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England Touch Association continues on positive curve

Ahead of hosting the largest Touch World Cup in the history of the sport, the England Touch Association’s Annual Report has confirmed the positive direction that Touch is heading in England.

From an organisational perspective the England Touch Association (ETA) received formal recognition by Sport England as a National Governing Body for Touch, along with the awarding of Tier 1 nation status by the Federation of International Touch.

Both were extremely important for the ETA. 

Domestically the Association now sits alongside other National Governing Bodies – both inside and outside rugby – as well as engaging with other important stakeholders to contribute more towards Sport England’s Uniting the Movement strategy.

Meanwhile on the international stage the ETA has more opportunity to contribute towards the future strategy for the global game, the future direction and development of the Federation of International Touch, and discussions around the global calendar.

The decisions by these key bodies recognised the significant steps undertaken over the last few years by the ETA to improve governance, implement management structures, and develop a clear pathway for Touch to grow at all levels from grassroots up to international representation.

2023 also saw a number of notable achievements within the ETA, including:

  • Winning nine Golds and a Bronze from 10 events at the European Touch Championships, and a further five Golds and two Silvers at the Atlantic Youth Touch Cup
  • The largest ever Nationals, combining Opens, Seniors and Masters
  • The largest ever domestic one day tournament, which saw 32 University teams head to Nottingham in the University Touch Championships
  • 10 National Touch Series club events delivered across Mens, Womens and Mixed, with a total of 216 teams from 72 different clubs taking part
  • Record numbers of individual members, 49% of whom are under-25, and 37% of whom are female (rising to 41% for under-25s)
  • Partnerships with the Rugby Football League and In2Touch to increase grassroots participation and the development of local leagues across England
  • Established a Women and Girls Working Group dedicated to improving access to the sport for females of all ages
  • Established a Sustainability Working Group to explore ways to reduce the sport’s carbon footprint, including launching a Green Challenge Trophy for players and clubs participating in the National Touch Series

Furthermore, the ETA’s financial performance continued to improve as the sport recovered from the effects of the pandemic lockdowns and benefitting from a new membership structure. Without the impact of two non-cash items the ETA would have realised a small financial surplus on an improved turnover of £623,400, but nevertheless the rebuilding of cash reserves to help safeguard against unexpected events sees the Association on a more sound financial footing.

With all of the achievements showing how far the Association has come in a relatively short period of time, and with the Touch World Cup coming ever-closer, ETA Chair, Tim Loveridge, says that both the sport of Touch and the National Governing Body are in good shape for the future.

The ETA has made significant strides in 2023 across all areas of the organisation,” he commented.

“From international success and delivering outstanding events, to just seeing more and more people pick up a ball in play, both the Association and the sport of Touch overall are in healthy positions.

“Just as importantly, we have improved our governance structure and financial position, reflected in the recognition we have received from Sport England and the Federation of International Touch.

“2024 is a massive year for us, the highlight of which will be our hosting of the biggest – and hopefully best! – Touch World Cup in the history of the sport.

“As Chair I am indebted to the Directors, to our CEO Chris Simon and General Manager Sammie Phillips, as well as the executive team.

“But even more than that, we are all extremely grateful for the hard work and hours of time put in by all of the volunteers across the country. They are the backbone of our sport and we would not be in the positive situation we are in without them.

“A massive thank you to everyone.”

CLICK HERE to read the Annual Report in full.

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