Referee Has Jurisdiction (except as relates to interference, throwing catcher, and position of players, of which umpire has jurisdiction).

Penalty. - If a player who has an opportunity of making a fair catch (Rule 7) is unlawfully obstructed by an opponent who is off-side and thus prevented from catching the ball, or if a player who has heeled a fair catch is thrown to the ground (unless he has advanced beyond his mark) his side shall have the choice of two penalties, viz.:

1. They may receive 15 yards, in which case they must put the ball in play by a scrimmage; or,

2. They may receive 5 yards, in which case they must put the ball in play by a punt, drop-kick or place-kick.

Fair Catch

(a) A Fair catch consists in catching the ball after it has been kicked by one of the opponents and before it touches the ground, or in similarily catching a punt-out by another of the catcher's own side, provided the player, while making the catch, makes a mark with his heel and takes not more than one step thereafter. It is not a fair catch if the ball, after the kick, was touched by another of his side before the catch. Opponents who are off-side shall not interfere in any way with a player who has an opportunity to make a fair catch, nor shall he be thrown to the ground after such catch is made unless he has advanced beyond his mark.

Suggestion. - This rule does not forbid a player who is on-side from interfering with a fair catch. How often it occurs that such opportunities are missed by players who are on-side; they do not realize that they have just as much right to that ball as the player making the fair catch. When the opponents are attempting a fair catch, after a kick-off, kick-out, punt-out, kick from a fair catch, both sides are on-side and any one may secure the ball or interfere with any one else securing it, since all are on-side.

Putting Ball In Play After Fair Catch

(b) If a side obtains a fair catch, the ball must be put in play by a punt, drop-kick or place-kick, and the opponents cannot come within ten yards of the line on which the fair catch was made; the ball must be kicked from some point directly behind the spot where the catch was made, on a line parallel to the side line.