Valuable input received at inaugural workshop

Nov. 5, 2019 @ 20:30 UTC

The inaugural FIT Member Workshop held in Paris in late October proved a resounding success with the 50 delegates from 20 countries demonstrating their commitment to growing the sport of Touch globally.

The inaugural workshop provided the Board with member’s views on many issues including FIT’s ongoing operations, the strategic direction of Touch, events, sport development, player eligibility, inclusivity, governance, rules and refereeing, marketing, and communications.

The possibility of international rule changes was discussed after a thought-provoking presentation by Touch Football Australia’s CEO, Jamie O’Connor. Australia will implement new rules on 1 January 2020 and several of the game’s leading experts were engaged for their advice and expertise regarding the playing rule amendments.

“The entire Board is committed to using the good ideas gathered at the workshop to help us implement a new strategy for the Federation for the next four years,” said Erick Acker, President of FIT. “We were delighted that so many of the leaders of our game from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Pacific region gave their time and resources to attend and contribute to the workshop. 

“In combination, our delegates made our inaugural FIT Member Workshop an overwhelming success, and it was a great pleasure to see so many of our members there.”

Standout presentations

Erick was delighted by the calibre of the presentations from several member nations at the workshop. “I want to thank several speakers at the workshop including Touch NZ CEO Joe Spranger who presented a paper: “FIT Membership Structure – existing and future models”, and of course TFA’s CEO Jamie O’Connor, whose presentation created significant discussion among delegates. 

South Africa Touch Association (SATA) President Thabo Motsumi also presented a thought-provoking paper about how his association is addressing transgender participation in South Africa. Erick said, “Thabo’s presentation captivated us all, and I’m incredibly excited that several member nations are committed to joining South Africa in developing a working paper on this issue.”

Erick concluded, “I’m delighted by the member feedback, and already we have received several expressions of interest from members who would like to host next year’s workshop.” 

Workshop receives thumbs up from delegates

Erick continued, “The support for the workshop also demonstrates the deep passion for our game among our member nations and our collective determination to grow Touch globally.” 

General Secretary of the China Touch Association, Mr Topy Xu, agreed, “The workshop is a fantastic opportunity to meet once a year to discuss relevant topics. We can now understand the challenges of people running Touch in other parts of the world and how we can help each other.

“I’d encourage other members who couldn’t be in Paris to be at the next FIT workshop.”

Jérôme Brahim, Président de Touch France, said meeting other presidents from member nations was a valuable aspect of attending the workshop. “We are also very proud that the inaugural workshop was held in Paris, as it is vital for my Federation.

“It was a good opportunity to link with other members. It also reminds us that we are not alone and that this sport is fantastic and dynamic.” 

Greg Cropper, COO England Touch said, “Having the chance to listen to, and offer advice for new NTAs such as Bulgaria and Sri Lanka was also fantastic, we hope to be able to assist further in the not too distant future too.”

Joe Sprangers CEO Touch NZ commented that the FIT workshop must be an annual event. “It falls on all participants to support the workshop and get the word out to those who didn’t attend and articulate to them what can be achieved through the content and networking.”

Belgium Touch President Jane Gimber said the workshop enabled her to identify how Touch is developing in other countries. “There are a lot of ideas we can take forward, and we were delighted we were at the workshop. It exceeded our expectations in terms of learning, while the networking opportunities were really, really good.” 

Erick Acker summed up, “Given the positive feedback after the workshop, I am convinced our delegates enjoyed the business and technical elements of the workshop and the social opportunities to extend their existing networks.

“I was also delighted with the potential for collaboration on coaching and refereeing among members and the consensus that our established NTAs are more than happy to mentor our emerging members on behalf of the Federation.”