Wheelchair handball
Highest governing bodyIHF
First played2015
ContactYes (frontal)
Team members4 or 6 per side
(including goalkeeper)
(minimum one female player)
TypeTeam sport, ball sport, Wheelchair sports
EquipmentHandball, Wheelchair
Country or regionWorldwide
World ChampionshipsIHF Wheelchair Handball World Championship

Wheelchair handball is handball played by people with varying physical disabilities that disqualify them from playing an able-bodied sport. These include spina bifida, birth defects, cerebral palsy, paralysis due to accident, amputations (of the legs, or other parts), and many other disabilities. The IHF Wheelchair Handball World Championship (IHF) is the governing body for this sport. It is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the sole competent authority in wheelchair handball worldwide.


During the Coaching Symposium 1993 in Leipzig Germany the first Wheelchair handball game was played. 12 years later during the IHF Symposuim for Coaches and Referees in Bangkok Thailand and one year later 2006 at the EHF Youth Handball Convention in Vienna Austria Wheelchair handball was presented.[1]: 12:45 

In October 2008 the EHF held the first seminar, in Vienna, Austria.[1]: 14:00 

Since 2009 the IHF is a full member of the International Paralympic Committee.[1]: 1:15 

In 2013 the first World Championship was held in and organized by Brazil, but not officially recognized by the IHF. Brazil won all categories.[2]

In February and March 2019 the IHF Executive Committee discussed Wheelchair handball and sendend letters to important bodies. In March the IHF Wheelchair Handball Working Group was established.[1]: 14:13 

On 26 October 2019 the first Meeting of IHF Wheelchair Handball Working Group was held. They planned the first Wheelchair Handball World Championship for 2021 during the 2021 World Women's Handball Championship.[3]

In January 2020 the IHF held the first seminar, in Basel, Switzerland.[1]: 14:00 

During the IHF Council Meeting No. 6 on 27 and 28 February 2020 in Cairo the IHF announced that there will be the first IHF Wheelchair Handball World Championship already in 2020. The IHF will add Wheelchair handball for the 2028 Summer Paralympics. But one of the requirement is that there were two world championships until 2022.[4][5] 24 nation and 3 continents has to play Wheelchair handball.[1]: 11:20  In 2023 the IPC Governing Board declined the application for 2028.[6]


In 2005/06 people experimented with different variants of Wheelchair handball with the Austrian Wheelchair basketball team "Sitting bulls".

In 2006 the demonstrated Wheelchair handball to the different national federations.

In 2008 a Wheelchair handball tournament was held in Vienna.

Since 2015 four European Wheelchair Handball Nations' Tournaments were held.

In 2020 the first EHF Wheelchair Handball European Championship was planned but later was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 the next attempt will be started.[1]: 27:00 

South and Central America

In 1993 the University of Campinas played already Wheelchair handball but with no clear rules. In 2005 Wheelchair handball transformed to a competition sport in Brazil. In South and Central America Wheelchair handball was created in two forms, with 7 and 4 players. In 2009 the Brazilian Wheelchair Handball Association was created. In 2009 the first Wheelchair handball national game was played between Brazil and Chile. In 2020 the first South American Wheelchair Handball Championship was held. The Pan American Wheelchair Handball Championship was held in 2014 for the first time.[1]: 45:00 

Geographic areas the sport is present

There are competitions in Netherlands, Brazil, and South American countries other than Brazil.




Differences to handball and additional rules

The rules are only for the six players variant. The four player variant is still in development.

Number of Players

Only six instead of seven players. Only mixed gender, one female player has to be on the court and minimum three female players has to be part of the roster.

If no female player is able to play (due to injuries or punishments) the team has to play with one player less.

Game time

A half is only 20 minutes and the break only 10. And there is only one time out per half.


All games are played with the ball size 2 and with no glue.


The goal is only 1,7 Meters high instead of two and the catch net has to be removed.

Playing Kit

The player's number had to be on the front. At the back of the wheelchair there has to be a sticker with the player's number in the color of there class.


The legs have to be strapped to the wheelchair. Lifting of a player is punished with a 2-minute suspension. If the goalkeeper is lifting during defending there is additionally a 7m throw.

Playing the Ball

It's allowed to place the ball maximum of 3 seconds on the lap. It's not allowed to steal the ball from the lap.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k History and current situation of wheelchair handball and 6 a side rules By IHF Wheelchair Handball. International Handball Federation. 17 October 2020. Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Handball Adaptado: Brasil campeón del mundial en todas las categorías". Mundo Handball (in Spanish). 30 September 2013. Archived from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  3. ^ Taborsky, Frantisek (26 October 2019). "Minutes 1st Meeting of IHF Wheelchair Handball Working Group" (PDF). International Handball Federation. Basel. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  4. ^ "Council Meeting No. 6" (PDF). Norwegian Handball Federation. Cairo: International Handball Federation. 27–28 February 2020. 5.4. Wheelchair Handball Working Group; P. 17–19. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 April 2020. Retrieved 27 April 2020.
  5. ^ Pavitt, Michael (3 March 2020). "International Handball Federation announces hosts of upcoming World Championships". Inside the Games. Archived from the original on 28 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Los Angeles 2028 Paralympics: Games to retain same 22 sports as Paris 2024". BBC. 30 January 2023. Archived from the original on 10 March 2023. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  7. ^ "Punjab wins inaugural Pakistan Wheelchair Championship". International Handball Federation. 15 March 2021. Archived from the original on 10 May 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021.