England Touch has appointed Gregg Cropper as its new Chief Operating Officer, the first fully paid executive position in the Association’s history and the first National Touch Association outside Australia and New Zealand to appoint a paid member of staff.
The new Chief Operating Officer will be responsible for leading and strategically managing all business operations, working closely with our volunteers to ensure we continue to deliver a high-quality service for all our members.
Cropper has been a key figure in the recent rapid growth of Touch in England and England Touch as its governing body, firstly as President between September 2011 and February 2016, and then subsequently as Chief Executive Officer, a position which he held until this new appointment.
Cropper’s experience in the sports industry includes periods as a National Recreational Services Manager at the Rugby Football League and latterly as a National Competition and Events Manager at England Squash.
Cropper is proud to have been offered the position of Chief Operating Officer.
“I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to take up the newly created COO position,” he said. “Being involved in the association since 2011, I’ve seen it grow from an amateur group of individuals to a progressive and professional national governing body in a relatively short period of time. I’m both immensely proud and fortunate to have played my part along the way.
“We’ve made some great strides forward in terms of our robust governance, financial stability, growth and depth of volunteers, breadth of player base along with our extended reach of our partnerships and communications.
“With the new role being full time, I’m looking forward to being able to focus on further building on current relationships and building new, both of which are fundamental to the delivery of our strategic plan.
“It really is an exciting time for us all at England Touch and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”
The appointment comes at an important time for England Touch, which is hosting the European Championships in Nottingham in July 2018.
In 2017 over 20,000 men, women, boys and girls were regularly playing the sport across England, with over 65 clubs now affiliated to England Touch, double the number from three years ago. The Ryvita Touch Nationals was bigger than ever before, with over 60 teams taking part and a separate event for juniors and masters teams.
A full-time Chief Operating Officer will put England Touch in a strong position to capitalise on the European Championships and reach out to new participants and partners to continue to grow the sport.
As with all national governing bodies, England Touch will continue to rely on the dedication and support of its volunteers who are absolutely integral to the success of the sport, with the rapid expansion of the sport testament to their enthusiasm and passion.
England Touch Non-Executive Director Natalie Davis says that the creation of the Chief Operating Officer role is an essential step for the National Governing Body to be able to continue to grow the sport:
“As our first full-time role, the Chief Operating Officer can concentrate fully on continuing to grow England Touch, both in terms of playing numbers but also commercially too,” she commented. “We have ambitions to keep on expanding and to appoint more paid staff in future years, which will be crucial to continue to provide a high-quality service to our members, but we need the income to be able to do that. Gregg will play a vital role in bringing new sponsors to a sport which has a large number of unique and positive aspects to it, not least because men and women of all ages compete together.
“2018 is going to be an exciting year for England Touch, and we’re looking forward to seeing more people experiencing and enjoying this fantastic sport.”
Cropper was appointed following an external recruitment campaign which saw a strong field of candidates apply for the role. This is a positive sign for the future of the organisation as attracting high-quality talent will be crucial for its continued growth.