POSITIVE REPORTS, DESPITE DIFFICULT YEAR
Despite it being the most difficult year in decades, the ITTF will finish on a high with the success of the #RESTART series in China and a report from the Vice President of Finance, Petra Sörling, and CFO, Michael Brown, revealed that, due to the end-of-year events as well as the diligent and prudent actions taken throughout the entire year, the ITTF can still end 2020 without a financial loss.
It was also stated by the ITTF CEO, Steve Dainton, that the final flourish to the year in the form of the #RESTART series and also the European Champions League matches being successfully held by the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) means that after a really tough 2020, there is now finally hope and belief that 2021 can be a success for table tennis, since we now know how to make events a reality, even during a pandemic period.
2020 BUSAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS CANCELLED
On a more sombre note, with the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Korea Republic in recent days, the ITTF Executive Committee together with representatives from the continents decided to cancel the 2020 ITTF World Team Table Tennis Championships. This came after a report from the President of the Korea Table Tennis Association (KTTA) Ryu Seung-min, who had been informed by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency that it would not allow major international sporting events in the next few months. It was therefore unanimously agreed to make the extremely difficult and heartbreaking decision to cancel the World Championships for the first time since World War II.
Originally scheduled to take place in March 2020 in Busan, Korea Republic, the World Team Championships was already postponed three times in light of the pandemic. It had been hoped that the event would be staged in February 2021, however due to the worsening situation in Korea Republic and with the pandemic still problematic in many regions of the world, today’s difficult decision was reached. With a 2021 calendar that now includes the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, it was not feasible to postpone for a fourth time. It was also noted that the 2021 World Table Tennis Championships will be held after the Olympics and a process put in place to finalise the details of that event to be announced in January. The Local Organising Committee (LOC) in Busan asked the ITTF to consider them for the event or another major World Title event in 2021.
NEW WORLD RANKING APPROVED
The Executive Committee approved the 2021 World Ranking, as proposed by the ITTF World Ranking Working Group. The ranking document will be made public later this week together with an event schedule for the first part of 2021 leading up to the Olympic Games. The new World Ranking will see the WTT Grand Smash events have equal World Ranking points to the Olympic Games and World Table Tennis Championships.
Other important decisions taken were that the ITTF Nominations Committee for the period 2020-2022 was confirmed with details to be released in the next week and it was agreed to open applications for the Head of Integrity position that would be in charge of the ITTF Integrity Unit in the future. This continues the enhancement of the ITTF Governance system which will see the new ITTF Tribunal also being implemented in 2021.
On a positive final note, the ITTF President, Thomas Weikert, wished everyone a joyous holiday season and happy new year, reiterating that he hoped we could again start to meet in person in 2021, something that we are all looking forward to be able to do as soon as possible.
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