The first-ever European Touch Senior Cup on Portuguese soil took place this past October 11-12, at the Lisbon University Stadium. The 200+ male and female players were greeted by the famous and fabulous Lisbon sunny autumn weather, with temperatures north of 20º on both tournament days.
The Touch Senior Cup takes place every two years, and in 2019 it was up to Touch Rugby Portugal to host the event. The Portuguese association wasn’t taking any risks when it came to hosting their European counterparts, so it turned to Move Sports as its event partner, given the company’s extensive experience with similar events, such as the Portugal Rugby Your Festival.
Move Sports successfully took care of all the tournament’s needs, ranging from support to the competition organisation to all logistics around it, including players’ accommodation, transfers to and from the hotels and post-tournament entertainment, composed of a gala dinner and a very special night out on the town.
The chosen venue for the Cup was the Lisbon University Stadium, known by many as one of Lisbon’s best and most accessible sports venues given its central location, a mere 10 minutes from the airport, and multiple pitches and support infrastructures.
Great competition, great fun
The 2019 European Touch Senior Cup was played by more than 200 male and female players from 17 teams coming from seven countries/territories, with a large contingent from Great Britain and Ireland alike, where the sport has many fans, both players and supporters. The represented countries were England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Switzerland, Jersey and, of course, Portugal. There was also a pan-European team made up of players from multiple countries, aptly named “Eurostars”.
The women competition was made of three teams in W27 age group (Portugal, Ireland and Scotland) and three more in the W35 age group (Scotland, Ireland and Eurostars). Scotland got the best of it in both age groups and took home both trophies, a testament to its players' competitive experience. On the Portuguese side, special note goes out to the participation of Sofia Nobre, a former SL Benfica and Portuguese rugby international player.
The men competition was made up of six teams in the M40 age group: Portugal, Ireland, Switzerland, Wales and Jersey. In the M45-50 age group, five more teams competed for the trophy: Portugal, Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. In the M40 category, Wales came out in first place. Ireland took the trophy in the M45-50 category.
The tournament was highly competitive and, most important, all-around fun! It was a great get-together for Touch fans from all over Europe, who got to enjoy Lisbon’s top-notch sports facilities and Portuguese amicable hosts. We look forward to hosting more international Touch Rugby events in the future!
“I would not hesitate to recommend Move Sports to any organisation for their professionalism”
At the end of the tournament, Eric Acker, President of the Federation of International Touch, spared no compliments when it came to talking about Move Sports’ handling of the event: “Congratulations Move Sports for your organization of the European Masters Tournament of Touch on 11-12 October 2019. As President of the Federation of International Touch, I was impressed by the smooth running of the event".
The tournament venue got his thumbs-up as well: "Move Sports preparation of facilities and fields for the event ensured that risk was minimal if any. Access to medical facilities ensured immediate attention to injuries."
Ackler final words went to all the Move Sports professionals that helped make this competition a reality: "Bernardo Duarte was efficient and professional. His team was informed and well organised during the whole event. The overall interaction of Move Sports with the European Federation of Touch officials and Touch players allowed a controlled and very satisfying sporting event for all the actors and the spectators. I would not hesitate to recommend Move Sports to any organization for their professionalism."
The whole team at Move Sports would like to thank Eric and Linda Acker, from Federation of International Touch, and Amílcar Seco, from Touch Rugby Portugal, for the opportunity of being a part of this great tournament!
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Interview with Amílcar Seco, Touch Rugby Portugal
Just before the whistle was blown for the first match of the tournament, we got together with Amílcar Seco, the person in charge at Touch Rugby Portugal, the hosts of the tournament. We wanted to know more about Touch in the European context:
Move Sports - What is the importance of the European Touch Senior Cup in the European context?
Amílcar Seco - The European Championship runs every two years. Every other year, when there's no championship, the European Federation of Touch (EFT) promotes two major tournaments: the Senior Cup (for older players, which is the tournament we’re having right now in Portugal) and the Challenge Trophy (for younger players, which took place last May in Spain).
So this is one of the big annual national tournaments in Europe. In Portugal, we have 17 teams from England, Ireland, Scotland, Jersey, Switzerland, Wales and, of course, Portugal. The age groups were W27, W35, M40, M45 and M50.
This is the first international Touch Rugby tournament organised in Portugal. To be sure that everything lived up to expectations, the Touch Rugby Portugal Association partnered with Move Sport, given its experience in organising such events.
MS - What’s your view on the increase in female players at these sporting events?
AS - Touch Rugby is one of the most "democratic" sports around. It allows for both men and women of all ages to play, with minimal risk of injury. It's no more than fitness with a rugby ball. In this sense, one of our big target audiences is young rugby players' mothers: we challenge them to try and play Touch because no previous experience in any sport is required.
MS - What are your favourite teams in each age group?
AS - I think this will be a highly competitive championship, as this tournament will be a training ground of sorts for the teams' participation in the European Championship that will take place in England, in 2020.
The teams from Great Britain have traditionally dominated European Touch but, of course, my favourite teams are the Portuguese!