Touch – setting a benchmark in women’s sport
It is Women’s Sport Week, and the England Touch Association is leading the way to get women and girls picking up the oval ball.
All four of the ETA’s national competitions – the Belief National Touch Series, SPORTTAPE Challenge Touch Series, Steeden Development Touch Series, and the Men’s and Women’s Touch Cup – are geared at having women at the heart of the game, with the mixed tournaments all equally balanced between men and women.
In addition, the ETA will be sending a number of women’s teams to the upcoming Premiership Permit tournament in Edinburgh to take on their counterparts from across Europe.
This tournament follows hot on the heels of the recent Senior Touch Championships, where the England’s Women’s 35s team and one of the Women’s 27s teams took home the silverware, with England also the reigning European champions in the Women’s Open and Women’s 27s categories.
There will also be a Girl’s 18s team at August’s Junior Touch Championships, with girls competing alongside boys in teams in the 15s and 18s age categories.
Furthermore, the ETA is seeing an increasingly healthy gender balance across the sport, including coaching, refereeing and medical support, with increased playing numbers being reflected in the addition of the Women’s 27s category at the upcoming Ryvita Nationals in August and a Women’s 35s division at the Masters Nationals, too.
- - -FACTS AND STATS…
40 percent of the England Touch Association’s registered players are female
27 percent of registered coaches are women
32 percent of registered and qualified referees are women
31 percent of the registered medical support staff are women
33 percent of the England Touch Association’s board of directors and half of the operational management are women
The NTS, CTS and DTS require three women and three men to be on the pitch at any one time
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“We’re seeing more and more women take up Touch all the time, which is very positive,” says ETA chief executive Gregg Cropper.
“Some are women who have supported their husbands, partners and children from the sidelines in the past, while others are brand new to the sport altogether.
“Everyone is welcome, and Touch provides a really good and fun and inclusive environment for women to both play alongside men and in their own teams, too.”