Rules of Touch Football

Refereeing this season? Make sure you're up-to-date with the playing rules and relevant competition by-laws, which you can find below!

The most recent version of the touch football playing rules have been in effect since January 1, 2020. If you are returning to the game after an absence, please see below some educational videos published by Touch Football Australia to assist you to understand the changes that were implemented in Edition 8.

Official Clarifications

3 March 2023 (Rules 12.1, 12.2 & 12.3) - Clarification of the touch count when the ball is brought back into play after a knockdown


  • When a defender deliberately makes contact with the ball, causing it to go to ground, then the attacking team retains possession and will restart play with a rollball on zero touch and the subsequent touch will be first touch.

29 May 2023 (Rule 24.4) - Clarification of the number of players allowed on the field during a drop-off, when one team has had a player dismissed for the remainder of the match


  • A numerical advantage shall always apply to the non-offending team.
  • Where a team has a player dismissed from the match during normal time, and the match proceeds to extra time (a drop-off), the team will start extra-time with one less player than their opposition (i.e. 3v4 players).
  • After two minutes, if there is no winner, then both teams will remove one extra player (now 2v3 players) and play will continue until there is a winner.
  • If a player is sin-binned during extra-time, the match will continue until the player has served the required time, or a try is scored resulting in the end of the match.
  • The match does not end if a team's on-field strength drops below 3 players.

12 October 2023 (Rule 18.8) - Clarification regarding the Exclusion Rule and non-deliberate acts


  • The Exclusion is meant to deter deliberate acts that prevent progression of the game, i.e. intentionally not moving forward, etc.
  • While the "no freeze" rule is in effect (i.e. a defender has entered the 7m zone), if a defending player attempts to intercept the ball but cannot gain control, and instead projects the ball forward to a player in their own team (which is deemed a forward pass under the playing rules), the subsequent penalty (for the forward pass) does not count towards the three (3) penalties required to exclude a player under Rule 18.8.
Memo's, Guidelines, and Directives

15 June 2023 - New Guidelines for Negative Behaviour Towards Referees


  • Players and Team Officials (Coaches, Managers, etc.) will no longer receive in-game warnings for negative behaviour toward referees (or their decisions). A Penalty (minimum) will be awarded immediately against the offending team.

To help you understand the rules of touch football, here's a series of videos created by Touch Football Australia which explain the basics.