FIT outlines strategic plan for the return of international tournament play
Oct. 30, 2021 @ 3:30 UTC
FIT has unveiled its three-phase plan to kickstart international tournaments highlighted by preparations for a European Touch Championships in 2022 in England.
After 18 months of circulating disappointing announcements such as FIT and England announce the 2021 Youth World Cup will be deferred, Event Director Gary Reynolds can finally provide the Federation of International Touch’s plan to restart international tournament play.
“We have all shared two frustrating years of postponements and cancellations. But it’s with pleasure and great optimism that I can now circulate a plan to bring international events out of pandemic-induced hibernation,” Gary says.
“The plan out of hibernation includes three phases, and the first stage is already in play and has the full support of the FIT Board and is headlined by the planning for the European Touch Championships in 2022.”
Phase 1 involves the return bilateral match play
The first phase began with the Autumn International Series played in England and Wales. Gary said, “We are still early in the global recovery, and necessary logistics such as international travel options remain limited in many parts of the world. Tier 1-2 events that bring multiple countries together are most affected, so our first phase excludes them.
On the other hand, Tier 3 events are bilateral arrangements with one country visiting another”, Gary notes. “Provided that the participating nations can comply with any local government regulations regarding periods of quarantine, vaccination requirements, and so on, then FIT will do everything possible to facilitate these events.”
Phase 2 will involve more regular internationals
In 2022 FIT will resume its Tier 2 program, starting with Europe. The focus on Europe is to rejuvenate a regular competition and recognises that movement across borders is well underway throughout the continent, using protocols established by the EU and UK governments.
Gary says, “England will host the European Touch Championships that was deferred twice in 2020 and again in 2021.”
As with Phase 1, Tier 3 bilateral events between members on different continents are encouraged, provided they can undertake the exchange safely and affordably. “Planning such tours must be coordinated with FIT to ensure that correct protocols are followed,” Gary added.
Planning for several major Tier 2 events is underway, including:
- European Touch Championships - England
- European Junior Touch Championships – Host to be confirmed
- Youth Trans Tasman Test Series - New Zealand
- Trans Tasman Test Series - Australia
Other tournaments may be approved following submission to and review by FIT.
Phase 3 and preparing for a World Cup
According to Gary, FIT anticipates that by 2023 global travel will have ramped up considerably, COVID vaccination will be more universally recognised, and domestic events such as National Championships will have had the opportunity to return to our member’s programmes in 2022.
“These factors will allow us to commence our lead up to the next Touch World Cup. There will be two main focal points, and it will be a busy year.”
Firstly, FIT will stage the Youth Touch World Cup in 2023 after being deferred from 2021. This event will take place in England as the incumbent host.
Secondly, continental events will be organised and will provide members with the opportunity to prepare themselves ahead of the World Cup. “The Asian Cup has an incumbent host, which is China,” says Gary. “The Pacific Games host is appointed externally, and we will call for expressions of interest for the Americas and Europe shortly.”
Looking ahead, Gary predicts that 2024 will be a big year for Touch. “In 2024, we will complete the recovery with the return of the Touch World Cup, as well as the European Junior Touch Championships.”
Tournament update 2022-2024
- 2023 - Youth Touch World Cup - England
- 2024 - Touch World Cup
- 2022 - European Touch Championships - England
- 2023 - European Touch Championships
- 2023 - Asian Touch Cup - China
- 2023 - Americas Touch Cup
- 2023 - Pacific Games - Solomon Islands