Touch Football was formally established in 1968 by Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon of the South Sydney Juniors rugby league club.
Although closely aligned to Rugby League, all heavy body contact is eliminated in Touch Football. There are no tackles, scrums or kicking. The emphasis is on running, agility, passing and catching.
Originally devised as a training method for League players and a means for retired players to still compete and remain fit, the game had spread across Australia and New Zealand by 1976.
Women’s Touch was first played at a representative level in 1979, the first National Championships held in 1980 and the first Touch World Cup in 1988. The first National Touch League (NTL) tournament was launched in 1997.
In 2013, the NRL and Touch Football Australia formed a partnership and 2018 sees the 50th anniversary of the game.
Today, Touch is among the highest participation-based organised sports with over 613,000 taking part. Forty-six per cent of these are female, and participants can play in men’s, women’s, or mixed gender teams, and of any age or sporting ability.
The sport is now played in 53 countries worldwide.
TIMELINE OF TOUCH FOOTBALL
Game formally established at Souths Juniors, originally as a training method for League players and as a means for retired players to still compete and remain fit
NSW Touch Association formed with six affiliated associations and approximately 1500 registered players
First Interstate clash between a team from NSW and QLD
Game spreads internationally to New Zealand
First International match (AUS v NZ); Touch played as curtain raiser to 1976 Rugby League Grand Final
Australian Touch Association formed
Women’s Touch first played at rep level
First National Championships held, catering for 1000 players and officials. Game starts to develop its own unique rules and become a sport in its own right; first official rule book released
First Touch World Cup held at Gold Coast; goes on to be held at four-year intervals
First National Touch League (NTL) tournament held
First Touch World Cup hosted in Asia (Japan)
First Touch World Cup hosted in Europe (Scotland)
NRL and Touch Football Australia form a partnership
50th Anniversary of Touch Football. More than 613,000 participants.