A fair catch in football is a signal the returner can make to allow him to catch the ball on a kickoff or punt without being hindered by players on the opposing team. A fair catch is signaled by waving an arm in the air while the ball is in flight. If a player from the opposing team makes contact with a player who has called for a fair catch during a punt or kickoff, the player who made the contact will be penalized for fair catch interference, which is a 15 yard penalty.
The returner can signal a fair catch when returning a kickoff or punt. On a fair catch, the returner asks for an unhindered attempt at catching the kick. To signal a fair catch, the returner will hold his arm up in the air.
On a fair catch, the return ends immediately when the returner catches the ball.
After a fair catch, the offense starts with the ball at the spot of the fair catch was signaled.