The European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) is the governing body of the sport of table tennis in Europe, and is the only authority recognised for this purpose by the International Table Tennis Federation. The ETTU deals with all matters relating to table tennis at a European level, including the development and promotion of the sport in the territories controlled by its 58 member associations, and the organisation of continental table tennis competitions, including the European Championships.
Following their decision to make the World Table Tennis Championships a biennial event from 1957 onwards, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) invited the separate European table tennis associations to consider holding a European Championships in the intervening, even-numbered years. At a meeting on 13 March 1957 in Stockholm during that year's World Championships, the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) was created by the associations of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the USSR, Wales, West Germany and Yugoslavia. A board of seven was elected, including Frenchman Jean Belot as the first chairman, and the first European Championships took place in Budapest in 1958.
At a meeting in 1960, the ETTU decided to introduce a competition for European club teams, and the first European Club Cup of Champions for men took place in early 1961, with a women's event added three years later. In 1964, the ETTU assumed responsibility for youth competitions in Europe, and in 1970 the main competition for youth players was renamed the European Youth Championships. An experimental classification tournament was held in 1971, featuring the top twelve-ranked European players in a round robin-style competition. This event would go on to be held annually as the Europe Top-12.
In 1984, Nancy Evans retired from her role as Honorary General Secretary, having held that role for 27 years since the formation of the ETTU. In recognition of her outstanding service, she was appointed as the ETTU's first Honorary Life Member.
Between 1991 and 1995, the number of ETTU member associations increased dramatically from 37 to 52, largely due to applications from table tennis associations of nations that were formerly part of the USSR or Yugoslavia, in addition to the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1998, the European Champions League was created for men's club teams (a women's Champions League followed in 2005), and in 1999, the ETTU entered into their first TV contract with ITTF/TMS, which enabled Champions League matches to be broadcast live on Eurosport.
In 2000, a decision was taken to switch the European Championships to odd-numbered years from 2003 onwards. This was in response to the ITTF's decision to start holding World Championships every year, alternating between individual events in odd-numbered years and team events in even-numbered years. From 2007, the European Championships became an annual event, and from 2016, the Championships will feature singles and doubles events in even-numbered years, with team events in odd-numbered years.
The 58 member associations of the ETTU as of March 2017.
The ETTU authorises the following competitions:
In September 2015, the ETTU introduced the European Table Tennis Hall of Fame, with the aim of honouring champions, legendary players and other individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the sport of table tennis in Europe.
The following people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame: