What is a “free throw” in handball?

The basic sanction to an infraction (foul, double dribble, etc.) in handball is a “free throw.” (Note: A “free throw” in handball is not analogous to a “free throw” in basketball. Rather it is analogous to a “free kick” in soccer.) When an infraction occurs the referee blows the whistle once and signals with 1 arm towards the goal of the team that has been awarded a free throw. A player then gathers the ball and stands where the infraction occurred and throws it to a team mate. Or, alternatively the player can also try to score directly on goal.

Defensive players are required to stay 3 meters from the player throwing throwing the ball. If a foul is committed by a defensive player within the 9 meter area, the free throw takes place at the point of the 9 meter line closest to the place of the infraction. Additionally, players on offense are required to exit the area between the 6 and 9 meter lines and start play beyond the 9 meter line.

For most infractions the clock does not stop and the team awarded the free throw can immediately start play with a throw in. However, if the infraction also resulted in a yellow card or a 2 minute suspension the clock is stopped and throw in can only be started after the referee whistles to start the clock.

If at the end of a half a free throw is called, but the the throw in does not occur before time has expired the team awarded the free throw can still take one last shot on goal with no time remaining. One offensive player then takes the shot typically over a defensive wall 3 meters away.

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