International Table Tennis Federation
Formation1926; 98 years ago (1926)
TypeSports federation
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
227 member associations
Petra Sörling

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is the governing body for all national 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 William Henry Lawes from Wymondham, the nine founding members being Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, British 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. In 2003, the ITTF moved its headquarters from Hastings to Lausanne and set the ITTF Museum there.[4][5]

In 2007, the governance for para table tennis was transferred from the International Paralympic Committee to the ITTF.[6] In 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 was to encourage associations to develop their own players.[7]

In 2019, the ITTF created its subsidiary World Table Tennis (WTT) to manage all its commercial and events business.[8] The ITTF's current headquarters are located in Lausanne while their Asia-Pacific office is based in Singapore and search for a new site for headquarters is in the process.[9][10][11] The current president is Petra Sörling from Sweden. Sörling became the eighth person to hold the office in 2021.[12][13]

List of ITTF presidents
President Presidency
Ivor Montagu (England) 1926–1937 (as chairman)
1937–1967 (as president)
Roy Evans (Wales) 1967–1987
Ichiro Ogimura (Japan) 1987–1994
Lollo Hammarlund (Sweden) 1994–1995
Xu Yinsheng (China) 1995–1999
Adham Sharara (Canada) 1999–2014
Thomas Weikert (Germany) 2014–2021
Petra Sörling (Sweden) 2021–


Further information: Category:National members of the International Table Tennis Federation

The ITTF recognises five continental federations.[14][15][16] There are currently 227 member associations within the ITTF.[17][18]

Continent Members Continental Federation
Africa 54 African Table Tennis Federation
America 46 Pan American Table Tennis Confederation
Asia 45 Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU)
Europe 58 European Table Tennis Union (ETTU)
Oceania 24 Oceania Table Tennis Federation (OTTF)

Organisational structure

All member associations of the ITTF attend annual general meeting (AGM).[19] 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 five 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 recognised the Table Tennis Federation of Kosovo in 2003 even though Kosovo was excluded from most other sports.[20][21] It recognised the People's Republic of China in 1953 and allowed some basic diplomacy[22] which lead to an opening for U.S. President Richard Nixon, called "Ping Pong Diplomacy", in the early 1970s.

The ITTF also approved unified Korean team to compete at the World Table Tennis Championships in 1991 and 2018.[23][24]

In reaction to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the ITTF banned Russian and Belarusian players and officials from its competitions.[25] But this reaction has slowed down in 30 March 2023, stated that Russian and Belarusian players will be re-allowed to participate ITTF and WTT competitions under strict conditions of neutrality, with government or state officials, and national symbols such as flags and anthems of both countries to continue being banned in ITTF-sanctioned events.[26]


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.[27] 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. The player will be eligible to play for the new association after nine years if the player is at least 21 years old.

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,[28] 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.[29]

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

Contests and rankings

ITTF world ranking in men's singles

Main article: Major achievements in table tennis by nation

The ITTF and its subsidiary WTT hold international tournaments and the ITTF maintains official world ranking lists based on players' results in tournaments throughout the year.[30]

Conventions: MT/WT: men's/women's team; MS/WS: men's/women's singles; MD/WD: men's/women's doubles; XD: mixed doubles

Major international events
Competition name First held Held every Events
World Championships 1926 Odd-numbered year
World Team Championships 1926 Even-numbered year
Summer Olympic Games 1988 Four years
Junior events
Competition name First held Held every Events
World Youth Championships 2003 One year
Summer Youth Olympic Games 2010 Four years
Para events
Competition name First held Held every Events
Summer Paralympic Games 1960 Four years
World Para Table Tennis Championships 1990 Four years

Ranking Method (2024)

Category W F SF QF R16 R32 R64 R128
World Table Tennis Championships[31] 2000 1400 700 350 175 90 45 10
Table Tennis World Cup[32][33] 1500 1050 525 265 100 40 for 2nd in the group,
15 for 3rd in the group
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals[34] 1500 1050 525 265 100 - - -
Grand Smash [35] 2000 1400 700 350 175 90 20
WTT Champions [36] 1000 700 350 175 90 15
WTT Star Contender [37] 600 420 210 105 55 25 5
WTT Contender [38] 400 280 140 70 35 4
Continental Games and Cups [39] 500 350 175 90 45
WTT Feeder [40] 125 90 45 25 15 8

ITTF Museum

The ITTF Museum was previously in Lausanne, Switzerland, where the ITTF is based.[5][41] The ITTF decided in 2014 to move the museum to Shanghai, China, which was planning the China Table Tennis Museum around the same time. The new museum was designated in the same building with the China Table Tennis Museum on different floors, managed and operated by Shanghai University of Sport, and officially opened in 2018.[42][43]

See also


  1. ^ "Home". International Table Tennis Federation.
  2. ^ "ITTF Archives". Archived from the original on 1 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b "ITTF Table Tennis Timeline". Archived from the original on 10 July 2009.
  4. ^ "The Table Tennis Collector No. 56" (PDF). ITTF. 2010. p. 2. Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 March 2022. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  5. ^ a b "ITTF museum to be moved to China from Switzerland". Xinhua. 17 May 2013. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  6. ^ "The ITTF Classification Code" (PDF). ITTF. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  7. ^ "New Rule in Favour of the Development of Table Tennis". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  8. ^ "World Table Tennis established with good governance". 23 January 2021. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  9. ^ "ITTF invite cities to bid to house new headquarters and international training centre". 19 February 2019. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  10. ^ "Twenty-eight cities declare interest in being home to ITTF headquarters". 15 January 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  11. ^ "ITTF resumes search for new headquarters, will name inaugural summit host next month". 28 July 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Weikert becomes new ITTF President". 24 September 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2022.
  13. ^ "Petra Sörling elected ITTF President unopposed". 25 November 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  14. ^ "ITTF Handbook". Retrieved 30 September 2022. There shall be five Continental Federations, one each from the geographical regions of Africa, America, Asia, Europe, and Oceania
  15. ^ "Continental Reports". Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  16. ^ "History – ITTF Americas". Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Welcome the Falkland Islands, 227th member". 1 March 2022. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  18. ^ "ITTF Directory". Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  19. ^ "ITTF Organisational Structure" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  20. ^ "New members of the ITTF". 21 May 2003. Archived from the original on 7 May 2016.
  21. ^ "Kosovar athletes stage Olympic Protest". 14 October 2007. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012.
  22. ^ "ITTF Archives: 1953 Bucarest AGM Minutes". ITTF. 23 March 1953. p. 2. Archived from the original on 1 March 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2010. 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.
  23. ^ "Inter-Korean Joint Team at 1991 World Table Tennis Championships". KBS. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  24. ^ "North and South Korea teams unite at table tennis world championships". CNN. 4 May 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  25. ^ "FIL joins list of International Federations to ban Russia from events". 2 March 2022.
  26. ^ "ITTF Statement on the Participation of Players with a Russian or Belarusian Passport". 30 March 2023. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  27. ^ "ITTF Handbook 2022" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  28. ^ Colin Clemett. "Rules Evolution" (PDF). ITTF. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  29. ^ "Official Message to Table Tennis Manufacturers And National Associations" (PDF). ITTF. 24 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2009.
  30. ^ "Rankings". Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  31. ^ World Championships singles points
  32. ^ Table Tennis World Cup
  33. ^ Copa do Mundo de Tênis de Mesa: Tudo o que você precisa saber
  34. ^ Grand Finals singles points
  35. ^ Grand Smash Singles Points
  36. ^ WTT Champions singles points
  37. ^ WTT Star Contender singles points
  38. ^ WTT Contender singles points
  39. ^ Campeonato Pan-Americano: Tudo o que você precisa saber
  40. ^ WTT Feeder singles points
  41. ^ "World-class pingpong museum showcases the best of the sport". Hunan Museum. 30 March 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  42. ^ "Table Tennis History Journal Special Edition" (PDF). ITTF. April 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2022.
  43. ^ "Legendary players attend Shanghai opening of ITTF Museum". 1 April 2018. Retrieved 5 October 2022.

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