Sports Summary

Goalball is a sport exclusively for athletes with a vision impairment. It was invented in 1946 in an effort to rehabilitate the blind veterans from World War II, and made its Paralympic debut in 1976 in Toronto, Canada.

Goalball competitions are set apart from all other Paralympic events due to the unique atmosphere inside the playing venue. The object is to roll the ball into the opponent’s goal while the opposing players try to block the ball with their bodies.

Bells inside the ball help to orientate the players by indicating the direction of the oncoming ball. Therefore while play is in progress, complete silence is required in the venue to allow the players to concentrate and react instantly to the ball.

Goalball is played by male and female athletes with a vision impairment and athletes wear blackout masks on the playing court. This allows athletes with varying degrees of vision to participate together. The game consists of two halves of 10 minutes each.

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Events & Disciplines

Men’s and women’s team events are contested at the Paralympic Games.


Who is eligible to compete in goalball?

Athletes with a vision impairment affecting both eyes are eligible to compete in goalball at the Paralympic Games.

What are the classes?

Athletes are classified into one of three classes depending on their level of vision. The Paralympic classes in goalball are B1, B2 and B3.

How do I get classified?

Athletes can request a classification using the Get Involved and Get Classified registration form. 

Goalball Classification Information Sheet (updated Nov 2019)

Rules & Equipment


The court used for goalball is an 18m x 9m rectangle. Starting from the final lines, where the goalposts are placed, a 9m x 3m team area and a 9m x 3m landing area for each team is marked. The remaining 9m x 6m area, between the two landing areas, is called the neutral area, which is divided into two parts by the centre line. With the exception of the final lines, all court markings are tactile to help players orientate themselves on court.


Regulation goals measure 9m (equal to the length of the court) x 1.3m.


The ball used for goalball competition is made of rubber, weighs 1.25kg and has a circumference of approximately 76cm. It has eight holes and there are noise bells inside. The ball must meet the specifications of the IBSA Sport Technical Committee.


Teams must wear matching jerseys, pants and socks with a number clearly visible on the front and back of each player.

Blackout masks

All competitors must wear blackout masks at all times on court. At all major competitions all players have their eyes covered by gauze patches under the supervision of the IBSA Goalball Technical Delegate. Penalties are given if a player touches the blackout mask during play. This ensures that the level of vision of all players is equal.


We encourage those wishing to explore goalball to contact their state federation in the first instance. The national federation link below provides information on the national high performance program leading to competing internationally and at the Paralympic Games.

National Federation
Organisation Website
Goalball Australia
State Federations
State Organisation Website
NSW NSW Goalball
QLD Goalball Queensland
SA Goalball South Australia
VIC Victorian Goalball Association
WA Goalball WA