International Handball Federation

The International Handball Federation (IHF) is the administrative and controlling body for handball and beach handball. IHF is responsible for the organisation of handball's major international tournaments, notably the IHF World Men's Handball Championship, which commenced in 1938, and the IHF World Women's Handball Championship, which commenced in 1957.

International Handball Federation (IHF)
Logo of International Handball Federation
PredecessorInternational Amateur Handball Federation (1926–1945)
Formation11 July 1946 (1946-07-11)
Founded atCopenhagen, Denmark
TypeInternational Sports Federation
HeadquartersBasel, Switzerland
Region served
201 Full Members
4 Associated Members
4 Regional members
Official language
English, French and German
Hassan Moustafa
Honorary President
Erwin Lanc
1st Vice-President
Joël Delplanque
Bader Mohammed Al-Theyab
Michael Wiederer
Mansourou A. Aremou
Main organ
IHF Congress, IHF Council
AffiliationsInternational Olympic Committee,
Association of Summer Olympic International Federations

IHF was founded in 1946 to oversee international competitions. Headquartered in Basel, its membership now comprises 209 national federations. Each member country must each also be a member of one of the six regional confederations: Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Caribbean, Oceania, and South and Central America. Dr. Hassan Moustafa from Egypt has been President of the IHF since 2000.


The IHF was founded on 11 July 1946, in Copenhagen (Denmark) by representatives of eight national federations. The founding members were Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The first president of IHF was Gösta Björk from Sweden. Björk was replaced in 1950 by Hans Baumann from Switzerland. In 1954, the first IHF Men's World Championship, was conducted under the aegis of the IHF, in Sweden with the participation of six national teams. In 1957, the first IHF World Women's Handball Championship was held in SFR Yugoslavia with the participation of nine national teams. Handball was included in the Olympic Games for the first time under the auspices of IHF in Munich 1972 (men's tournament) and Montreal 1976 (women's tournament).


Laws and governance

IHF is headquartered in Basel, and is a federation established under the Law of Switzerland. IHF's supreme body is the IHF Congress, an assembly made up of representatives from each affiliated member association. Each national handball association has one vote, regardless of its size or handballing strength. The Congress assembles in ordinary session once in two years (odd years) after the IHF World Men's Handball Championship. The congress makes decisions relating to IHF's governing statutes and their method of implementation and application. Only the Congress can pass changes to IHF's statutes. The congress approves the annual report, and decides on the acceptance of new national associations and holds elections. Congress elects the President of IHF, its General Secretary, and the other members of the IHF Council. IHF's Council, chaired by the President, is the main decision-making body of the organisation in the intervals of Congress. The Council is composed of 18 people: the President, 5 Vice Presidents, and 12 members. The Council is the body that decides which country will host the World Championship. The President and General Secretary are the main officeholders of IHF, and are in charge of its daily administration, carried out by the General Secretariat. Dr. Hassan Moustafa is the current president, appointed in the year 2000 at the 28th Ordinary IHF Congress.

Six confederations and 209 national associations

The IHF is composed of six continental federations which organize continental championships held every other second year: African Handball Confederation, Asian Handball Federation, European Handball Federation, North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation, Oceania Continent Handball Federation, and South and Central America Handball Confederation. In addition to continental competitions between national teams, the federations arrange international tournaments between club teams.[1]

Until 2017, there were five continental confederations. On 14 January 2018, the IHF Council divided the Pan-American Confederation into the North America and the Caribbean Handball Confederation and the South and Central America Handball Confederation. The authority to divide a continental confederation was assigned to the IHF Congress, but the 36th IHF Congress in 2017 authorized the IHF Council to divide the Pan-American Federation.[2]

IHF Presidents

S. No.NameCountryTerm
1.Gösta Björk Sweden11 July 1946 – 9 September 1950
2.Hans Baumann*  Switzerland9 September 1950 – 9 February 1971
Paul Högberg (Interim President) Sweden9 February 1971 – 23 August 1972
3.Paul Högberg Sweden23 August 1972 – 25 July 1984
4.Erwin Lanc Austria25 July 1984 – 26 November 2000
5.Hassan Moustafa Egypt26 November 2000 – present
  • Hans Baumann died in Office on 9 February 1971 due to illness.

IHF Executive Committee

PresidentHassan Moustafa
1st Vice-PresidentJoël Delplanque
TreasurerAnna Rapp
Executive MembersNarcisa Lecușanu
František Táborský
Managing DirectorAmal Khalifa

IHF Council

The IHF Council is the IHF's main decision-making body between meetings of the IHF Congress. It is currently serving a 2017–2021 term.

IHF Commissions

IHF Commission of Organising and CompetitionsPer Bertelsen
IHF Playing Rules and Referees CommissionRamón Gallego
IHF Commission of Coaching and MethodsDietrich Späte
IHF Medical CommissionFrançois Gnamian
IHF Commission for DevelopmentRaquel Pedercini Marinho
IHF Athletes' CommissionGro Hammerseng-Edin
IHF Arbitration CommissionTomislav Grahovac
IHF Arbitration TribunalZoran Radojičić
IHF Ethics CommissionHussein Moustafa Fathy

IHF Tournaments

World Handball Championship
World Beach Handball Championship
World Club Handball Championship
Multi-Sport Events

Title holders

International title holders

Competition Men's Champion Women's Champion
World Cup  Denmark (2019) (1)  Netherlands (2019) (2)
Handball Olympic Tournament  Denmark (2016) (1)  Russia (2016) (1)
Emerging Nations Championship  Georgia (2019) (1)
Junior World Cup  France (2019) (2)  Hungary (2018) (1)
Youth World Cup  Egypt (2019) (1)  Russia (2018) (3*)
Handball Youth Olympic Tournament  Slovenia (2014) (1)  South Korea (2014) (1)
IHF Inter-Continental Trophy  Kosovo (2019) (1)  Bulgaria (2017) (2)
Club World Cup FC Barcelona (2018) (4*)
Beach Handball World Cup  Brazil (2018) (5)  Greece (2018) (1)
Youth Beach Handball World Cup  Spain (2017) (1*)  Hungary (2017) (1*)

Continental title holders

Africa Asia Europe Oceania Pan-America
Senior Men's  Tunisia (2018) (10*)  Qatar (2018) (3*)  Spain (2018) (1*)  Australia (2014) (8*)  Argentina (2018) (7*)
Senior Women's  Angola (2018) (13*)  South Korea (2018) (14*)  France (2018) (1*)  Australia (2018) (8*)  Brazil (2017) (10*)
Men's Continental Games  Egypt (2015) (7*)  Qatar (2014) (1*)  Brazil (2015) (3*)
Women's Continental Games  Angola (2015) (6*)  South Korea (2014) (6*)  Brazil (2015) (5*)
Junior Men's  Egypt (2018) (12*)  South Korea (2018) (3*)  Slovenia (2018) (1*)  Australia (2018) (4*)  Brazil (2017) (6*)
Junior Women's  Angola (2017) (9*)  South Korea (2017) (14*)  France (2017) (1*)  New Caledonia (2019) (1*)  Brazil (2018) (9*)
Youth Boys  Egypt (2018) (6*)  Bahrain (2018) (2*)  Sweden (2018) (2*)  New Zealand (2018) (2*)  Argentina (2017) (8*)
Youth Girls  Egypt (2017) (2*)  South Korea (2017) (7*)  Germany (2017) (1*)  New Caledonia (2019) (1*)  Brazil (2018) (12*)
Boys' Continental Youth Games  Qatar (2013) (1*)  Germany (2017) (1*)
Girls' Continental Youth Games  South Korea (2013) (1*)  Hungary (2017) (1*)
Men's Club Al-Zamalek SC (2019) (12*) Al-Duhail SC (2018) (2*) RK Vardar (2019) (2*) Sydney University HC (2019) (8*) H. Taubaté (2018) (5*)
Women's Club 1º de Agosto (2019) (6*) Almaty Club (2018) (1*) Győri Audi ETO KC (2019) (5*) University of Queensland Handball Club (2019) (1*) EC Pinheiros (2017) (1*)
Men's Beach Handball  Qatar (2017) (4*)  Spain (2017) (3)  Australia (2019) (4*)  Brazil (2018) (7*)
Women's Beach Handball  Thailand (2017) (3*)  Norway (2017) (1*)  Australia (2019) (4*)  Brazil (2018) (4*)
Men's Youth Beach Handball  Thailand (2016) (1*)  Spain (2017)  Australia (2017) (1*)  Brazil (2017) (1*)
Women's Youth Beach Handball  China (2016) (1*)  Netherlands (2017)  American Samoa (2017) (1*)  Argentina (2017) (1*)
  • * = Record titles

Combined medal table

This table shows all medals by country, in all International Handball Federation Team Handball national competitions. This table does not include medals won at club level and Beach Handball.

1 Soviet Union207431
2 Russia189229
3 Denmark17151143
4 France137828
5 Sweden9101029
6 Yugoslavia981229
7 Germany87924
8 Romania831021
9 Norway611926
10 South Korea510924
11 East Germany45514
12 Croatia45312
13 Spain37616
14 Egypt3126
15 Hungary210820
16 Czechoslovakia24410
17 Serbia1203
18 Slovenia1135
19 Brazil1012
20 Iceland0224
21 Austria0213
22 Poland0156
23 Netherlands0134
24 Bulgaria0112
26 Lithuania0101
29 China0011
Totals (32 nations)134133133400
  • data is accurate as of 27 January 2019

IHF Member Federations

Category A

Category B

Category C

Associated Members

Regional Members

IHF Awards

The IHF issues awards to organisations and individuals in recognition of their particular contribution to developing the sport of handball and the IHF.

These awards are:

IHF Partners

Official Sports-wearHummel International
Host BroadcasterLagardère Sports
Official Ball SupplierMolten Corporation
Official Floor SupplierGerflor


  1. "Bylaws" (PDF). International Handball Federation. September 2007. p. 7. Retrieved 2 February 2009.
  2. "IHF statement related to Pan-American continent". IHF. 19 January 2018.
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