Touch (sport)

Last updated

Touch (also known as Touch Football or Touch Rugby) is a variant of rugby league that is organised by the Federation of International Touch (FIT).

Contents

Touch is a variation of rugby league with the tackling of opposing players replaced by a touch. As touches must be made with minimal force, touch is therefore a limited-contact sport. The basic rules of touch were established in the 1960s by the South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club. [1]

Distinctive features of touch football include the ease of learning it, minimal equipment requirements and the ability to play it without fear of major injury. While it is generally played with two teams of six on-field players, some social competitions allow different number of players per team on the field. It is played by both sexes, and in age divisions from primary school children to over-50s. The mixed version of the game (where both male and female players are on the field at the same time) is particularly popular with social players.

History

While it is often claimed[ who? ] that Touch started in Australia in 1963 as a social or "park" game and as a training technique for rugby league, at least as early as 1956, supervised Touch and Pass was already being played at several inner city schools in the North of England, where asphalt playgrounds made normal rugby league too dangerous. Although the rules were set out by the schools' sports teachers, it was not then viewed as a sport in its own right. It was formalised into a sport proper by the "Founders of Touch", Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon of the South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club. On 13 July 1968 the "South Sydney Touch Football Club" was formed and the sport of Touch Football was born. The first actual official game of Touch was played in late 1968 and the first official competition, organised by Dyke & Vawdon, was held at Rowland Park Sydney in 1968. From these humble beginnings the game quickly became a fully regulated and codified sport. It was first played in Brisbane in 1972 and by 1973 there were representative games. [2] It had spread to New Zealand by 1975. [3] [4]

Rules and Equipment

Rules

The current rules are the 8th Edition published by Touch Football Australia in 2020. The rules include a section of touch-specific terms and phrases, many of which are shared with rugby league (e.g. offside, intercept).

Playing Field

Touch is played on a grass, rectangular field measuring 70 x 50 metres (i.e. one half of a rugby league field). As kicking is not allowed, goal posts are not required.

Ball

Touch balls are oval and slightly smaller than rugby league balls. The official size is 36 cm long and 55 cm in circumference, also sometimes known as rugby size 4.

Clothing

Players typically wear light clothing such as singlets, T-shirts or polo shirts and shorts. All shirts must be numbered. Women generally wear lycra bike shorts, athletic briefs or swimsuit-style lycra bodysuits.

Footwear

Players normally wear soft rubber cleated shoes, similar to those used in other grass sports such as cricket and field hockey. Screw-in cleats are strictly prohibited, though moulded-sole football boots may be worn.

Referee

Touch must have at least one referee to manage the game but most major games feature one central referee and two sideline referees, who interchange roles repeatedly throughout the game.

Positions

Teams are generally split into three positions: two "wings" (the players on either edge of the field i.e. 'right wing' and 'left wing'); two "middles" (the central players); and two "links" (the players between the wings and middles, one on each side of the field i.e. 'right link' and 'left link'). [5]

Possession

A team normally retains possession for a set of six consecutive touches as in rugby league. Possession (or a Turnover) transfers to the opposing team:

Scoring

A try is awarded when an attacking player, who is not the acting-half places the ball on or over the opposition's try line. Each try is worth one point.

Half

The Half (or Acting-Half) is subject to a number of restrictions that do not apply to other players:

These restrictions do not apply to a Half who passes the ball to a teammate (or indeed opposition player) and then receives it back.

Interchanges

Composition of teams

Mode of play

The ball can be passed or knocked (but not kicked) sideways or backwards between teammates who attempt to evade opposition defenders and score tries.

Match Duration

The standard duration is 40 minutes (two x 20-minute halves) with a 5-minute halftime, though other time frames are often used to suit local conditions and competitions.

World Rugby

World Rugby, world governing body of the rules of Rugby Union, published in November 2010 a draft of leisure rules of Touch Rugby IRB for developmental purposes. Those Laws were adapted from the FIT playing rules for the sport of Touch.

The document states: "Council agreed that these Leisure Rugby Laws are issued as a guide for developmental purposes and Unions are not bound to apply the Laws" and "IRB Leisure Rugby Laws have been designed so that Unions may develop non-Contact Rugby. These Laws have been produced so that there are some guidelines and principles in place for IRB Leisure Rugby. Unions having jurisdiction over their developmental processes, matches, competitions and festivals may need to vary these Laws as deemed appropriate. This allows domestic Rugby clubs to adapt to the FIT playing rules, provided domestic Touch Associations are in agreeance."

International Competitions

World Cup

The inaugural Touch World Cup was held on the Gold Coast, Australia in 1988. Since then, the event has been hosted in Auckland (New Zealand)(1991), Waikiki Beach (Hawaii)(1995), Sydney (Australia)(1999), Kamagaya (Japan)(2003), Stellenbosch (South Africa) (2007), Edinburgh (Scotland) (2011), Coffs Harbour (Australia) (2015) and Putrajaya (Malaysia) (2019) . [6]

Trans-Tasman Tests

There is a regular program of Test matches between Australia and New Zealand known as Trans-Tasman Tests. [7] Tests are divided into separate events for each age category, being:

Pacific Games

Touch has been played at the Pacific Games since 2003. [8] It is an optional sport for the Pacific Games program [9] and the tournaments include men's, women's and mixed competitions. [10] [11]

European Championships

The Federation of International Touch (FIT) conducts the European Touch Championships, affectionately known as "The Euro's", biannually.

The 2010 Euro's in Bristol, UK attracted 54 teams and over 900 players to the event. The 2012 Euro's were held in Treviso, Italy from 8–12 September 2012

Masters Games

Touch is a very popular sport at the various Masters Games events.

World All Schools

The World All Schools event attracts hundreds of teams from schools around the world. It is held every 2 years. In 2006 the event was held in Singapore, prior to that it was held in Brisbane. The 2008 event (held in Brisbane after the event was cancelled in New Zealand) was by far the largest, hosting over 250 teams.

Touch worldwide

Australia

Touch is played in every Australian state and territory, and is particularly popular in the rugby league and rugby union strongholds of Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT. There are currently over 700,000 registered Touch players, 500,000 school children, and up to 100,000 casual players playing the sport. [12] The peak governing body is Touch Football Australia. [13]

Australia's main domestic competition is the National Touch League (NTL) and Elite 8 Series. Thirteen permits, representing all parts of Australia, compete in open-age, under-20 and over-age (Masters) divisions in men's, women's and mixed categories. The permits have been designed to equalise competition between the traditionally strong Touch states of ACT, Queensland and NSW and the remainder of the country.

Touch has a State of Origin series every 2 years. The series is played between Touch strongholds Queensland and New South Wales.

School Sport Australia runs the National Championship Tournament and Exchange for Touch every year – the location moves from state to state. Most Australian States and Territories enter Boys and Girls teams in both the High School (15 and under) and Primary School (12 and under) divisions.

Touch Football Australia (TFA) and the National Rugby League (NRL) signed a memorandum of understanding in August 2013, bringing together the two entities under a partnership agreement to develop the sport across both codes. The agreement recognises the similarities between both Touch and Rugby league and that there are significant benefits to both through a dual-track pathway. [14] The agreement resulted in the creation of a unified "NRL Touch Football" brand in Australia, which has since resulted in a major profile and funding boost for the sport within the country, including the signing of a commercial partnership agreement between the two entities and the principle "whole of game sponsor", Harvey Norman.

In May 2018, under the NRL Touch Football partnership, the organisation launched the NRL Touch Premiership, to be played alongside NRL matches by teams drawn from the Elite 8 Series and aligned to NRL clubs. [15]

Austria

The Touch Austria Association became an associate member of F.I.T (Federation International Touch) in October 2009 with 3 official member clubs (Touch Rugby Vienna, ACC Touch, Touch Voralberg). 2009 saw the establishment of the Austrian Touch League (ATL) plus the first ever national Touch teams (Mixed and Men's) that competed in the 2009 Mainland Cup. Touch Austria also sends teams to contest regular events in other tournaments in Europe.

Chile

Touch has been played in Chile since 1998 by initiative of foreign residents in the country, where Chilean players and teams were added, giving way to the creation of the official body Touch Rugby Chile. Currently in Chile, touch is played in different cities: Santiago: Santiago Touch Rugby league, which brings together 16 teams and played in mixed category. Senior Touch league: which brings together 7 teams, it is played only by men over 40 years, once a month. The league adopted the official Touch rules in 2016, being supported by referees who belong to the Federation of Chile Touch. Schools: It is practiced in several schools where rugby is played. Touch is also developing in regions outside of Santiago like Rancagua and Paine. Chile participates in the following international tournaments: Torneo Trasandino: This tournament has been held since 2014 in the cities of Cordoba, Mendoza and Santiago (three tournaments a year), with the participation of teams from the cities mentioned, plus Rancagua and Paine. USA Touch Nationals & International Club Open. This league is held annually in the United States, with the participation of several states of that nation plus other countries like Chile, which is attending since 2012. Touch World Cup. The last edition was 2015 in Australia. Chile participated for the first time, achieving an outstanding participation: Bronze group winners and ranked No. 13 of the FIT Open Mixed Division.

England

An England Touch Association was formed in 1995 and had over 65 member clubs and 1,000 individual members by the end of 2016. [16]

France

Touch France is the national association in charge of the development of the Touch in France. The French Men's Over 30s is the first French team to win an international competition by winning the 2012 Euros in Treviso. In the very same category, France Men's Over 30s won a bronze medal in Putrajaya, Malaysia in the 9th Touch Football World Cup.

Germany

Touch is played in Germany since 2003 by round about 500 active players. In 2005 the official national governing body Touch Deutschland Sportverein (TDSV) was founded, which is a full member of the FIT and has sent teams to the European Cup and World Championships. Clubs now exist in Berlin, Bonn, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Gießen, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Cologne (Köln), Leipzig, Munich, Osnabrück, Paderborn and Rüthen. The German Championships are held every year since 2005. Record title holder is the club from Munich.

Italy

Touch Rugby Italia (TRI) is the official body recognised by FIT for the development of the Touch in Italy. Currently there are 14 teams affiliated to TRI. TRI send regularly national teams to International Events in Europe

Japan

Japan Touch Association (JTA) is the official body recognised by FIT for the development of the Touch in Japan. In 2016, there are 32 clubs recognized by JTA, while 55 teams played for Tokyo Touch tournament. Assuming the recognition rate is 40%, it is estimated 2000 active players in 110 clubs.

Malaysia

Touch Malaysia (TM) is the official body for the sport in Malaysia and the Malaysian member of the Federation International Touch (FIT) – the International Federation. [17] A number of touch football teams can be found in Malaysia including the Penang Panthers. The Panthers were founded in 2011 by Christopher Woodhams, a Birmingham born philanthropist and educator. Matt Lee, a star player in Australia, helps run the club. Matt took the Asian Club Championships, held in KL in June 2013, by storm and dominated the opposition with his pace and shrewd passing abilities. The Panthers were the best placed Malaysian team at the Asian Club Championship and were the Men's Masters runners up. [18]

Scotland

Touch has been played in Scotland since 1991 in informal leagues in Edinburgh and Glasgow. The sport soon spread to Aberdeen with a well established league forming soon afterwards.

In 2005, the Scottish Touch Association (STA) was formally constituted as the governing body to help develop the sport. By 2007 the association had welcomed new participants from Dundee, Perth and Stirling to join existing leagues, held its first formal national championships, trained over 150 referees and won the tender to host the 2011 World Cup in Edinburgh.

Singapore

Touch Singapore (TSG) is the governing body recognised by FIT for Touch Football. Established in 2017, Touch Singapore hosts two league competitions every year with over 95 teams entering across 12 category divisions. Singapore has won bronze at two Touch World Cups in 2011 & 2015 in the Women's Open category. There are over 5,000 players playing competitively and socially in Singapore with 2,000 registered players in the league competitions. TSG also host the Singapore International Touch Knockout tournament which see clubs from all over Asia competing over a two-day competition.

South Africa

Touch in South Africa is overseen by the [South African Touch Association, and is often known as 'Six Down'. South Africa has had national representation at all Touch World Cups since 1995. There are already over 6,000 registered players in South Africa.[ citation needed ]

Switzerland

Touch Switzerland (TS) is the official body recognised by FIT for the development of Touch in Switzerland. Switzerland has competed in all European Championships since 2006 and in the 2007 and 2011 World Cup. Switzerland sends teams to contest regular events in other tournaments in Europe. The biggest accomplishment so far is winning the Mainland Cup in Heidelberg in 2009 – coming third in the Women's Open and first in the Men's Open divisions. As of 2020, there are TS-affiliated clubs in Baden, Bagnes, Basel, Bern, Egg, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, Zug and Zurich. [19]

United States

There are touch communities in Fort Lauderdale, FL, Orlando, FL, Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Los Angeles, San Francisco, California, Washington, DC, New York City, Chicago, IL, Houston, TX, Dallas, TX, San Diego, California, West Palm Beach, FL, Boston, MA, and Sandy, UT. The current President of United States Federation of Touch is OJ Hawea.

Thailand

Touch is played regularly in various parts of Thailand, mostly by expats, many of whom are teachers living in Thailand. Touch is particularly popular in Phuket and Bangkok, and is also popular with Thai locals who are gaining an interest in rugby yearly.

See also

Related Research Articles

Rugby football Collective term for rugby union and rugby league team sports

Rugby football is a collective name for the family of team sports of rugby union and rugby league, as well as the earlier forms of football from which both games, as well as Australian rules football and Gridiron football evolved. Canadian football and to a lesser extent American football were also broadly considered forms of rugby football but are seldom now referred to as such.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a full-contact team sport that originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is played between two teams of 15 players each, using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field called a pitch. The field has H-shaped goalposts at both ends.

Rugby league Full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field

Rugby league, often called simply as rugby or league, is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field measuring 68 m wide and 112–122 m long. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to the players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.

Super League (Australia) Australian rugby league competition active in 1997

Super League was an Australian rugby league football administrative body that conducted professional competition in Australia and New Zealand for one season in 1997. Along with Super League of Europe, it was created by News Corporation during the Super League war which arose following an unsuccessful attempt to purchase the pay television rights to rugby league in Australia. After two years of legal battles the competition was played for a single season in 1997 alongside the rival Australian Rugby League (ARL) competition before the two merged in 1998 to form the National Rugby League (NRL).

Tag rugby

Tag rugby, or flag rugby, is a non-contact team game in which each player wears a belt that has two velcro tags attached to it, or shorts with velcro patches. The mode of play is based on rugby league with many similarities to touch football, although tag rugby is often deemed as a closer simulation of the full contact codes of rugby than touch. Attacking players attempt to dodge, evade and pass a rugby ball while defenders attempt to prevent them scoring by "tagging" – pulling a velcro attached tag from the ball carrier, rather than a full contact tackle. Tag rugby is used in development and training by both rugby league and rugby union communities.

Touch rugby

Touch rugby refers to games derived from rugby football in which players do not tackle each other but instead touch their opponents using their hands on any part of the body, clothing, or the ball.

The International Rugby League (IRL) is the global governing body for the sport of rugby league football. Previously known as the Rugby League Imperial Board, the International Rugby League Board and latterly the Rugby League International Federation, the IRL is responsible for the Laws of the Game, the development, organisation and governance of rugby leagues internationally, and for the sport's major international tournaments; most notably the Rugby League World Cup.

Rugby league in New Zealand

Rugby league in New Zealand dates to the beginning of the sport in England.

Sport is an important part of the culture of Western Australia.

Touch Football World Cup

The first Touch Football World Cup tournament was held in 1988. Touch football and the Touch football world cup are monitored by the international governing body for touch the FIT. The Touch world cup has been hosted in five continents but is yet to be played in South America. Australia has hosted the World Cup the most having hosted it thrice. While the number of participant teams is growing steadily, almost all finals to date have been contested between Australia and New Zealand. Australia has won the most finals.

Rugby league sevens is a seven-a-side derivative of rugby league football, which is usually a thirteen-a-side sport. The game is substantially the same as full rugby league, with some rule changes and shorter games. Sevens is usually played in festivals, as its shorter game play allows for a tournament to be completed in a day or over a single weekend.

Australian rules football in Asia

Australian Rules Football has been played as an organised sport in Asia since the late 1980s with teams based in Australian expatriate communities and around universities, such as in Tokyo, Japan. Before this time, only informal matches had been played in some countries, the majority involving Australian servicemen, such as a 1941 game held in Port Dickson, British Malaya. The first international games in Asia started in the early 1990s Since the 1990s footy in the region has boomed with AFL Clubs developing in most Asian countries. Played mainly by expatriate Australians, however in some countries such as Japan, China and Indonesia there is a large portion of locals in the playing base.

Variations of Australian rules football

Variations of Australian rules football are games or activities based on or similar to the game of Australian rules football, in which the player uses common Australian rules football skills. They range in player numbers from 2 up to the minimum 38 required for a full Australian rules football.

Rugby league match officials

Rugby league match officials are responsible for fairly enforcing the Laws of the Game from a neutral point of view during a match of rugby league football and imposing penalties for deliberate breaches of these Laws. The most senior match official is the referee. They may be assisted by a range of other officials depending on the level and rules of the competition.

In rugby league football, the Laws of the Game are the rules governing how the sport is played. The Laws are the responsibility of the Rugby League International Federation, and cover the play, officiating, equipment and procedures of the game.

NRL Nines

The NRL Nines is a rugby league nines competition held during the preseason in Perth. It was formerly held in Auckland, staged by Duco Events with the National Rugby League and played annually prior to the beginning of the NRL season proper from 2014 until 2017. The inaugural tournament was staged between 15 – 16 February 2014, with subsequent tournaments being played earlier in the year normally at the end of January. The NRL signed a five-year agreement for Auckland's Eden Park to host the tournament with the 2014 event being the first. This expired in 2018, and the 2020 Nines were held in Perth at Perth Oval.

Rugby league in the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands national rugby league team represents Solomon Islands in the sport of rugby league football. They are, in fact, planning a top-level tournament in 2010–11, after the capital of Honiara hosts an inter-city exhibition league, the Honiara Rugby League; expected in August 2009 but now it seems early 2010 will be the most convenient point for when it will be held after an uphold in the delivery of the participating teams jerseys caused delays. They are an unaffiliated nation and were recognised by the RLIF as having official observer status in early 2009. They are scheduled to participate in their first-ever test match against a touring New South Wales Police Team in November 2010.

Cabramatta International Nines is a rugby league nines tournament held annually in Cabramatta, New South Wales, Australia it was first held in 2003. The 2020 will be broadcast online by The81stMinute Call Team on steelesports.com.au with video streaming through the Cabramatta Facebook page. This will be the fourth time The81stMinute Call Team has broadcast the Nines.

Touch Football Australia

Touch Football Australia (TFA) is the governing body of touch football in Australia. It is a member of the Federation of International Touch (FIT), the sport's international governing body.

2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s

The 2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s was the first staging of the Rugby League World Cup 9s tournament and took place on 18 and 19 October 2019 at Sydney's Bankwest Stadium. The tournament featured teams from 12 International Rugby League member countries, 4 of which also fielded teams in the women's tournament. In the men's final, Australia defeated New Zealand, while in the women's final, New Zealand defeated Australia.

References

  1. "The Evolution of Touch – Federation of International Touch – SportingPulse International". Sportingpulse.com. 2 November 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  2. No Cookies | The Courier Mail
  3. "Touch Football Australia: Home". Austouch.com.au. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  4. Touch Positions – Touchdump
  5. "World Cup – Federation of International Touch".
  6. "Trans Tasman Test History – Federation of International Touch – SportingPulse International". Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  7. "2003 South Pacific Games – Touch Rugby: Day 2 action and results". Sports Pulse. 8 July 2003. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  8. Charter – Constitution, Code of Conduct, Protocols, and Regulations adopted Apia, Samoa 14 May 2006 – As amended most recently in Noumea, New Caledonia, 27 August 2010 (Report). Pacific Games Council. 2010. p. 15.
  9. "2015 Pacific Games". Federation of Intrenational Touch. 7 July 2015. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  10. "2007 South Pacific Games – Touch". Sports Pulse. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  11. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 May 2012. Retrieved 8 January 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. "Touch Football Australia". Mytouchfooty.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  13. Andrew Webster. "Midas touch: merger tees up golden future for the game". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  14. "NRL announces historic Touch football premiership competition". National Rugby League. 1 April 2018. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  15. "Annual Report: Chief Executive's report" (PDF). October 2016. p. 6. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  16. "About Touch Malaysia – Touch Malaysia – SportingPulse International". Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  17. "Asian Club Championships Wrap Up – Touch Malaysia – SportingPulse International". Sportingpulse.com. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  18. "Touch Clubs in Switzerland".