Forget the intense training sessions and hard out game faces; Get the sweat bands, Fluorescent zinc, the 30 plus sunscreen, the ice vests, and the after game social drinks and BBQ ready to roll – summer Touch Football is back folks, and in a big way…Touch Football Australia is welcoming affiliates Australia wide to an action packed summer of fun around the touch fields of the nation.Summer Touch Football is booming around the Country with record numbers clambering to sign their teams up to experience the fun, friendship, and fitness aspects of the game that generates wide appeal, interest, and participation from a huge cross section of the community.Established competitions are going better than a Justine Henin-Harden backhand, with teams needing to be accommodated with additional timeslots, competition nights, and in some cases, venues, right across the Country.New competitions are popping up faster than high rises on delisted heritage sites as Australians embrace our game during a long hot summer.Whether it’s the warmer weather, the flexibility of various age categories and gender configurations, a recess in the Football codes and other winter ball sports, increased leisure time in a more relaxed holiday atmosphere, or just the fact that with the festive season beckoning the need to exercise to avoid an unwanted visit from a few extra kilograms is a necessity, our game has become the first choice sport for many during summer.TFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Colm Maguire is looking forward to the Sizzling Summer of Touch Football across the nation and believes there are many contributing factors to the sport’s popularity during this period.“I believe summer Touch Football is so successful because it’s a great activity for people to participate in with friends and or family without the burden of training etc. It is outdoors and has a real community feel where by everyone is involved often. The sport is one of the few that you can play with your partner or your kids as well as pick and choose what level you feel is appropriate and then get into it. Our competitions across the Country are totally inclusive and offer a niche for everyone. It is enjoyable and fun, or it is deadly serious. We have some great affiliate action and showcase tournaments to look forward to in coming months and it’s a great time to be involved in the sport,” Mr. Maguire said. All forms of the game are thriving at this time from grass root level AusTouch programs, to social and park level competitions, and prestigious showcase tournaments in all States of Australia.AusTouch, Touch Football Australia’s entry-level program to the game for Juniors, has over 1300 participants enrolled in the program since August. Over 1000 of these enrollments have been for summer season installments of the popular introductory program.Borroloola in the Northern Territory has signed up an impressive 200 strong children, whilst Goldfields in Western Australia has 150 participants at the biggest of its 6 statewide centres.Summer is tournament season for many of our States with showcase events being played all around the nation.In Queensland, the Regional State Championships were held last month, and the First Contact Cultural Festival that annually attracts over 5000 people to the Brisbane Metropolitan Touch Association (BMTA) will be held on the weekend on the 23-25 November 2007.BMTA have 260 teams registered across competitions in Brisbane over summer, and there are new Brisbane City venues at Inala, Kedron, and Norman Park.In North Queensland the recent NQ Junior Championships attracted record numbers, whilst on the tournament front, South Queensland & Border Districts will host their Annual Sharks Cup this weekend 17-18 November 2007 at Labrador in 18s, Open, Seniors, and Masters Mixed divisions.Summer competitions are thriving in South West Queensland, Central Queensland, and on the Sunshine Coast as well.Victoria is working its way through a hectic summer of tournaments including the recently completed School Sport Australia Championships, The VT League featuring the cream of Victoria’s elite performers that will culminate in a Grand Final Spectacular on 1st December 2007, and the Annual Trans-Tasman clash featuring the best of Victoria’s Australian based Kiwis against Victoria’s best representative players will be fiercely contested on the 16th December 2007.The Western Australia (WA) Super League is in full swing, with various affiliates taking turns to host the weekly representative showcase event that will culminate with a Grand Final Day on the 20th January 2008.Other highlights include the Touch West “Be Active” Junior League that will run from both North and South venues in Metropolitan Perth from 2nd February 2008, and the WA State Championships on 29th January – 2nd February 2008.The Summer season in WA is hugely popular with 550 registered affiliates, compared to 220 registered affiliates in Winter.WA also welcome a new affiliate for Summer in Cottesloe and Districts Sunset Touch Association.The Australian Capital Territory Touch Association is also hosting a Super League Series over summer for ACTTA Constituent clubs, hot on the heels of its successful Canberra Cup, staged on 2-4 November 2007.The ACTTA’s domestic competition is going great guns with 273 teams, 14 more than last summer season, taking up their spots on the half way lines of fields in the nation’s capital.ACT Junior competition numbers have swollen significantly with 136 teams in ACT Touch competitions and 25 teams at the Queanbeyan affiliate. This represents an increase on numbers of approximately 34%. Tasmania are cranking up their main season with players in affiliates in the major centres of Launceston, Devonport, and Hobart dusting off the boots for a summer of fun on the touch fields.Last week’s Tasmanian Junior State Championships was a huge success with teams contesting for the crown in divisions of 12 Years – 16 Years to demonstrate the strong standing of Junior Touch in the summer months in the Apple Isle.Southern Touch has launched its summer Premier League on Friday nights for Division 1 Men’s and Women’s and Division 2 Men’s, whilst Devonport Touch will host the Inaugural Northern Challenge on 24th November 2007.The Northern Challenge will comprise regional teams from Devonport and Launceston, as well as invitational teams from the Southern Touch Association. This will be the selection tournament for the Northern teams to compete in the new look State Cup hosted by Launceston Touch in February 2008. The new format will see the North play the South to showcase Tasmania’s elite level players.In South Australia, Summer is shaping up in a huge way, with new affiliate Victor Harbour joining 13 other growing affiliates around the State. Registrations are up 15% across the board over summer with 300 teams playing across the various affiliates.The Inaugural Touch Football South Australia Junior Touch league will run for six weeks up to December 16th 2007, and the Portavin Wine Charity Fundraiser Tournament will bring together some of South Australia’s major sporting stars, the touch community, and the general public on 25 November, 2007 to participate in a highly anticipated day of Touch Football and social activities.In the Northern Territory, the Darwin Touch Competition will culminate with Grand Finals on the 14th December 2007.The Australia Day knockout, played over the Australia Day long weekend on Monday 28th January 2008, will be a further summer highlight, whilst the growth of the NT Junior Competition is a pleasing reflection of development work and the establishment of AusTouch centres around the Territory.For the founding fathers’ of the sport, the New South Wales Touch Association, summer represents a sharp intake in registration numbers across the 159 affiliate in Blue’s territory.Six new affiliates have been established across the State for the Summer season and there is a 2-3% growth in Adult competitions across the state and 5-10% growth in juniors. The various regional areas of NSW will contest a plethora of tournaments, with 9 major events on the calendar over summer.The hugely popular Yass Knockout from 25-27 January 2008, and the prestigious NSWTA Junior State Cup to be contested on the 16-17 February 2008, headline an impressive list of tournaments. The jewel in the crown however, is the Annual NSWTA State Cup from 7-9 December 2007.Over 4000 people are expected to converge on Port Macquarie for 3 days of intense competition and endless fun in one of Australia’s biggest and most-loved tournaments, now entering its 30th year in existence. It isn’t just on the grass that our game is carving up the numbers either, the advent of water restrictions in a number of States has meant that Beach Touch competitions have become a real alternative for Touch Footy enthusiasts who are keen to experience the sport in a very different, exciting, and high octane format.Beach Touch competitions and events are on the rise this summer at venues around the nation including Fremantle in Western Australia, and at various locations in Queensland. The SQBD region will also host a Secondary Schools Beach touch tournament on Monday 26th November 2007 at Greenmount Beach Coolangatta.TFA Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Colm Maguire has instigated a program for TFA staff to contact each affiliate in Australia this week to officially welcome them to the Summer season and discuss their individual needs coming into what promises to be a very busy time for all.“TFA have a number of exciting concepts slated for summer aimed at improving our service to members. The first is improved communication across the board. We appreciate the work our affiliates do and it is crucial that the lines of communication are open and clear so that we can all work together to generate tangible outcomes for our members,” Mr. Maguire said.TFA will shortly unveil a range of services and products that will further foreground Touch Football as a sport on the move.“We have a new look website, affiliate and referee reward programs, new merchandise, and an increased community focus among other initiatives. I think innovations like the trends of the game and sporting pulse TV will only enhance our ability to maintain and attract new members. We are lining things up with our Strategic Plan which provides a real blueprint for the future with measureable outcomes and I believe everyone is looking forward to where the sport is going in the next couple of years,” Mr. Maguire said.So from Longreach to Launceston, slap on the sunscreen, apply the mozzie repellent, kit up and settle in for TFA’s sizzling summer of Touch Football.