Five new rules are due to come into force tomorrow in time for this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro with an alteration to the use of a goalkeeper as an outfield player among the key changes made by the International Handball Federation (IHF).
Under the current rules, teams are able to substitute their goalkeeper to have seven outfield players on the court, with the replacement forced to bib to identify them as the goalkeeper.
A rule change means it will no longer be mandatory for the substitute player to wear the bib, while none of the seven outfield players will be able to carry out the role of goalkeeper, preventing them from entering the goal area.
In the event that a player enters the area to halt a scoring opportunity, the opposing team will now be awarded a seven metre throw.
Should the team with seven outfield players need to complete a goalkeeper throw, they will now be required to substitute a goalkeeper back on to take the throw, with referees set to decide whether a time-out will be required.
The IHF have also sought to reduce instances where players can ask for medical attention, when it was unnecessary, with the governing body claiming more instances of the practice have occurred in recent years which have affected the rhythm of matches and television broadcasts.
To cut down on the practice, players treated on court will now be forced to leave the court after receiving treatment and will only be allowed to return when the third attack of their team is complete, with an attack deemed to start with possession of the ball and ends in the event a goal is scored or the ball is lost.
The rule will not be enforced in the event that a player’s treatment is due to an injury sustained as a result of an opposing player’s behaviour or when a goalkeeper’s head it struck by the ball, resulting in necessary treatment on court.
A change has also been made regarding passive play, after requests from coaching and refereeing experts to give officials less subjective and more objective criteria when enforcing the forewarning signal.
Currently when the forewarning signal is made by a referee, a team, who have been deemed to be playing passively, are required to change their behaviour or face the prospect of giving their opponent a free throw.
An alternation to the rule will now see a team required to take a shot after six passes have been made following the signal, with the referee awarding a free throw should they not achieve the feat.
To combat unsportsmanlike behaviour or serious fouls in the final moments of a match, should a foul be committed in the final 30 seconds to prevent a goal, it could result in a seven metre throw being awarded to the opposing team.
Should a player or team official prevents or delay a throw for the opposing team, they will be penalised with disqualification and the seven metre throw.
In the event that the attacking player is able to score or pass to a team-mate who finds the net, a seven metre throw will not be awarded.
Referees are also set to have a blue card, in addition yellow and red cards in matches, in order to provide further clarifications over the disqualification of players.
In the event a blue card is shown to a player, a written report will be given with the scorecard to teams, with the Disciplinary Committee responsible for further actions.
The rules were tested at both the 2015 Men’s Junior and Youth World Championships in Brazil and Russia respectively.
"According to the surveys conducted by the IHF in collaboration with the participating teams, technical delegates and referees after the aforementioned World Championships, the rules concerned were positively received and met with the approval of the participants," the IHF said.
"Therefore, the following five changes to the Rules of the Game, as presented by the IHF New Rules Working Group, were unanimously ratified by the IHF Council, in its meeting in Sochi, Russia on 6 November 2015, and announced at the XXXV Ordinary IHF Congress in Sochi on 7 November 2015."
With the changes set to come into force tomorrow, teams will be made to follow the new rules at Rio 2016 in August.