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International Table Tennis Federation

International Table Tennis Federation
Abbreviation ITTF
Formation Template:If empty
Type Sports federation
Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
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218 member associations
Thomas Weikert
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Formerly called
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The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the governing body for all international table tennis associations.[1] The role of the ITTF includes overseeing rules and regulations and seeking technological improvement for the sport of table tennis. The ITTF is responsible for the organization of numerous international competitions, including the World Table Tennis Championships that has continued since 1926.

Founding history

The ITTF was founded in 1926 by, the nine founding members being Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, India, Sweden and Wales.[2] The first international tournament was held in January 1926 in Berlin while the first World Table Tennis Championships was held in December 1926 in London.

Toward the end of 2000, the ITTF instituted several rules changes aimed at making table tennis more viable as a televised spectator sport. The older 38 mm balls were officially replaced by 40 mm balls.[3] This increased the ball's air resistance and effectively slowed down the game.

On 29 February 2008, the ITTF announced several rules changes after an ITTF Executive Meeting in Guangzhou, Guangdong, China with regards to a player's eligibility to play for a new association. The new ruling is to encourage associations to develop their own players.[4]

The headquarters of the ITTF is in Lausanne, Switzerland. The previous president of the ITTF wass Adham Sharara from Canada; the current president since 2014 is Thomas Weikert from Germany.


Continental Federations

The ITTF recognises six continental federations.[5] Each continental federation has a president as its top official and owns its constitution.[6] The following are recognised federations:

Continent Members Continental Federation
Africa 48 African Table Tennis Federation (ATTF)
Asia 45 Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU)
Europe 57 European Table Tennis Union (ETTU)
Latin America 40 Latin American Table Tennis Union (ULTM)
Northern America 4 Northern American Table Tennis Union (NATTU)
Oceania 24 Oceania Table Tennis Federation (OTTF)

National Federations

There are currently 218 member associations within the ITTF.[5]

Organisational Structure

All member associations of the ITTF attend annual general meeting (AGM).[6] Agendas on changes of the constitution, laws of table tennis, applications for membership etc. are discussed and finalised through votes. Also, the president of ITTF, 8 executive vice-presidents, and 32 or less continental representatives are elected at an AGM, serving for a four-year term. The president, executive vice-presidents, and the chairman of the athletes' commission compose executive committee.

The executive committee, continental representatives and presidents of the six continental federations or their appointees compose the board of directors (Board). The Board manages the work of the ITTF between AGMs. Several committees, commissions, working groups or panels work under the constitution of ITTF or under the Board.

Role in diplomacy

Unlike the organisations for more popular sports, the ITTF tends to recognise teams from generally unrecognised governing bodies for disputed territory. For example, it currently recognises the Table Tennis Federation of Kosovo even though Kosovo is excluded from most other sports. It recognised the People's Republic of China in 1953 and allowed some basic diplomacy[7][8] which lead to an opening for U.S. President Richard Nixon, called "Ping Pong Diplomacy", in the early 1970s.


Player eligibility

For ITTF World Title events, a player is eligible to play for his association by registering with the ITTF. If the player chooses to play for a new association, he shall register with the ITTF, through the new association.[9]

  • The player shall not represent the new association before.
  • The player will be eligible to play for the new association after three, five, seven years after the date of registration, if the player is under the age of 15, 18, 21 respectively
  • If the player is 21 years of age or older, he will not be registered with the ITTF and not be eligible to represent a new association at World Title events.

Service and point system

The table tennis point system was reduced from a 21 to an 11-point scoring system in 2001.[3] A game shall be won by the player or pair first scoring 11 points unless both players or pairs score 10 points, when the game shall be won by the first player or pair subsequently gaining a lead of 2 points. This was intended to make games more fast-paced and exciting. The ITTF also changed the rules on service to prevent a player from hiding the ball during service,[10] in order to increase the average length of rallies and to reduce the server's advantage. Today, the game changes from time to time mainly to improve on the excitement for television viewers.

Speed glue ban

See also: Speed glue

In 2007, ITTF's board of directors in Zagreb decided to implement the VOC-free glue rule at Junior events, starting from 1 January 2008, as a transitional period before the full implementation of the VOC ban on 1 September 2008.[11]

As of 1 January 2009, all speed glue was to have been banned.


Current ITTF events and Olympic Games:[12]

Competition name First held Held every ITTF ranking[13] Events[a]
Ranking Bonus MT WT MS WS MD WD XD
Olympic Games 1988 Four years R1 B1
World Championships 1926 Odd-numbered year R1 B1
World Team Championships 1926 Even-numbered year R1
Men's World Cup 1980 One year R1 B2
Women's World Cup 1996 One year R1 B2
World Team Cup 1990 Odd-numbered year R1
China vs. World Challenge 2009 One year R2
ITTF World Tour 1996 One year R2 B3
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals 1996 One year R2 B2
Youth Olympic Games 2010 Four years R1 B3
World Junior Championships 2003 One year R1 B3
ITTF Global Junior Circuit 1992 One year R2 B4
ITTF Global Cadet Challenge 2003 One year R2 B4
ITTF Para table tennis world championships 1990 Four year

a. ^ MT/WT: Men's/Women's Teams; MS/WS: Men's/Women's Singles; MD/WD: Men's/Women's Doubles; XD: Mixed Doubles

ITTF world ranking

The ITTF keeps an updated ranking considering the results of all the aforementioned and other recognized competitions. The following table shows the top 20 players considering the current ITTF world ranking.

Updated on July 5, 2013 at

See also


  1. ^ "Official ITTF website". 
  2. ^ "ITTF Archives". 
  3. ^ a b "ITTF Table Tennis Timeline". 
  4. ^ "New Rule in Favour of the Development of Table Tennis". Retrieved 2012-12-26. 
  5. ^ a b "ITTF Directory". 
  6. ^ a b "ITTF Handbook 2012/2013". ITTF. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 
  7. ^ McCurry, Justin (2008-05-06). "Ping-pong diplomacy back on table as Chinese premier visits Japan". The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  8. ^ "ITTF Archives: 1953 Bucarest AGM Minutes". ITTF. 1953-03-23. p. 2. Retrieved 2010-07-17. Only the People's Republic of China Table Tennis Association was taken at this stage, in order to regularise their playing in the Championships and attending Congress. The Meeting confirmed the Advisory Committee's action in accepting the application. 
  9. ^ "Information about the Eligibility Rule". ITTF. 2008-10-13. 
  10. ^ Colin Clemett. "Rules Evolution" (PDF). ITTF. p. 9. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  11. ^ "Official Message to Table Tennis Manufacturers And National Associations" (PDF). ITTF. 2008-11-24. 
  12. ^ "ITTF Calendar". ITTF. Retrieved 2010-07-27. 
  13. ^ "Policy for Inclusion in the ITTF World Ranking" (PDF). ITTF. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 

External links

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