ITTF Board of Directors Approve Expansion of World Championships
Several big decisions were made at the ITTF Board of Directors meeting held on 3 May 2018 during the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships in Halmstad, Sweden.
The meeting started, after some presentations, on an extremely positive note, with the announcement of North and South Korea forming a unified team for the semi-final which the board was able to watch on the big screen live and follow the very emotional scenes from the venue. This sign of unity was greeted with standing applause and affirming the boards full support for the decision. MA Young-Sam, represented at the Board as the Chairman of the Umpires and Rules Committee Affirmed that this was a great day for table tennis and peace between the two nations.
In another historic moment for the ITTF, the Board of Directors approved a new concept for the future of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships which will see the event expand dramatically.
The proposed proposal will now see the world's biggest table tennis event consist of continental stages feeding into the finals, which means the event will expand its global footprint and ensure the number of member associations participating in the event increases dramatically.
The individual World Championships finals which occurs every odd year, will consist of a knockout of 128 for men's and women's singles, and 64 men's, women's and 128 mixed doubles pairs. The World Team Championships, will have a finals which will consist of 32 men and 32 women's teams.
The system of how to make the final stage will be decided at next year's Board of Directors meeting to be held in Budapest, Hungary. The ITTF will engage experts and continental representation to come up with robust, professional and fair proposals.
The proposal for the expanded format of the ITTF World Table Tennis Championships was proposed by the ITTF Future Events Working Group which was established in 2016 under the facilitation from Deloitte, to review the format of the World Table Tennis Championships to ensure the event achieves ITTF's commercial, promotional and developmental goals. All of which will be aligned to the ITTF Strategic plan that was adopted by the AGM two days earlier.
The Board of Directors approved some changes to the eligibility rules with the intention that both ITTF World Title events and table tennis at the Olympic Games will have the same eligibility rules.
The 2020 ITTF World Junior Table Tennis Championships were awarded to Guimaraes, Portugal after they presented a strong bid to the board.
The next Board of Directors meeting will be held during the 2019 World Table Tennis Championships in Budapest, Hungary.