France

Tracing the history of handball in France takes us back to medieval times when a similar game was played among locals and even the Inuit community in Greenland. This primitive form of handball underwent numerous transformations over the centuries, with different variations emerging across Europe in the 19th century.

In France, handball as an organised sport began to flourish during the 1930s. Its popularity grew exponentially post World War II, establishing itself as one of France’s favourite sports.

The French men’s national team is a true testament to handball’s illustrious history within the country. Widely regarded as one of the most successful teams globally, they have won six World Cups, more than any other nation, and are also known for their incredible feat of holding all three major titles twice (Olympic Gold Medalist, World Champions and European Champions).

Rules And Regulations Of Handball In France

Handball is governed by a set of rules and regulations that ensure fair play and safety for the players. Here are some important rules and regulations of handball in France:

  1. The game is played with a ball that must be passed, bounced or thrown between the players to score a goal.
  2. Each team consists of seven players, including a goalkeeper.
  3. A player can hold the ball for up to three seconds before they need to pass or shoot it.
  4. Contact with another player is allowed within certain limits, but tackling from behind is strictly prohibited.
  5. If a player commits an infringement, such as holding an opponent or obstructing their progress, they will receive either a warning or a two-minute suspension.
  6. Players are not allowed to touch the ground with their feet while in possession of the ball, except for the goalkeeper.
  7. If the ball goes out of play, possession is awarded to the opposing team via throw – in or corner throw depending on which team touched it last.
  8. The game is divided into two 30-minute halves with a 10-minute break between them.
  9. If both teams have scored equal goals at the end of the game, it will end in a draw unless it’s knockout stage where extra time and penalties are played to determine a winner.

These are some of the main rules and regulations that govern handball in France. Understanding these guidelines can help fans appreciate this exciting sport even more!

Positions And Players Roles In French Handball

Handball is a team sport with seven players on each side, including one goalkeeper. Each player has specific positions and roles to play in the game. The positions in French Handball include the goalkeeper, left wing, right wing, pivot, center back (also called middle-back), left back and right back.

The wings are positioned on either side of the court and are primarily responsible for scoring goals by jumping and shooting towards the goalpost. The pivot plays an essential role in handball as they operate at close range with opponents attempting to reach around them or over them preventing defenders from getting through.

Center backs lead plays during offensive phases while also being agile enough to switch up their position based on defensive requirements needed between attack lines.

Famous French Handball Players

France is known for producing some of the world’s best handball players. Here are some of the most famous French handball players:

Nikola Karabatić – Widely considered as one of the greatest handball players in history, Karabatić has won numerous titles with both club teams and the French national team.

Thierry Omeyer – A legendary goalkeeper who has won multiple Olympic gold medals, World Championships and European Championships.

Daniel Narcisse – A two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Champion, Narcisse was known for his explosive speed and agility on the court.

Luc Abalo – With a lightning-fast running style and quick reflexes, Abalo has been an integral part of France’s national team for years.

Didier Dinart – Known for his excellent defensive skills, Dinart won multiple titles with both France’s national team and his club teams throughout his career.

Jackson Richardson – One of the pioneers of modern handball, Richardson helped lead France to its first ever major international title at the 1995 World Championships.

Guillaume Gille – Currently coaching France’s national team, Gille was a key player during France’s dominant run in the late 2000s that saw them win back-to-back Olympic gold medals and three consecutive World Championships.

French handball fans have plenty to cheer about with these impressive players leading their nation to victory on numerous occasions.

Handball Competitions And Events In France

There are various handball competitions and events in France, from national and international tournaments to club leagues and beach handball events.

National And International Tournaments In France

France is a hub for handball tournaments, with both national and international events taking place every year. Here are some of the top tournaments that handball fans need to know about:

Lidl Starligue – This is the premier handball league in France, featuring 14 teams competing over 26 rounds. The league runs from September to June each year, with the top eight teams qualifying for the playoffs.

Coupe de France – This is the national cup competition in France, featuring teams from all divisions of French handball. The competition takes place throughout the season, with the final typically held in May.

EHF Champions League – This is Europe’s premier club handball competition, featuring the best teams from across Europe. French clubs have had great success in this tournament in recent years, with Montpellier (2003-04) and Chambery Savoie (2009-10) winning the trophy.

IHF World Men’s Handball Championship – France has been incredibly successful in this tournament, winning six titles overall (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2017).

IHF World Women’s Handball Championship – While France hasn’t won this tournament yet, they have finished as runners-up on two occasions (1999 and 2011) and regularly finish among the top teams.

Beach Handball Euro Championships – In addition to indoor handball tournaments, France also hosts a number of beach handball tournaments each year. The European Championships take place biennially and feature both men’s and women’s competitions.

Whether you’re a fan of indoor or beach handball, there are plenty of exciting tournaments to follow throughout the season!

Club Competitions And Leagues In France

French Handball has several Club Competitions and Leagues, which are a major attraction for handball fans. Here is a list of some of the most famous club competitions and leagues to follow:

Lidl StarLigue – The top-tier domestic league in France consists of 14 teams that play each other twice during the season. The top four teams qualify for the Champions League, while the bottom two teams are relegated to ProLigue.

Trophée des champions – It’s an annual competition contested between the winners of the French Cup and Lidl StarLigue, typically held before the start of each season.

Coupe de la Ligue – This is the French League Cup tournament in which all Lidl StarLigue teams participate; it takes place between September and December each year.

EHF Champions League – The most significant international club competition in European Handball includes several French clubs such as PSG Handball and Montpellier Handball.

Women’s leagues – There are also women’s handball leagues in France, including LFH Division 1 and Division 2.

French handball teams have had great success in these competitions over recent years; for instance, PSG Handball was runner-up in both 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 EHF Champions League campaigns, while Montpellier Handball is a former EHF Cup winner.

Aspiring players can find inspiration by watching their favourite clubs compete at these tournaments or even try out playing at one of them someday!

Beach Handball Events In France

Beach handball is gaining popularity in France with several events taking place across the country. Here are some of the top beach handball events in France:

ITFE Ile-de-France: One of the largest beach handball tournaments in France, held annually in July. Teams from all over Europe come to compete.

French Handball Championships: The French Handball Federation organises an annual beach handball championship that draws the best teams from around the country.

National Beach Handball Tour: A series of tournaments held throughout the summer around the beaches of France, culminating in a national final.

Montpellier Beach Handball Cup: Held at one of the most beautiful beaches in France, this tournament attracts top-level international teams.

Mediterranean Beach Games: Every four years, Mediterranean countries come together to compete in various sports, including beach handball.

Nice International Tournament: An annual tournament featuring top-level teams from Europe and beyond.

Beach handball is played on sand and differs slightly from indoor handball, with smaller teams and modified rules. It’s a fast-moving game that requires precision passing, shooting, and teamwork. If you’re in France during the summer months, attending a beach handball event is a must for any sports fan!

Handball Training And Coaching Programs In France

If you’re an aspiring handball player in France, there are several training and coaching programs available to help improve your skills. Here are some of the best:

  1. ITFE IledeFrance: This program offers comprehensive handball training to children and adults alike. They have qualified trainers who work with players at all skill levels.
  2. French Handball Federation (FFHB): FFHB offers a range of training programs for both coaches and players. They offer courses and certifications that cover topics like strength training, nutrition, game strategy, and more.
  3. National Training Centers: The French government has established several national training centers across the country that focus on developing young talent in various sports including handball. These centers provide state-of-the-art facilities and expert coaching to train future Olympians.
  4. Club-Specific Programs: Many top-tier clubs in France also have their own specialized training programs that focus on specific aspects of the game. If you’re a member of a club, check with your coach or team manager to see if they offer any additional training opportunities.
  5. Private Coaches: For those looking for one-on-one attention, private handball coaches are also available throughout France. These individuals typically bring years of playing and coaching experience to the table and specialize in customizing training routines according to individual needs.

No matter which program you choose, be prepared to put in hard work and dedication to reach your goals as a handball player in France!

Handball In French Culture

French handball clubs like Paris Saint-Germain Handball and Montpellier HB have become household names in France, with fans following their every game.

Popular French Handball Clubs And Teams

Handball is one of the most popular sports in France, with a rich history and many successful clubs and teams. Here are some of the most popular French handball clubs and teams:

Paris Saint-Germain Handball: One of the most successful French handball clubs, PSG Handball has won eight LNH titles and four Coupe de la Ligue trophies.

Montpellier HB: The most successful French club in European competitions, Montpellier HB has won three EHF Champions League trophies, as well as 14 LNH titles.

HBC Nantes: Based in Nantes, HBC Nantes has become one of the top handball teams in France, with multiple LNH titles and several strong showings in the Champions League.

Chambéry Savoie Handball: Founded in 1984, Chambéry Savoie Handball has had strong performances both domestically and internationally, including two appearances in the EHF Cup finals.

Dunkerque HB: Another competitive team from Northern France, Dunkerque HB has won multiple LNH titles over the years and regularly challenges for silverware.

US Ivry Handball: Located just outside Paris, US Ivry Handball has been a consistent presence in French handball for decades, with two Coupe de France titles to their name.

Pays d’Aix UC: Based in Aix-en-Provence in Southern France, Pays d’Aix UC regularly competes at the top levels of French handball and has made several appearances in European competitions.

Toulouse Handball: A newer team on the scene, Toulouse Handball was founded in 2016 but quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with thanks to its talented young squad.

AS Nancy-Lorraine Handball: Though not quite as successful as some of their peers listed here, AS Nancy-Lorraine Handball has had moments of glory over the years, including a Coupe de France win in 2008.

Saint-Raphaël Var Handball: Another recent entrant to the top levels of French handball, Saint-Raphaël Var Handball has quickly made its mark on the sport, finishing as runner-up in the LNH in both 2016 and 2019.

Overall, there are many great French handball clubs and teams to follow and support, each with its own unique history and traditions. Whether you’re a fan of powerhouse PSG or up-and-comer Toulouse, there is no shortage of exciting action to watch in French handball today.

Role Of Handball In Promoting Sportsmanship And Teamwork In France

Handball is not just a sport in France, it’s a way of life. It promotes sportsmanship and teamwork among its players and fans, creating a culture that values hard work and dedication.

Handball teams in France are well-known for their cooperation, both on the court and off.

Moreover, the sport encourages an inclusive environment where everyone can participate regardless of gender or ability level. Women’s handball is just as popular as men’s handball in France which has contributed towards gender equality immensely.

By promoting these positive values within society, handball has won itself a place at the heart of French sporting culture over time.

French Handball’s Impact On Sports Culture

Handball has a major impact on French sports culture. The sport receives a lot of attention from fans and the media, particularly during high-profile events such as national championships and international competitions.

Beyond its cultural influence, handball also plays an important role in promoting teamwork and sportsmanship. As one of France’s most popular team sports, handball encourages players to work closely together to achieve their goals.

This sense of cooperation extends beyond just the field of play; many French schools incorporate handball into their curricula as a way to foster positive social interaction among students.

The Future Of Handball In France

Developing handball associations and investing in the sport’s finances are crucial to the growth of handball in France.

Developing And Growing Handball In France

The French love their handball, and it’s no surprise considering its rich history in the country. With six world cup wins, France is a dominant force in handball. But how does the sport continue to grow and develop in the country? For starters, there are thousands of handball clubs across France with countless young players eager to take part.

Over time, this could lead to more investment into developing facilities and resources for training and coaching programs at all levels. The annual budgets of top-level professional clubs like Paris Saint-Germain Handball can reach up to €7 million ($8.3 million), showing that there is interest and financial backing for the sport as well.

Did you know that ITFE IledeFrance created a “HandBall Project” aiming at promoting the game among women living within underprivileged areas? Or that by winning Olympic gold against Denmark during Rio 2016 games made French fans even more passionate about supporting their team?

With all these positive developments coupled with great support from fans both localy and globally (thanks largely due to social media platforms), there’s every chance that we’ll see increasing levels of participation leading not only to enhanced development but also future heightening popularity beyond what we’ve seen already!

Opportunities For Handball Players In France

If you’re a handball enthusiast in France, you may be interested to know the opportunities available for players. Here’s a list of some options:

  1. Join a local team: France has many handball clubs, so look up teams in your area and join one that suits your level. It’s an excellent way to meet other handball fans and improve your skills.
  2. Participate in tournaments: You can take part in local or national tournaments to showcase your talent and gain exposure. There are also regular international tournaments hosted around the country for both men’s and women’s teams.
  3. Train with a coach: If you’re serious about improving your game, consider hiring a coach who can help you develop specific skills and techniques.
  4. Attend training camps: Various training camps are available across France throughout the year, where you can learn from experienced coaches and gain exposure to different playing styles.
  5. Pursue professional opportunities: If you have exceptional skills, consider joining professional clubs or even the French national team. Handball is one of France’s most popular sports, meaning there are plenty of opportunities available for talented players.

With its fast-paced action and dynamic gameplay, handball is an exciting sport that offers numerous opportunities for players to thrive in France. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, there are plenty of options to suit every level of skill and experience.

Benefits Of Playing Handball In France

Playing handball in France comes with a lot of benefits, and here are some of them:

  1. Improves cardiovascular endurance: Handball is a high-intensity sport that requires players to run, jump, and move around constantly. Playing regularly can help improve your cardio fitness and overall health.
  2. Builds strength: The physicality of handball means that players need to have good upper body strength to throw the ball accurately and powerfully. Regular games can help develop muscle tone and strength.
  3. Enhances coordination: In handball, players need to be able to catch, throw, dodge, dribble and shoot with precision while running at high speed. This improves hand-eye coordination and reaction time.
  4. Promotes teamwork: Handball is a team sport where each player has an important role to play on the court. Players learn how to work together towards a common goal while learning effective communication skills.
  5. Boosts confidence: By participating in regular games or competitions, players can develop self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment that carries over into other areas of life.
  6. Provides social outlet: Joining a handball club or team provides an opportunity to interact with others who share a similar interest in sports and physical activity, which helps build friendships and promotes socialization.
  7. Improves mental agility: With its fast-paced nature, playing handball requires quick thinking, decision-making skills under pressure, and strategic planning – all skills which can be useful in everyday life situations.

So what are you waiting for? Grab a ball and start playing handball today!


In conclusion, handball is an exciting and popular sport in France, with a rich history and talented players. As outlined above, understanding the basics of French handball rules, regulations and player positions are crucial for enjoying the game.

With national and international tournaments taking place throughout the year, there’s always an opportunity to get involved in this dynamic sport.

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