Floorball is an indoor team sport that 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). 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. 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 that 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).
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