International Table Tennis Federation

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.

International Table Tennis Federation
TypeSports federation
HeadquartersLausanne, Switzerland
226 member associations
Petra Sörling

Founding historyEdit

The ITTF was founded in 1926 by William Henry Lawes from Wymondham, the nine founding members being Austria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Weimar Republic, Kingdom of 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.

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 was Adham Sharara from Canada; the current president since 2014 is Thomas Weikert from Germany.


Continental FederationsEdit

The ITTF recognises six continental federations.[5]

Continent Members Continental Federation
Africa 51 African Table Tennis Federation
Asia 45 Asian Table Tennis Union (ATTU)
Europe 58 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 FederationsEdit

There are currently 226[6] member associations within the ITTF.[7]

Organisational structureEdit

All member associations of the ITTF attend annual general meeting (AGM).[8] 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 diplomacyEdit

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[9] which lead to an opening for U.S. President Richard Nixon, called "Ping Pong Diplomacy", in the early 1970s.


Player eligibilityEdit

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.[10]

  • 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 systemEdit

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,[11] 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 banEdit

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.[12]

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


Conventions: MT/WT: Men's/Women's Teams; MS/WS: Men's/Women's Singles; MD/WD: Men's/Women's Doubles; XD: Mixed Doubles [13]

Major international events
Competition name First held Held every ITTF ranking[14] Events
Ranking Bonus MT WT MS WS MD WD XD
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
Summer Olympic Games 1988 Four years R1 B1
World Team Cup 1990 Odd-numbered year R1
Women's World Cup 1996 One year R1 B2
ITTF World Tour Grand Finals 1996 One year R2 B2
Junior events
Competition name First held Held every ITTF ranking[14] Events
Ranking Bonus MT WT MS WS MD WD XD
ITTF Global Junior Circuit 1992 One year R2 B4
World Junior Championships 2003 One year R1 B3
ITTF Global Cadet Challenge 2003 One year R2 B4
Summer Youth Olympic Games 2010 Four years R1 B3
Para events
Competition name First held Held every Events
Summer Paralympic Games 1960 Four years
ITTF Para Table Tennis World Championships 1990 Four years
Defunct ITTF events
Competition name First held Last held ITTF ranking[14] Events
Ranking Bonus MT WT MS WS MD WD XD
China vs. World Challenge 2004 2012 R2

ITTF World RankingEdit

The ITTF maintains an official World Ranking list based on players' results in tournaments throughout the year.[15][16]

The tables below show the current ITTF World Ranking for men and women.

See alsoEdit


  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. ^ "New Rule in Favour of the Development of Table Tennis". Archived from the original on 12 March 2012. Retrieved 26 December 2012.
  5. ^ Continental Reports - International Table Tennis Federation
  6. ^ Hetherington, Matt (31 May 2017). "Thomas Weikert Wins 2017 ITTF Presidential Election". USA Table Tennis.
  7. ^ "ITTF Directory". Archived from the original on 4 September 2016.
  8. ^ "I T T F". ITTF. Archived from the original on 4 September 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Information about the Eligibility Rule". ITTF. 13 October 2008. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011.
  11. ^ Colin Clemett. "Rules Evolution" (PDF). ITTF. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2010. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Official Message to Table Tennis Manufacturers And National Associations" (PDF). ITTF. 24 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 January 2009.
  13. ^ "ITTF Calendar". ITTF. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
  14. ^ a b c "Policy for Inclusion in the ITTF World Ranking" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 January 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  15. ^ "ITTF World Ranking basic description" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Policy for inclusion in the ITTF Calendar and World Ranking in 2017" (PDF). ITTF. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 March 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2017.
  17. ^ "ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking". ITTF. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  18. ^ "ITTF Table Tennis World Ranking". ITTF. Retrieved 30 November 2021.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 46°31′56″N 6°35′44″E / 46.532134°N 6.595596°E / 46.532134; 6.595596