Touch football

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Touch football is a rugby based game initially invented in Australia[1] and now played in many countries where Rugby is popular.

Touch is mainly played by two (2) teams of six (6) players. The team that wins the coin toss starts with the ball in the 1st half. Play is initiated by a tap, the ball is tapped with the foot (a light kick) and then picked up. Players may only pass the ball back rugby style. Aside from starting play at each period and when a penalty is awarded the ball is not kicked/tapped.

The opposing team tries to make contact with the ball carrier by lightly touching a part of their body or clothing. The ball is then placed on the ground and stepped over (this is called a roll ball after the Rugby League practice of kicking the ball backwards between the legs). The player immediately behind the roll ball (the half) picks up the ball and passes it out. After six (6) touches the ball is given to the opposing team. If the ball is dropped to the ground a turn over also occurs.

The aim of the game is to put the ball down over the try line. Before the play is restarted after a touch the opposing team must back up five (5) yards. If they don't make the five (5) they will be called offside. In this instance the penalised team is given a penalty and forced back ten (10) yards. Teams use a variety of tactics to defeat their opponents. Players switch, wrap, drive and dump to force the defending team to become wrong footed or even offside.

Play is controlled by two (2) referees. One (1) referee stands behind the defending team, the other referee stands on the side line and assists the field referee with offside calls and touch downs.

Mode of Play

The ball may be passed, knocked or handed between onside players of the attacking team who may run or otherwise move the ball in an attempt to gain territorial advantage and score. Defending players prevent the attacking team from gaining a territorial advantage by touching the ball carrier, a this point touch is usually called by the defending player. Either defending or attacking players may initiate touches upon which, play stops and is restated with a roll ball, unless other rules apply.


Each match is forty (40) minutes duration, consisting of two (2) twenty (20) minute halves. There is a five (5) minute break between halves.

End of Play

When time expires play continue until the ball next becomes dead. Should a penalty be awarded during this period, the penalty is to be taken.


A touchdown is awarded when a player (without being touched and other than the half) places the ball on the ground on or over the team’s attacking score line and within the boundaries of the touchdown zone. A touchdown is worth one (1) point.

Touch Football Australia rules of play [2]



External links