International Handball Federation
Other Sports
Preceding organisationsInternational Amateur Athletic Federation
(1926 – 1928)
International Amateur Handball Federation
(1928 – 1946)
Year of formation12 July 1946; 75 years ago (1946-07-12)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Membership size209 members
Other affiliation(s)
PresidentDr. Hassan Moustafa
Honorary President
  • Peter Merian-Strasse 23, P.O. Box CH-4002 Basel
General DirectorMs. Amal Khalifa
Official language(s)English, French and German
Main organIHF Congress
IHF Council
SponsorsHummel International
Lagardère Sports
Molten Corporation

The International Handball Federation (IHF) is the administrative and controlling body for handball and beach handball.[1] IHF is responsible for the organisation of handball's major international tournaments, notably the IHF World Men's Handball Championship, which commenced in 1938, and the IHF World Women's Handball Championship, which commenced in 1957.

IHF was founded in 1946 to oversee international competitions. Headquartered in Basel, its membership now comprises 209 national federations. Each member country must each also be a member of one of the six regional confederations: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Caribbean, Oceania, and South and Central America. Dr. Hassan Moustafa from Egypt has been President of the IHF since 2000.


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The IHF was founded on 11 July 1946, in Copenhagen (Denmark) by representatives of eight national federations. The founding members were Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The first president of IHF was Gösta Björk from Sweden. Björk was replaced in 1950 by Hans Baumann from Switzerland. In 1954, the first IHF Men's World Championship, was conducted under the aegis of the IHF, in Sweden with the participation of six national teams. In 1957, the first IHF World Women's Handball Championship was held in SFR Yugoslavia with the participation of nine national teams. Handball was included in the Olympic Games for the first time under the auspices of IHF in Munich 1972 (men's tournament) and Montreal 1976 (women's tournament).

In July, 2021 the Federation came under fire for fining the Norway women's team for wearing shorts instead of the mandated female uniform of bikini bottoms. Their male counterparts are permitted to wear shorts. The players were fined 150 Euros per player, and the team will dispute the fine accusing the federation of sexist double standards.[2]


Laws and governance

IHF is headquartered in Basel, and is a federation established under the Law of Switzerland. IHF's supreme body is the IHF Congress, an assembly made up of representatives from each affiliated member association. Each national handball association has one vote, regardless of its size or handballing strength. The Congress assembles in ordinary session once in two years (odd years) after the IHF World Men's Handball Championship. The congress makes decisions relating to IHF's governing statutes and their method of implementation and application. Only the Congress can pass changes to IHF's statutes. The congress approves the annual report, and decides on the acceptance of new national associations and holds elections. Congress elects the President of IHF, its General Secretary, and the other members of the IHF Council. IHF's Council, chaired by the President, is the main decision-making body of the organisation in the intervals of Congress. The Council is composed of 18 people: the President, 5 Vice Presidents, and 12 members. The Council is the body that decides which country will host the World Championship. The President and General Secretary are the main officeholders of IHF, and are in charge of its daily administration, carried out by the General Secretariat. Dr. Hassan Moustafa is the current president, appointed in the year 2000 at the 28th Ordinary IHF Congress.

Six confederations and 209 national associations

The IHF is composed of six continental federations which organize continental championships held every other second year: African Handball Confederation, Asian Handball Federation, European Handball Federation, North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation, Oceania Continent Handball Federation, and South and Central America Handball Confederation. In addition to continental competitions between national teams, the federations arrange international tournaments between club teams.[3]

Until 2017, there were five continental confederations. On 14 January 2018, the IHF Council divided the Pan-American Confederation into the North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation and the South and Central America Handball Confederation. The authority to divide a continental confederation was assigned to the IHF Congress, but the 36th IHF Congress in 2017 authorized the IHF Council to divide the Pan-American Team Handball Federation.[4]

IHF Presidents

S. No. Name Country Term
1. Gösta Björk  Sweden 11 July 1946 – 9 September 1950
2. Hans Baumann*   Switzerland 9 September 1950 – 9 February 1971
Paul Högberg (Interim President)  Sweden 9 February 1971 – 23 August 1972
3. Paul Högberg  Sweden 23 August 1972 – 25 July 1984
4. Erwin Lanc  Austria 25 July 1984 – 26 November 2000
5. Hassan Moustafa  Egypt 26 November 2000 – present

IHF Executive Committee

Following is the IHF Executive Committee for the term 2017 – 2021.

Designation Name
President Egypt Hassan Moustafa
1st Vice-President France Joël Delplanque
Treasurer Sweden Anna Rapp
Executive Members Romania Narcisa Lecușanu
Czech Republic František Táborský
Managing Director Egypt Amal Khalifa

IHF Council

Main article: IHF Council

The IHF Council is the IHF's main decision-making body between meetings of the IHF Congress. It is currently serving a 2017–2021 term.

IHF Commissions

Commission Chairperson
IHF Commission of Organising and Competitions Denmark Per Bertelsen
IHF Playing Rules and Referees Commission Spain Ramón Gallego
IHF Commission of Coaching and Methods Germany Dietrich Späte
IHF Medical Commission Ivory Coast François Gnamian
IHF Commission for Development Sweden Stefan Albrechtson
IHF Athletes' Commission Croatia Igor Vori
IHF Arbitration Commission Croatia Tomislav Grahovac
IHF Arbitration Tribunal Montenegro Zoran Radojičić
IHF Ethics Commission Egypt Hussein Moustafa Fathy

IHF Tournaments

Beach Handball
Wheelchair Handball
Club Handball
Multi-Sport Events

Title holders

International title holders

Competition Men's Champion Women's Champion
World Cup  Denmark (2021) (2)  Netherlands (2019) (2)
Handball Olympic Tournament  Denmark (2016) (1)  Russia (2016) (1)
Emerging Nations Championship  Georgia (2019) (1)
Junior World Cup  France (2019) (2)  Hungary (2018) (1)
Youth World Cup  Egypt (2019) (1)  Russia (2018) (3*)
Handball Youth Olympic Tournament  Slovenia (2014) (1)  South Korea (2014) (1)
IHF Inter-Continental Trophy  Kosovo (2019) (1)  Bulgaria (2017) (2)
Club World Cup Spain FC Barcelona (2019) (5*) Angola 1º de Agosto (2019) (1*)
Beach Handball World Cup  Brazil (2018) (5)  Greece (2018) (1)
Youth Beach Handball World Cup  Spain (2017) (1*)  Hungary (2017) (1*)

Continental title holders

Africa Asia Europe Oceania Pan-America
Senior Men's  Egypt (2020) (7*)  Qatar (2020) (4*)  Spain (2020) (2*)  Argentina (2018) (7*)
Senior Women's  Angola (2018) (13*)  South Korea (2018) (14*)  France (2018) (1*)  Brazil (2017) (10*)
Men's Continental Games  Egypt (2015) (7*)  Qatar (2018) (2*)  Brazil (2015) (3*)
Women's Continental Games  Angola (2015) (6*)  South Korea (2018) (7*)  Brazil (2015) (5*)
Junior Men's  Egypt (2018) (12*)  South Korea (2018) (3*)  Slovenia (2018) (1*)  Australia (2018) (4*)  Brazil (2017) (6*)
Junior Women's  Angola (2017) (9*)  South Korea (2017) (14*)  France (2017) (1*)  New Caledonia (2019) (1*)  Brazil (2018) (9*)
Youth Boys  Egypt (2018) (6*)  Bahrain (2018) (2*)  Sweden (2018) (2*)  New Zealand (2018) (2*)  Argentina (2017) (8*)
Youth Girls  Egypt (2017) (2*)  South Korea (2017) (7*)  Germany (2017) (1*)  New Caledonia (2019) (2*)  Brazil (2018) (12*)
Boys' Continental Youth Games  Qatar (2013) (1*)  Germany (2017) (1*)
Girls' Continental Youth Games  South Korea (2013) (1*)  Hungary (2017) (1*)
Men's Club Egypt Al-Zamalek SC (2019) (12*) Qatar Al-Duhail SC (2018) (2*) North Macedonia RK Vardar (2019) (2*) Australia Sydney University HC (2019) (8*) Brazil H. Taubaté (2018) (5*)
Women's Club Angola 1º de Agosto (2019) (6*) Kazakhstan Almaty Club (2018) (1*) Hungary Győri Audi ETO KC (2019) (5*) Australia University of Queensland HC (2019) (1*) Brazil EC Pinheiros (2017) (1*)
Men's Beach Handball  Qatar (2017) (4*)  Spain (2017) (3)  Australia (2019) (4*)  Brazil (2018) (7*)
Women's Beach Handball  Thailand (2017) (3*)  Norway (2017) (1*)  Australia (2019) (4*)  Brazil (2018) (4*)
Men's Youth Beach Handball  Thailand (2016) (1*)  Spain (2017)  Australia (2017) (1*)  Brazil (2017) (1*)
Women's Youth Beach Handball  China (2016) (1*)  Netherlands (2017)  American Samoa (2017) (1*)  Argentina (2017) (1*)

Combined medal table

This table shows all medals by country, in all International Handball Federation Team Handball national competitions. This table does not include medals won at club level and Beach Handball.

1 Soviet Union207431
2 Russia189229
3 Denmark17151143
4 France147930
5 Sweden9101029
6 Yugoslavia981229
7 Germany87924
8 Romania831021
9 Norway611926
10 South Korea510924
11 East Germany45514
12 Croatia45312
13 Spain37616
14 Egypt3126
15 Hungary210820
16 Czechoslovakia24410
17 Serbia1203
18 Slovenia1135
19 Brazil1012
20 Iceland0224
21 Austria0213
22 Poland0156
23 Netherlands0134
24 Bulgaria0112
26 Lithuania0101
29 China0011
Totals (32 nations)135133134402

Member federations

Category A
Category B
Category C

Associated members

Regional members

IHF Awards

The IHF issues awards to organisations and individuals in recognition of their particular contribution to developing the sport of handball and the IHF.

These awards are:

IHF Partners

Type Partner
Official Sports-wear Hummel International
Host Broadcaster Lagardère Sports
Sponsor Grundfos
Official Ball Supplier Molten Corporation
Official Floor Supplier Gerflor


  1. ^ Krieger, Jörg; Duckworth, Austin (2021). "Annexation or fertile inclusion? The origins of handball's international organisational structures". Sport in History. doi:10.1080/17460263.2021.1927810. ISSN 1746-0263.
  2. ^ "Norway fined for not wearing bikini bottoms at beach handball match". euronews. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Bylaws" (PDF). International Handball Federation. September 2007. p. 7. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  4. ^ "IHF statement related to Pan-American continent". IHF. 19 January 2018.