10 July 2015
Jersey has made a successful bid to hold another high-profile international sporting event. The 11th European Touch Championships will be held here in July 2016 at Les Quennevais Sports Fields, potentially bringing more than 50 teams from 16 nations to the Island.
Touch is a fast growing sport in Europe. It is often referred to as Touch Rugby, but there no tackling, lineouts, scrumming or kicking are involved. This makes it appealing to a wide range of ages and abilities, from juniors to masters and from slight to heavy builds. It is played by men’s, women’s and mixed teams. England are the current overall European Champions based on points received over all age and gender categories within the event.
Jersey previously hosted the bi-annual event in 2004 and it took place in Swansea last year. That competition attracted 900 participants, 75 referees and numerous supporters.
Commitment to sport
Countries expected to compete include Belgium, Catalonia, England, France, Germany, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Wales.
Tom Bedkowski, the European Tournament Director for the European Federation of Touch, is in Jersey this weekend to officiate at the inter-insulars and discuss arrangements. He said “The European Touch Championships event is the most important competition for national representative teams in the European region. There has been a huge development in European Touch in recent years, the numbers of participants has increased and standards have improved. This reflects the commitment to the sport of many volunteers in member countries.
"Jersey has a strong record in hosting successful sports tournaments. It has the facilities, accommodation and infrastructure required and we are very much looking forward to competing there. It is my pleasure to confirm that Jersey has been selected to host ETC2016 - Congratulations!"
Assistant Minister with responsibility for Sport Steve Pallett, said "This is excellent news for the sport and for the Island. It shows that our sporting venues are well regarded and is another opportunity for us to showcase our Island.It is very much in line with our drive to increase event and sport-led tourism."
Encourage new players
Rena Nelson, the chair of the Jersey Touch Association, said "This is a great opportunity for the development of our sport in Jersey and it will be great to participate in a tournament with high calibre players from across Europe. I hope it will raise the profile of our sport and encourage more Islanders of all ages to take part and have a go."
There are eight playing divisions in the sport - mixed open, men's open, women's open, women's over 27s, senior mixed, men's over 30s, men's over 35s, men's over 40s.