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  1. ITV Report

Handball players numbers triple

Handball Photo:

It's the second biggest team sport in Europe and since the London 2012 Olympics there has been a massive surge in interest in the sport of handball.

Handball is a team sport in which two teams of seven players each (six outfield players and a goalkeeper on each team) pass a ball to throw it into the goal of the other team. A standard match consists of two periods of 30 minutes, and the team which scores the most goals wins.

Modern handball is usually played indoors, but outdoor variants exist in the forms of field handball and beach hadball.

The game is quite fast and includes body contact, as the defenders try to stop the attackers from approaching the goal. Contact is allowed only when the defensive player is completely in front of the offensive player; i.e., between the offensive player and the goal. Any contact from the side or especially from behind is considered dangerous and is usually met with penalties.

Unlike in basketball where players are allowed to commit only 5 fouls in a game, handball players are allowed an unlimited number of faults_, which are considered good defence and disruptive to the attacking team's rhythm. Certain elements of the game are reminiscent of rugby, for instance, the degree of force that defence may use to stop the attacker with the ball, together with the lack of protections and helmets.

Goals are scored quite frequently; usually both teams score at least 20 goals each, and it is not uncommon for both teams to score more than 30 goals.

One team which has benefited from the surge of interest since the London Olympics is the Leeds Met University handball team.

''I think the Olympics have shown what a fun and fast sport it is and it's loved in Britain, similar to football. We have seen triple numbers this year.

"This time last year we were struggling to get a team together- yet our last 3 men's games,we have had squads of 14, which has given us plenty of subs and the club's not known anything like it before. The club's been around 11 years and it's never been this good for us.

"It's quite a physically interactive enduring sport, so it's a good way to exercise and it's a good laugh and a good team sport.''

– Jack McMahon , Leeds Met University handball club