What is korfball?

Korfball: the world’s only mixed team sport. Since its earliest development, korfball teams have consisted equally of male and female players. In all instances, from korfball’s foremost international athletes, to children in the playground, this is an activity where both sexes play together on completely even terms.

In play, korfballers only directly oppose members of their own sex, therefore the game is structured to dilute advantages of height, speed or strength that would otherwise make mixed team sport impossible to achieve with any degree of equality. As a mixed team sport, korfball creates a unique social environment. Like many sports, korfball provides participants and spectators a full range of intense emotion – doing so with and against team-mates and opponents of both sexes adds an extra dimension that no other sport can offer.


Korfball is a ball sport played by hand. It takes a few moments to learn, but a lifetime to perfect. By passing and quick movement players must elude their personal opponents to shoot the ball through a korf – the Dutch word for basket. In the standard game, teams consist of eight players – four male and four female. The korf is set in from the end of the playing area, enabling shots from 360 degrees. Players assume either attack or defence roles. After two goals, defenders and attackers switch – placing emphasis on the development of all-round skills: each player should be able to defend, attack, shoot and support his or her team-mates. A player ‘defended’ by a personal opponent is not permitted to shoot, meaning quick shots, based on specific technique, are most effective.

Korfball is based on co-operation between players – dribbling and running with the ball are classed as ‘solo play’ and are outlawed. Although contact between players does occur in korfball, that contact is controlled – players may not gain advantage from contacting their opponents.

Korfball is played in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Oceania (69 IKF members). IKF is member of SportAccord, ARISF, IWGA, WADA, & recognised by the IOC.