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A bandy international between Finland and Norway in the 2004 women's World Championships.

Bandy is a team winter sport played on ice, in which skaters use sticks to direct a ball into the opposing team's goal.

The rules of the game have many similarities to those of association football: the game is played on a rectangle of ice the same size as a soccer field. Each team has eleven players, one of whom is a goalkeeper. A standard bandy match consists of two halves of 45 minutes each. The offside rule is also similar to that observed in soccer.


Bandy is played on ice, using a single round ball. Two teams of eleven players each compete to get the ball into the other team's goal using sticks, thereby scoring a goal. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner; if both teams have scored an equal number of goals, then the game is a draw. There are exceptions to this rule, however.

The primary rule is that the players (other than the goalkeepers) may not intentionally touch the ball with their heads, hands or arms during play. Although players usually use their sticks to move the ball around, they may use any part of their bodies other than their heads, hands or arms and may use their skates in a limited manner. Heading the ball will result in a five-minute penalty.

In typical game play, players attempt to propel the ball toward their opponents' goal through individual control of the ball, such as by dribbling, passing the ball to a team-mate, and by taking shots at the goal, which is guarded by the opposing goalkeeper. Opposing players may try to regain control of the ball by intercepting a pass or through tackling the opponent who controls the ball; however, physical contact between opponents is limited. Bandy is generally a free-flowing game, with play stopping only when the ball has left the field of play, or when play is stopped by the referee. After a stoppage, play can recommence with a free stroke, a penalty shot or a corner stroke. If the ball has left the field along the sidelines, the referee must decide which team touched the ball last, and award a restart stroke to the opposing team, just like football's throw-in.

The rules do not specify any player positions other than goalkeeper, but a number of player specialisations have evolved. Broadly, these include three main categories: forwards, whose main task is to score goals; defenders, who specialise in preventing their opponents from scoring; and midfielders, who dispossess the opposition and keep possession of the ball in order to pass it to the forwards; players in these positions are referred to as outfield players, in order to discern them from the single goalkeeper. These positions are further differentiated by which side of the field the player spends most time in. For example, there are central defenders, and left and right midfielders. The ten outfield players may be arranged in these positions in any combination (for example, there may be three defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards), and the number of players in each position determines the style of the team's play; more forwards and fewer defenders would create a more aggressive and offensive-minded game, while the reverse would create a slower, more defensive style of play. While players may spend most of the game in a specific position, there are few restrictions on player movement, and players can switch positions at any time. The layout of the players on the pitch is called the team's formation, and defining the team's formation and tactics is usually the prerogative of the team's manager(s).



There are eighteen rules in the official bandy rules. The same rules are designed to apply to all levels of bandy, although certain modifications for groups such as juniors, seniors or women are permitted. The rules are often framed in broad terms, which allow flexibility in their application depending on the nature of the game. The rules can be found on the official website of the Federation of International Bandy website.

Players, equipment and officials

A bandy stick and ball
Each team consists of a maximum of eleven players (excluding substitutes), one of whom must be the goalkeeper. A team of fewer than eight players may not start a game. Goalkeepers are the only players allowed to play the ball with their hands or arms, but they are only allowed to do so within the penalty area in front of their own goal. Though there are a variety of positions in which the outfield (non-goalkeeper) players are strategically placed by a coach, these positions are not defined or required by the rules of the game.

The basic equipment players are required to wear includes a pair of skates, a helmet, a mouth guard and, in the case of the goalkeeper, a face guard. The teams must wear uniforms that make it easy to distinguish the two teams. The skates, sticks and any tape on the stick must be of another colour than the ball. In addition to the aforementioned equipment, various protections are used to protect knees, elbows, genitals and throat and the pants and gloves may contain padding.

Any number of players may be replaced by substitutes during the course of the game. Substitutions can be performed without notifying the referee and can be performed while the ball is in play. However, if the substitute enters the ice before his teammate has left it, this will result in a 5 minute ban. A team can bring at the most four substitutes to the game and one of these is likely to be an extra goalkeeper.

A game is officiated by a referee, the authority to enforce the rules, and whose decisions are final. The referee may be assisted by one or two assistant referees.


Standard field measurements
The size of a bandy field is in the range 4,050 - 7,150 square metres (45-65 by 90-110 metres), about the same size as a football pitch and considerably larger than an ice hockey rink. Along the sidelines a 15 cm high border (vant, sarg, wand, wall) is placed to prevent the ball from leaving the ice. It should not be attached to the ice, in order to glide upon collisions, and should end 1-3 metres away from the corners.

Centered at each shortline is a 3.5 m wide and 2.1 m high goal cage and in front of the cage is a half-circular penalty area with a 17 m radius. A penalty spot is located 12 metres in front of the goal and there are two free-stroke spots at the penalty area line, each surrounded by a 5 m circle.

A centre spot denotes the center of the field and a circle of radius 5 m is centered at it. A centre-line is drawn through the centre spot and parallel with the shortlines.

At each of the corners, a 1 m radius quarter-circle is drawn, and a dotted line is painted parallel to the shortline and five metres away from it without extending into the penalty area. The dotted line can be replaced with a half-metre long line starting at the edge of the penalty area and extending towards the sideline, five metres from the shortline.

Duration and tie-breaking measures

A standard adult bandy match consists of two periods of 45 minutes each, known as halves. Each half runs continuously, meaning that the clock is not stopped when the ball is out of play; the referee can, however, make allowance for time lost through significant stoppages as described below. There is usually a 15-minute "half-time" break between halves. The end of the match is known as full-time.

The referee is the official timekeeper for the match, and may make an allowance for time lost through substitutions, injured players requiring attention, or other stoppages. This added time is commonly referred to as stoppage time or injury time, and must be reported to the match secretary and the two captains. The referee alone signals the end of the match.

In league competitions games may end in a draw, but in some knockout competitions if a game is tied at the end of regulation time it may go into extra time, which consists of two further 15-minute periods. If the score is still tied after extra time, the game will be replayed. As an alternative, the extra two times 15-minutes may be played as "Golden goal" which means that the first team that scores during the extra-time wins the game. If both extra periods are played without a scored goal, a penalty shootout will settle the game. The teams shoot five penalties each and if this doesn't settle the game, the teams shoot one more penalty each until one of them misses and the other scores.

Ball in and out of play

Under the rules, the two basic states of play during a game are ball in play and ball out of play. From the beginning of each playing period with a stroke-off (a set strike from the centre-spot by one team) until the end of the playing period, the ball is in play at all times, except when either the ball leaves the field of play, or play is stopped by the referee. When the ball becomes out of play, play is restarted by one of eight restart methods depending on how it went out of play:

Method Description
Stroke-off Following a goal by the opposing team, or to begin each period of play.
Goal-throw When the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a member of the attacking team; awarded to the defending team.
Corner stroke When the ball has wholly crossed the goal line without a goal having been scored and having last been touched by a member of the defending team; awarded to attacking team. The defending team must locate themselves behind goal line and the attacking team must be situated outside the penalty area with everyone but the executor no closer to the shortline than 5 m. As soon as the corner is shot, the attackers may enter the penalty area and the defenders may rush to try to stop the ball.
Free-stroke Awarded to fouled team following certain listed offences, or to the opposing team upon a team causing the ball to leave the field over the side-line.
Penalty shot Awarded to the fouled team following a foul usually punishable by a free-shot but that has occurred within their opponent's penalty area.
Face-off Occurs when the referee has stopped play for any other reason (e.g., a serious injury to a player, interference by an external party, or a ball becoming defective). This restart is uncommon in adult games.

If the time runs out while a team is preparing for a free-stroke or penalty, the strike should still be made but it must go into the goal by one shot to count as a goal. Similarly, a goal made via a corner stroke should be allowed, but it must be executed using only one shot in addition to the strike needed to put the ball in play.

Free-strokes and penalty shots

Free-strokes can be awarded to a team if a player of the opposite team offends any rule, e.g. by hitting with the stick against the opponent's stick or skates. Free-strokes can also be awarded upon incorrect execution of corner-strikes, free-strikes, goal-throws, etc. or the use of incorrect equipment, such as a broken stick.

Rather than stopping play, the referee may allow play to continue when its continuation will benefit the team against which an offence has been committed. This is known as "playing an advantage". The referee may "call back" play and penalise the original offence if the anticipated advantage does not ensue within a short period of time, typically taken to be four to five seconds. Even if an offence is not penalised because the referee plays an advantage, the offender may still be sanctioned (see below) for any associated misconduct at the next stoppage of play.

If a defender violently attacks an opponent within the penalty area, a penalty shot is awarded. Certain other offences, when carried out within the penalty area, result in a penalty shot provided there is a goal situation. These offences include a defender holding or hooking an attacker, or blocking a goal situation with a lifted skate, thrown stick or glove etc. Also, the defenders (with the exception of the goal-keeper) are not allowed to kneel or lay on the ice. The final offences that might mandate a penalty shot are those of hitting or blocking an opponent's stick or touching the ball with the hands, arms, stick or head above the shoulders. If any of these actions is carried out in a non-goal situation, they shall be awarded with a free-stroke from one of the free-stroke spots at the penalty area line. A penalty shot should always be accompanied by a 5 or 10 minutes penalty (see below). If the penalty results in a goal, the penalty should be considered personal meaning that a substitute can be sent in for the penalised player. This does not apply in the event of a red card (see below).

Warnings and penalties

A ten minutes penalty is indicated through the use of a blue card and can be caused by protesting or behaving incorrectly, attacking an opponent violently or stopping the ball incorrectly in order to get an advantage.

The third time a player receives a penalty, it will be a personal penalty meaning he or she will miss the remainder of the match. A substitute can enter the field after five or ten minutes. A full game penalty can be received upon using abusive language or directly attacking an opponent and means that the player can neither play nor be substituted for the remainder of the game. A match penalty is indicated through the use of a red card.

Previously, there has been white, and yellow cards in use for lesser fouls, these have been removed.


The offside rule effectively limits the ability of attacking players to remain forward (i.e. closer to the opponent's goal-line) of the ball, the second-to-last defending player (which can include the goalkeeper), and the half-way line. This rule is in effect just like that of football.


World Championships

The Bandy World Championships for men were first held in 1957 and then every two years starting in 1961, and every year since 2003. Currently there are 13 (WCS 2008) countries participating in the world championships. The participating countries vary from year to year. Finland won the 2004 world championship in Västeråsmarker. All other championships have been won by the Soviet Unionmarker, Russiamarker, or Swedenmarker.

In February 2004, Sweden won the first World Championship for women, hosted in Finland. The second women's World Championships were held in Roseville, Minnesotamarker at the Guidant John Rose Minnesota Oval in the USA in 2006 and once again Sweden won, defeating Russia in the final (3-1).

For all the tournaments since 1957, see Bandy World Championships.

World Cup

The World Championships should not be confused with the annual World Cup in Ljusdalmarker, Sweden, which is the biggest bandy tournament for club teams on elite level. With matches played day and night, the tournament is played in four days in late October. The winner in 2008 was Edsbyns IF, the dominant team in Swedish bandy who had won won five straight Swedish championships.However, that run of success came to an end in 2009 when Västerås SK Bandy won their eighteenth Swedish championship title.

International federation

The Federation of International Bandy (FIB), has 27 members (2008). Formed in 1955, the name was changed from International Bandy Federation in 2001 after the International Olympic Committeemarker approved it as a "recognized sport".

Olympic Games

Although bandy was the demonstration sport at the VI Olympic Winter Games in 1952 (Oslomarker, Norway), and is a "recognized sport" by the IOC, it is still waiting for acceptance as an Olympic sport.

Only three teams played bandy at the 1952 Winter Olympics: Finland, Norway and Sweden.

At the 2011 Asian Winter Games, a part of the Olympic movement, bandy for men is planned for inclusion to be played at the legendary Speed skating arena Medeomarker. According to Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, India and China have verbally agreed to participate.


Bandy, also known as banty, probably originated as a form of field hockey on ice and developed in a similar fashion to modern ice hockey. Rather than develop its own rules or codes (as ice hockey did), Bandy adopted rules similar to association football.

Games that are accepted as direct predecessors to bandy have been recorded in Russian monastery records dating back to the 10th to 11th centuries. A game that could be recognized as essentially modern bandy was played in Russia by the early 1700s, although the rules used differed from those that were invented in England at a much later date. All the way through modern times, Russia has kept a top position in the Bandy area, being one of the founding nations of the International Federation, as well as the most successful team in the World Championships. Russians see themselves as the creators of the sport, which is reflected by the unofficial title for bandy, "Russian hockey," or "русский хоккей."

In the western world, Britain has played an important role in the development of bandy. A game similar to bandy was known in Walesmarker as Bando. It was played throughout the country in varying forms and is still to be found in some areas. The earliest example of the Welsh language term bando occurs in a dictionary by John Walters published in 1770–94. It was particularly popular in the Cynffig-Margam district of the Vale of Glamorganmarker where wide stretches of sandy beaches afforded ample room for play. As a winter sport, British bandy originated in the Fensmarker of East Angliamarker where large expanses of ice formed on flooded meadows or shallow washes in cold winters, and skating was a tradition. Members of the Bury Fen bandy club published rules of the game in 1882, and introduced it into other countries.

Bandy and hockey were used in parallel for the same sport, but today bandy is played on a frozen football pitch, and hockey on a smaller rink. Bandy/Hockey was divided by the North Americans in the 1800s by shrinking the pitch, goals and reducing the number of players.

Bandy is now played in a few nations, including Argentinamarker, Armeniamarker, Australia, Belarusmarker, Canadamarker, Estoniamarker, Finlandmarker, Hungarymarker, Indiamarker, Irelandmarker, Italymarker, Kazakhstanmarker, Kyrgyzstanmarker, Latviamarker, Lithuaniamarker, Mongoliamarker, the Netherlandsmarker, Norwaymarker, Polandmarker, Russiamarker, Serbiamarker, Swedenmarker, Switzerlandmarker, the Ukrainemarker, and the United Statesmarker.



The first recorded games of bandy on ice took place in The Fensmarker during the great frost of 1813-1814, although it is probable that the game had been played there in the previous century. Bury Fen bandy club from Bluntisham-cum-Earithmarker, near St Ivesmarker, was the most successful team, remaining unbeaten until the winter of 1890-1891. Charles G Tebbutt of the Bury Fen bandy club was responsible for the first published rules of bandy in 1882, and also for introducing the game into the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as elsewhere in England where it became popular with cricket, rowing and hockey clubs. Tebbutt's home-made bandy stick can be seen in the Norris Museum in St Ives.

England won the European Bandy Championships in 1913, but that turned out to be the grand finale, and bandy is now virtually unknown in England. In March 2004, Norwegian ex-player Edgar Malman invited two big clubs to play a rink bandy exhibition game in Streatham, London. RussianChampions and World Cup Winner Vodnik met Swedish Champions Edsbyns IF in a match that ended 10-10.


In Russia bandy is known as hockey with a ball or simply Russian hockey. The game became popular among nobility in early 1700s, with the royal court of Peter I the Great playing bandy on Saint Petersburgmarker's frozen Nevamarker river. Russians played bandy with sticks made out of juniper wood, later adopting skates. By the second half of the 19th century the game also became popular among the masses throughout the Russian Empiremarker. Traditionally the Russians used a longer skate blade than other nations, giving them the advantage of skating faster. However, they would find it more difficult to turn quickly. A bandy skate has a longer blade than a hockey skate, and the "Russian skate" even longer.

When the Federation of International Bandy was formed in 1955, with the Soviet Union as one of its founding members, the Russians adopted the international rules of the game developed in England in the 19th century.


Bandy was introduced to Sweden in 1895. The Swedish royal family, barons and diplomats were the first players. Swedish championships for men has been played annually since 1907. In the 1920s students played the game and it became a largely middle class sport. After Slottsbrons IF won the Swedish championship in 1934 it became popular amongst workers in the smaller industrial towns and villages. Bandy remains the main winter sport in many of these places.

Bandy in Sweden is famous for its "culture" - both playing bandy and being a spectator requires great fortitude and dedication. A "bandy briefcase" is the classic accessory for spectating - it is typically made of brown leather, well worn and contain a warm drink in a thermos and/or a flask of liquor.

Bandy is most often played at outdoor arenas during winter time, so the need for spectators to carry flask or thermoses of 'warming' liquid is a natural effect.

The play-off match for the Swedish Championship is played every year on the third Sunday of March at Studenternas Idrottsplats in Uppsalamarker, drawing crowds in excess of 20,000.

Sweden is the current world champion in 2009.


Bandy was introduced to Norway in the 1910s. The Swedes contributed largely, and clubs sprang up around the capital of Oslo. In 1912 the Norwegians played their first National Championship, which was played annually up to 1940. During WWII, illegal bandy was played in hidden places in forests, on ponds and lakes. In 1943, -44 and -45, illegal championships were held. In 1946 legal play resumed and goes on still.

After WWII the number of teams rose, but mild winters in the 1970s and 80s shrunk the league, and in 2003 only 5 clubs (teams) fought out the 1st division. Later, the number of artificially frozen pitches has risen, and the number of clubs has started a slight increase.

From 1912 to 1928 the game was played 7-a-side and Ready (Oslo) won 13 titles. Since 1928 the sport has been played 11-a-side, and Drafn (Drammen) have won 18 titles (including one from the 7-man game).

During the 1960s crowd attendance could be anything from 200 to 4000, but these days only a handful visitors cheer their side. Big games though, can still attract 2000 people.

United States

Bandy was introduced to the United States of America in 1976.The American Bandy Association was formed in 1981.

Names of the game

Old names for bandy are hockey on the ice or hockey on ice. Since the mid-20th century the term bandy is usually preferred to prevent confusion with ice hockey. The sport is known by this name in many countries though there are a few notable exceptions. In Russian bandy is called "Russian hockey" (Русский хоккей) or more frequently hockey with ball (xоккей с мячом) while ice hockey is called hockey with puck (xоккей с шайбой) or Canadian hockey. In Belarussian and Ukrainian it's called "хакей з мячам" and "хокей з м'ячем". In Finnish ice ball (jääpallo) and ice hockey is ice puck (jääkiekko). In 2 more languages, Estonian and Hungarian, it's also called ice ball (jääpall and jéglabda), although in Hungarian it's more often called bandy nowadays. In Kazakh bandy is known as ДОПТЫ ХОККЕЙ. In Esperanto glitpilkado.

External links

National Bandy Federations


  2. Welcome to Canada Bandy
  4. Suomen jääpalloliitto
  5. Hungarian Bandy Federation
  6. Latvijas Bendija Federācija
  8. Norges Bandyforbund - Bandy
  9. п⌠п╩п╟п╡п╫п╟я▐
  10. Svenska Bandyförbundet -
  11. Українська Федерація хокею з м'ячем і рінк-бенді
  12. American Bandy Association

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