Goalball simply defined is a team sport designed specifically for visually impaired athletes using the hand instead of the legs.

The game was founded in 1981 by the International Blind Sports Federation [IBSA].

Below are the guidelines of the rehabilitation sport – Goalball;


Goalball is a three-aside team game designed for Visually impaired players. Sighted players can also play. It has three main distinguishing features;

1) All players wear eyeshades so that they are totally blindfolded.

2) Goalball is played on an indoor court that is 18m long and 9m wide. The court has tactile markings (string that is taped to the floor), which helps players determine where they are.

3) The ball contains internal bells, which help players locate it during play.
The object of the game is to score a goal by throwing the ball along the floor so that it crosses the goal line of the opposing team.


One team of 3 is at One end of the court whilst the other team is at the opposite end and the ball is thrown from end to end.


1) The ball must touch the court before passing over the high ball line at the thrower end (6m from goal line) and must touch the court again before the centerline.

2) The throw must take place within 10 seconds of the first contact with the defensive team.

3) If the ball remains on court after the throw, it must reach the opposition team area.

4) Initial defensive contact with the ball must take place within the team area.

5) Players must not touch their eyeshades.

6) The must be total silence during the play of the game.

7) Team A must not make noise to disrupt Team B when the ball is in motion.

If the above rules are broken, the offending team has to defend a penalty throw with only One defender.

In the case of touching eyeshades, high ball and illegal defence, it is offending player who has to defend the penalty shot.

For a 10 second penalty, the on court defender is the player who took the previous throw for his team.


2 centre referees at a match

4 goal judges

1 10 seconds timer

1 12 minutes timer

2 recorders

Credit: GBSA