Holding the ball

Holding the ball is a rule in Australian rules football. The rule results in a free kick being awarded against a player if he fails to correctly dispose of the football upon being tackled by an opponent, although not under all circumstances. The rule provides the defending team a means to dispossess a player who is running with the football, as well as preventing players from slowing the play. The holding the ball rule dates to the formative years of the game. It has a long history as one of the most contentious rules in the game and one of the most difficult to umpire consistently, in large part due to the several points of umpire discretion involved in its interpretation.


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