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Contacting the ball in a player's hands.

The opposing centre was touching the ball when marking the centre pass. However, on three occasions my centre was called for contact with the umpire saying she was initiating the contact by pushing the ball into the players arms. Maybe she was, but how can an umpire be sure who is initiating this? my centre was reduced to tears after being called for the third time (we are talking U12 here). Any ideas?

Hi John,

If the opposing teams centre was the correct distance away (3ft) and had her arms over the ball (not touching) but your centre lifted the ball into the girls arms - likely to be by accident as she would be trying to pass the ball and may have not seen - but in this situation the umpire would be correct. However, if the opposing team's centre when placing their arms over touched the ball and your centre had not moved the ball then this would be contact on the ball by the opposing player. 

For this call to be made the umpire would have to see which occurred first, if the opposing team's centre placed their hands over and your girl moved the ball or if the girl contacted the ball first. It is a difficult decision but encourage your player to not move the ball and highlight that the opposition is touching the ball - this should encourage a call in her favour. Alternatively at quarter time get the player, or yourself, to speak to the umpire regarding the issue and question the call - this will get the umpire to pay more attention and get the call correct. 

Personally, from my experience it is unlikely an U12 girl will have the arm span to be the correct distance away and contact the ball, therefore if she is able to touch the ball she is likely to be within 3ft and thus not allowed. 

Hope this helps. 

Hi John,

Sounds like good advice from you, you always have to play to the umpires decisions whether they be right or wrong. I’m glad you sought out clarification and that the opposing girl was also called up - hopefully your girl can understand that it wasn’t necessarily her fault just the decision of what the umpire sees. 

Good luck in your future matches. 


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