Touch History

The establishment of the first national body, the Australian Touch Football Association came in 1976. A highlight came after the drawn Sydney Rugby League Grand Final of 1977 when the rematch needed a curtain-raiser and rugby league officials asked the newly formed ATFA to provide the prelude game. With a crowd of 40,000+ this game helped to raise the profile of Touch in Australia and was nothing short of spectacular according to Bob Dyke in the book "The Story of Touch". Another profile raiser came in 1978 when the Sydney Metropolitan Touch Football side played the touring Great Britain national rugby league team in a high-scoring match, with the local team winning with a disputed touchdown on the siren. As more people began to play Touch more organised competitions developed.

With the formation of these Associations, rules began to be standardised, although an official rule book was not developed until late in 1980.  In September 1981 the sports name was officially changed from ‘Touch Football’ to ‘Touch’.  This was shortly followed by a number of other changes including the introduction of an official touch ball, which is smaller than a League or Union ball and some major rule changes.

Touch is now a recognised sport in its own right with 000’s of people participating in local, regional and national competitions across the globe. The Federation of International Touch is the governing body, which was formed in 1985.

The game has grown rapidly in recent years, especially in the South Pacific and United Kingdom. Touch World Cups now attract up to 20 nations including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, Lebanon, USA, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, England, Italy, Cook Islands, Fiji, Ireland, Malaysia, Kenya, Singapore, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Scotland, Wales, China, Chile, South Korea and the Channel Islands.

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