Floorball rules were created from elements of sports like ice hockey, soccer, basketball and others. These new created rules secure the attractiveness of the game and serve to protect the health of players in the spirit of fair-play.  The official rules of the game are published by the IFF in a 4 year cycle, always with some minor changes – rules. For the purpose of this basic series of articles the explanation of the most applied rules will be sufficient. The principle of the game is to score more goals than the opponent within the established rules.

The first official rules were created in 1986 and defined floorball as a sport without physical contact between the opponents. Due to the growth of trained players in the last years the interpretation of the rules has been liberalized. Now (for more than a decade) floorball  has been classified as a contact sport – shoulder to shoulder pushing, especially next to the board, are more than common. A significant change to fasten up the game was made in 2006 and forbade passing to the goalie, which had been allowed until that time. The current version of the rules has been used by floorball players since June 2010 and came with some small changes. The most significant one was a compulsory 2-minute bench penalty for an offence leading to a penalty shot (until that a 2-minute bench penalty simultaneously to a penalty shot was possible, but not compulsory). Furthermore women were allowed to wear skirts or dresses (shirt and skirt in one piece) instead of wearing shorts.

The match is led by two referees on the rink. They apply rules, penalize offences and their actors with equivalent decision rights. To differentiate themselves from the teams they use gray or contrast colored jerseys. They move around the rink systematically so that the players are always between them. Each of the referees controls a specific part of the rink, so they don’t miss out on anything important. In case of situations when the goal is endangered, one of the referees stands behind it and watches the goal line.

Floorball is an indoor sport played on a hard, even floor with rubber surfaces (for example taraflex) or parquets, which don’t counteract against blades and the ball and allow good movement for the goalkeeper. The game rink is surrounded with enclosed boards with rounded corners and in competitions the official size is 20 meters wide and 40 meters long. Children are playing on smaller sized rinks. The boards are 50 cm high and certified by IFF. For security reasons it is advisable to leave empty space behind them. The center line separates the rink in two equal halves and in the middle of it the center spot for the face-off is marked .

On both halves of the rink there are lines which centrally mark rectangle goal creases of a size of 4×5 m and the goalkeeper area which is 1×2,5 m. Its rear line also serves as the goal line. Moreover, there are two marks for goal posts on the rear line with the length of 1,6 m. Face-off dots are marked on the centre line and on the imaginary extensions of the goal lines, 1,5 m from the long sides of the rink. It is the same on the centre line. Altogether there are seven spots including the central one.

The goal cages are 160 cm long and 115 cm high. They are facing the rink. For competition purposes they have to be certified by IFF and have specific parameters. On the long side of the rink, 10 m long substitution zones are indicated with coloured marks. The secretariat and penalty benches are usually placed opposite the substitution zones by the centre line.

Within the goal crease the goalkeeper is allowed to catch the ball with his hands. If leaving any part of his body within the crease, he can catch the ball outside of the crease; inside he can also jump to catch it. When the goalkeeper leaves the crease he is considered a field player until he returns. After catching the ball the goalkeeper has to throw it out within 3 seconds and the ball has to touch the ground before the centre line. While performing the throwing out, players have to leave the goal crease and be in a distance of 3 m from the goalkeeper (the place where he took control of the ball). The players cannot actively disturb the goalkeeper’s throwing out. The goalkeeper is not allowed to receive a pass from a team player, he can only stop it with his feet or legs, not catch it with arms or hands. He can only receive the pass if it was unintentional, the consideration  is thereby up to the referees.

Goalkeepers do not have sticks, the rules also forbid the use of any equipment used to catch shots (like catch gloves in  ice hockey etc.). It’s compulsory to wear a certified face mask. Any other changes on the mask except painting are not allowed. All forms of adhesives or friction checking substances are prohibited. Also he is not allowed to use any equipment intended to cover the goal or equipment that covers more than the body of the goalkeeper, like big shoulder pads. It’s not allowed to keep any objects in or on the goal, the goalkeeper keeps his drinking bottle behind the boarders.

The goalkeeper area is ruled by the goalkeeper, no other field player can enter this area. Players can use sticks in the goalkeeper area unless they risk harming the goalkeeper, usually when the ball enters the goalkeeper area first. Using a foot or another part of the body in this area and passing through it is not allowed. In a situation that could lead to a goal entering the goalkeeper area by a defending player leads automatically to a penalty shot.

Images: IFF

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