Touch heavyweights in Paris to shape the future of the sport

Oct. 21, 2019 @ 0:00 UTC

Member representatives from the almost 50-strong nations competing in Touch, one of the world’s most rapidly developing team sports, will meet this week in Paris to plot its exciting future.

The inaugural Federation of International Touch (FIT) Member Workshop to be held at the Hotel Novotel Paris Saclay from Friday, 25th October - Sunday, 27 October 2019 is attracting representatives from Touch heavyweights France, England, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as Italy, Wales, China, Singapore, Japan, Jersey, and Chile plus new members Sri Lanka and Bulgaria.

President of FIT, Mr Erik Acker said, “With more than 2 million people playing Touch globally, there’s never been a better time for us to come together to plan the future of our great game.

“This workshop is a chance for our members to tell us about Touch in their countries and how we can work together to build on the profile and energy we generated in Malaysia at the World Cup.”

Some of the issues the FIT Member Workshop will address will include the strategic direction of the sport, events including European and World Cups, sport development, player eligibility, inclusivity, governance, rules and refereeing, marketing, and communications.

“However, we also want to hear from our members about the critical successes and challenges influencing the expansion of Touch in your country and region,” Mr Acker said.

Mr Joe Sprangers CEO at Touch New Zealand said Touch is in good shape in the rugby union stronghold. “Our player numbers are growing nicely, and the game is in good financial shape. Some the issues we are hoping to address at the international workshop include ways we can build the profile of our game in New Zealand, improve our media exposure, and the development of the sport internationally,” he said.

Mr Sprangers continued, “The Paris workshop will be an opportunity to network with other FIT members, and we are interested in finding out more about how our international colleagues are developing their membership models, representative pathways for international matches, and international sport development roles and responsibilities.”

Mr Stefan Doychev, President of Bulgaria Touch, said the sport is emerging in the eastern European country thanks to an investment in a National Touch Championship, the foundation of new Touch clubs and introducing the sport to Bulgarians through social media, the Bulgarian sports media and websites.

“We are keen to meet with other members to find out how they have introduced Touch to local schools and youth organisations, and how they have organised regular open sessions of Touch in local parks to attract new people into the game.”

Mr Doychev said other issues he’d like to discuss with fellow members include ways to build the sport in southeastern Europe. “We’d like to play Touch with the neighbouring countries. There will be high expenses if we want to participate in Touch tournaments in other parts of Europe regularly.”

“We will seek ways countries such as Australia and England attract referees and coaches, which will enable us to organise and host more significant Touch events. We are determined to grow and teach Bulgarians the basics of Touch and be able to certify them.

“As Touch is new to our country, the workshop is an opportunity to look at different ways to market the sport through advertising, social media and public relations.

“This workshop in Paris is an excellent opportunity to network with fellow FIT members and take back to Bulgaria some of the best practices in terms of sports management, governance, and technical development.”