Floorball

sport



imagesize=300px
caption=A floorball match between Sweden (yellow) and Finland (white)
union=International Floorball Federation
team=6 at a time
category=Indoor

Floorball is an indoor team sport that was developed in Sweden in the late 1970's. It's played on a court which measures 40 by 20 metres and is enclosed by 50cm high boards. It is played with sticks made of composite or carbon and a plastic ball that has 26 small holes.

The game is very popular in Europe, especially in Scandinavia but also in Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. It is rapidly gaining popularity in many other countries outside of Europe, such as Canada, Japan, Australia, the United States, and Singapore.

A world championship tournament is played every two years. The current reigning world champions in both men's and women's floorball are Sweden (Men, 2006), (Women, 2007).

The game

Measurements

Floorball is played indoors on a rink which size can officially vary from 18-22 meters wide to 36-44 meters long. The rink is surrounded by enclosed boards with rounded corners. The board’s height is 50cm. The goals are 160 cm wide and 115 cm high. Their depth is 65 cm and they are 2.85 meters from the end of the nearest boards. The ball weighs 23 grams and its diameter is 72mm. It has 26 holes in it; each of which are 11 mm in diameter.

Gameplay

Each team can have six players on court at the same time in which one player can be a goalkeeper. Typical equipment for a player on the field are shorts, a shirt, socks and indoor sport shoes, which are considered as the only compulsory equipment. They are allowed shin guards, eye protectors and padding (vital areas). Players also have sticks that they are disallowed to play without. The shaft of a stick may be at most 105 cm long, and the whole stick must not weight more than 350 grams. Goalkeepers are not allowed to carry sticks and must also have long trousers and a helmet. The goalkeeper can also wear other protective equipments which purposes are not to cover the goal. Typical equipments for a goalkeeper are indoor sport shoes, padded trousers, padded long sleeved shirt, knee pads, jocks (for men), helmet and gloves.

A floorball game is officially played over 3 periods of 20 minutes. The time is stopped in the case of time penalties, goals, time-outs and whenever the ball is not considered to be in play. There is also a break of 10 minutes between the periods. In tournament type of games the time is usually 3 periods of 15 minutes or 2 periods of 20 minutes. The time is stopped only for penalties, goals and time-outs. Each team is allowed a timeout of 30 seconds. There are two referees to oversee the game, each with equal authority.

Checking is disallowed in floorball. It is allowed to push other players shoulder against shoulder, but ice hockey like checking is forbidden. Also pushing players without the ball or competing for a loose ball is disallowed. The best comparison in terms of legal physical contact is soccer, where checking is used to improve one's positioning in relation to the ball rather than to remove an opposing player from the play.If a player commits a foul, a free shot is awarded to the opposing team. There are time penalties of two and five minutes for harder fouls; ten minutes are reserved for "unsportsmanlike behaviour". For extreme cases there are match penalties ("red card").

History

The new sport with the name "floorball" was first played in Gothenburg, Sweden in the early 1970s. It has been influenced by ice hockey and all its "by-products" like streetbandy but also bandy which is popular in Sweden. In Swedish, the name of the sport is actually "innebandy", which means "indoor bandy".

Floorball is also referred to as "salibandy" or "unihockey".

Floorball soon caught on and in the late 1970s the sport spread across Europe. In the early 1980s many national associations were founded. This created the structures that enabled the young sport to grow faster. At the time of writing (2008) only four countries dominate the international game: Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and the Czech Republic. The gap to other countries, however, is narrowing year by year. The full Men's and Women's rankings can be found here.

International Floorball Federation

The sport of floorball is governed by the International Floorball Federation, or IFF, which is an ordinary member of the GAISF. The IFF was formed in 1986 by the national associations of Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland. The IFF has recently applied for Floorball to be included in the Olympic Games, and there is a possibility that it will be played at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

National associations

The following list shows the year in which a national association was founded.
* 1981 - Sweden
* 1983 - Japan
* 1985 - Finland and Switzerland
* 1986 - the "International Floorball Federation" (IFF) was founded
* 1987 - Liechtenstein
* 1989 - Denmark and Hungary
* 1991 - Norway, still governed by the Norwegian Bandy Federation.
* 1992 - Russia, the Czech Republic, and Germany
* 1993 - USA, Estonia, and Latvia
* 1995 - Poland, Belgium, Singapore, and Great Britain
* 1996 - Austria and Australia
* 1998 - Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Slovakia, and Canada
* 1999 - Armenia
* 2000 - Italy and Slovenia
* 2001 - New Zealand, Malaysia, and India
* 2002 - Georgia and France
* 2003 - Pakistan
* 2004 - Ukraine and South Korea
* 2005 - Mongolia, Iceland, and Turkey
* 2007 - Moldova, Ireland, Israel, Serbia, Argentina, Portugal, and Thailand

Championships

World championships

World championships are organised by "International Floorball Federation" (IFF) and are played in alternate years, with even years for men, and odd years for women.

It is worth noting that Sweden has captured all 6 of the men's world floorball championships thus far.

European Championships

Before playing world championships, the European championship was held twice. In 1994 Sweden's men were crowned European champions in Finland; in 1995 Finland's men and Sweden's women were victorious in Switzerland.

Asia Pacific Floorball Championship

The Asia Pacific Floorball Championships are played every year in Singapore, created by the [http://www.sfa.sg/ Singapore Floorball Association] together with the Asia and Oceania Floorball Confederation (AOFC).

North American Floorball Championship

The North American Floorball Championship, created by the Ontario Floorball/Unihockey Federation ("OFUF") in association with the United States Floorball Association ("USFbA"), and Quebec Floorball Association ("QFA"), is contested each year.

The winning team is chosen based on aggregate scoring from 3 of North America's biggest floorball tournaments: East Coast Tournament ("ECT"), Canada Cup, and the Montréal Open.

*2007 Champion - [http://www.floorballquebec.ca/?q=en/roster/ Montreal United FC]
*2006 Champion - [http://www.BostonPuukadet.com/ Boston Puukädet]
*2005 Champion - [http://www.BostonPuukadet.com/ Boston Puukädet]
*2004 Champion - [http://www.BostonPuukadet.com/ Boston Puukädet]

Tournaments

EuroFloorball Cup

The EuroFloorball Cup is organized every year in order to establish the best club in Europe. The championship was adjusted to the sports year which runs across two calendar years in 2000, but returned to its one year format in 2008. The originally named European Cup was renamed to EuroFloorball Cup in 2007.

Czech Open

The largest club team tournament, the [http://www.czechopen.cz Czech Open] is a traditional summer tournament held in Prague, Czech Republic. It's famous not only for its on court activities, but also for those off court.

External links

* [http://www.floorball.org/ International Floorball Federation]
* [http://www.pof.me.uk/ Planet Floorball] (International Floorball site)
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