RFL agree partnership with touch rugby governing body

The RFL have agreed a new partnership with the England Touch Association, the national governing body for touch rugby.

The two bodies aim to work closely together in a formal relationship from 2022, when England will host the delayed European Touch Championships in Nottingham.

Hull FC, Hull KR, Leeds Rhinos, Newcastle Thunder, Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors all entered Foundation Touch events in 2021, with men’s and women’s teams involved, and the RFL aim to build on that progress.

“This is a good fit for both organisations, as we aim to increase the number of people of all ages who enjoy Rugby League and Touch Rugby as a way of being fit, active, healthy and happy,” said Simon Johnson, the RFL chair.

“The structure of Touch Rugby is similar to Rugby League, making it easy to pick up and fun to play – at whatever level.

“We believe more people can discover Rugby League through Touch Rugby, just as more people can discover Touch Rugby through Rugby League.”

Touch rugby and Rugby League have been closely linked for the last 50 years, ever since South Sydney RL players first used a minimal contact sport to stay fit during the summer months.

Since then touch rugby has grown substantially, with tens of nations affiliated to the Federation of International Touch and thousands of players taking part in World Cups and European Championships.

Domestically, the ETA has expanded considerably since its founding 25 years ago and now has around 130 affiliated clubs and leagues, with thousands of players taking part.