Rule 6 – Section 4 – Opportunity to Catch a Kick
Rule 6 – Section 4 – Article 1 – Interference with Opportunity
a. If an inbounds player of the receiving team is located where he could catch a free kick or a scrimmage kick that is beyond the neutral zone, and if he is attempting to do so, he must be given an unimpeded opportunity to catch the kick (A.R. 6-3-1:III) (A.R. 6-4-1:V, VI and IX).
b. It is an interference foul if, before the receiver touches the ball, a Team A player enters the area defined by the width of the receiver’s shoulders and extending one yard in front of him. When in question it is a foul. (A.R. 6-4-1:X-XIII)
c. This protection ends when the kick touches the ground (Exception: Free kick, Rule 6-4-1-f below), when any player of Team B muffs or touches a scrimmage kick beyond the neutral zone, or when any player of Team B muffs or touches a free kick in the field of play or in the end zone (Exception: Rule 6-5-1-b). (A.R. 6-4-1:IV)
d. If interference with a potential receiver is the result of a player being blocked by an opponent, it is not a foul.
e. It is an interference foul if the kicking team contacts the potential receiver before, or simultaneous to, his first touching the ball (A.R. 6-4-1:II, III and VIII). When in question, it is an interference foul.
f. During a free kick, a player of the receiving team in position to receive the ball has the same kick-catch and fair-catch protection whether the ball is kicked directly off the tee or is immediately driven to the ground, strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of the ball kicked directly off the tee.
g. If contact by Team A is deemed to be a targeting foul (Rules 9-1-3 and 9-1-4) or any other personal foul that interferes with the receiver’s opportunity to catch a kick, it may be ruled either as interference or as a targeting or personal foul. The 15-yard penalty is enforced at the spot where the dead ball belongs to Team B or at the spot of the foul, at the option of Team B.
PENALTY − For foul between the goal lines: Receiving team’s ball, first down, 15 yards beyond the spot of the foul for an interference foul [S33: KCI]. For foul behind the goal line: Award a touchback and penalise from the succeeding spot. Flagrant offenders shall be disqualified [S47: DSQ].