It’s a wrap for 2020

Dec. 20, 2020 @ 9:45 UTC

It’s been an unprecedented year that has challenged governments and institutions worldwide. By focusing on our online capabilities, FIT has been able to stay in touch with our members in 2020 through a variety of measures including our regular Set of Six and growing our refereeing and coaching ranks, writes Bill Ker, Secretary General, Federation of International Touch.

On behalf of the Federation of International Touch (FIT) President Erick and the Board of Directors, I wish our forty-six National Touch Organisations (NTOs) including their Boards or Committees, their technical personnel, and all players our Seasonal Best Wishes.

Unprecedented year

2020 has been a year of challenges that were unexpected and different to almost anything most of us have ever experienced. As the year progressed, we all had to adapt to unfamiliar circumstances and decision making. 

In Australia, in early 2020, we were still being confronted with long term drought problems and bushfires of the magnitude and destruction that Aussies had never experienced before. 

Yet, within a few months, COVID-19 was added to our lexicon. The pandemic turned our lives upside down as nations and governments scrambled to deal with this once in a lifetime event. 

I am sure all NTOs will have similar stories – and we should not forget that a deadly measles epidemic impacted our members in the Pacific Islands. Because of COVID-19, our daily lives changed, perhaps for the foreseeable future, as we learnt and accepted new rules and phrases such as “social distancing”. At the same time, we were reintroduced to the need for regular handwashing and abided by the requirement to wear face masks.

Also, new regulations applied to gatherings of all kinds. These rules affected our very reason for existence and the ability of our members to be involved in a game of touch.  

During the year, our sport had to become more innovative as restrictions affected our ability not just to play the game, but also to administer and develop the sport. To this end, we developed our strengths in other ways, namely by online presentations which became the “norm”, and our Directors wish to acknowledge and applaud several individuals for their significant efforts in keeping the ball rolling in 2020. 

Staying in touch

For starters, we’d like to acknowledge the energy and results of FIT Sports Development Director Peter Topp and his production of the “Set of Six “online sessions on Facebook. 

Also, we’d like to thank host Adam Collins, who has made the faces and voices of our participating NTOs familiar to many FIT social media followers. At the same time, Peter has also driven our content strategy that has delivered several blogs a month, just like this one, to maintain the momentum developed by Adam and ‘Set of Six’.

It’s been great hearing from all our NTOs, but please we want to continue the content momentum in 2021, and this means more Sets of Six. If you’d like to be involved in Set of Six next year, please contact Peter @ peter.topp@internationaltouch.org

Virtual technology expands referee training globally

I want to acknowledge the remarkable efforts of FIT Referees Commission (FRC) Chair Ian (Matto) Matthew and his referee panel who have successfully hosted many online Referee Coaching Courses in 2020. These cyber courses have helped many NTOs dramatically increase their refereeing ranks. 

The online courses have worked brilliantly because they provide budding whistleblowers with the opportunity to attend and interact with qualified presenters, assessors and even talk with world-ranked referees themselves. Just recently FRC hosted an online Referees Course in Thailand with fifty-seven attendees, who are now newly qualified referees. 

The coaches have been hard at it too. Our FIT Coaching Chair Peter McNeven and his coaching panel are putting the final touches to the online FIT Coaching Courses, and they will be launched shortly to NTOs.

As a Board, we have developed our Wishlist for 2021 too. These include:

  • COVID-19 vaccines become available to all nations and their respective communities
  • Community sports in operation for all participants
  • Unlimited spectators to be allowed at sporting events
  • International travel restrictions reduced
  • The hosting of significant touch tournaments once again under consideration for the future
  • Social distancing to becomes a “distant” memory
  • The sport of touch continues to grow in all countries
  • Lots of enthusiasm and goodwill.

As this year draws to a close, I believe we should all take the opportunity to put the events of 2020 in our memory banks. Then we can look forward with positivity to a new, invigorating 2021 with the belief that we will see a return to normality in our lives and for those we hold close.

Finally, on behalf of the FIT Board, I wish you all a very enjoyable and safe Christmas and may our 2021 wishes come true for all our NTOs.