BY MICHAEL PAVITT
The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has invited cities to bid to house its new headquarters and also asks cities to become the location of the governing body’s headquarters, training centre and a high performance and development base.
The ITTF’s current headquarters are located in the Olympic capital Lausanne in Switzerland, while their Asia-Pacific office is based in Singapore.
The Singapore office is asserted to account for half of the ITTF’s 50 professional staff.
It is claimed that staff numbers are increase by 50 per cent in the coming years, leading to a search for a new “home of table tennis”.
The ITTF claim cities would benefit from global prestige, millions of dollars in turnover and the potential of hosting major sporting events should they be chosen as the location for their new headquarters.
“Whilst this is an objective for beyond 2019, the ITTF is already planning ahead to set up a true ‘home of table tennis,” said Steve Dainton, ITTF chief executive.
“All cities submitting bids will realise the exceptional opportunities available to them, not least raising their global profile and significant economic investments into their local communities.
“This won’t just be an office, but also a permanent base for our high performance and development strategy and state-of-the-art training facilities.
“The ultimate goal would be to have a mini museum, TTX tables and a retail store too.
“We want people to stop by and enjoy a game of table tennis as well.
“Hopefully this is the place that can help create the next stars of our sport.
“After all, we need to be nurturing a new generation of talent from different parts of the world to ensure an exciting future for table tennis and one which will attract more and more spectators and supporters from across the globe.
“The new ‘home of table tennis’ will go a long way to helping us achieve our long-term ambitions.”
The ITTF state while they are seeking a new headquarters to house its ever-increasing professional staff, an international training centre will also be created for its high performance and development projects.
The governing body claim cities will be helping to create and nurture stars of the future, while the centre would offer pathways for local table tennis talent to train with the best coaches and players in the world.
Local professionals would have opportunities to join on board as ITTF staff members and contribute directly to the sport’s continued global growth, the ITTF state.
Candidates will be required to be located within an international city and have space for the ITTF office to expand over time.
A minimum office space of 1,000 square metres, preferably developed specifically for the ITTF on vacant land, has also been outlined as a requirement.
Close proximity to an international airport is viewed as necessary given the ITTF’s global footprint, although with visa support to ensure staff from various countries are able to live and work within the country.
The deadline for expressions of interest will be April 15, with a concept and plan due to be submitted by August 31.
An evaluation period will follow from September 1 to December 31, prior to a decision being announced by the governing body.
The ITTF have claimed it is the best time to invest in table tennis, with upwards of 500 million people asserted to be playing the sport around the world.
Growth over the last 10 years in terms of commercial value, global participation and world-class events has also been claimed by the ITTF.
As part of their new strategic plan, the ITTF will hold all of its commercial rights heading into the next cycle in 2021.