The FIVB rules state that:
(11.3.1) Contact with the net by a player is not a fault, unless it interferes with the play.
(11.4.4) A player interferes with the opponent’s play by (amongst others):
- touching the top band of the net or the top 80 cm of the antenna during his/her action of playing the ball, or
- taking support from the net simultaneously with playing the ball, or
- creating an advantage over the opponent by touching the net, or
- making actions which hinder an opponent’s legitimate attempt to play the ball.
The only criterion that is clear to me here is the one about touching the top band of the net. What exactly does it mean to interefere with the play or to get an advantage over the opponent?
Suppose the following sample situations:
- An attacker hits the ball and then, while landing back on the court, touches the middle part of the net (not the top band) with his body or with his hand.
- Same as before, but this time a blocker touches the net while landing back on the court.
It seems to me that in all these cases the player would get an advantage in comparison to situations in which they would not touch the net at all, because then they would have to play more carefully and less aggressively, resulting in a less effective hit.
What are the rules that one should follow to distinguish valid and invalid net contacts?