TWENTY EIGHT CITIES BIDDING FOR ITTF HEADQUARTERS

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has revealed that 28 cities have declared an interest in becoming the destination for the body’s new headquarters, as well as housing a range of other facilities.

The international federation however did not disclose the cities. But information has it that the cities span 18 countries, meaning that some countries may have put in multiple entries.

According to Sport Business publication, the ITTF promised that the chosen destination will become the “table tennis capital of the world”. The ITTF president Thomas Weikert said that some “very big cities” are in the running.

Starting from today (Wednesday), the candidate cities will receive request for proposal documentation and will have until April 15 to submit their initial bids. More cities can express an interest and submit their own bids before the April 15 deadline.

The strongest bids will then be shortlisted in June, with final proposals to be submitted by September 15. The preferred destination will then be selected on September 30.

The ITTF is currently based in the Swiss city of Lausanne but is searching for a “thriving new hotspot” for players, business professionals, coaches and officials to unite in a single location and maximise the sport’s potential.

As well as serving as the base for the ITTF’s headquarters, the chosen destination will house training facilities, a research lab, educational hub, centre for innovation, local community centres and more.

ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton said: “We have adopted a professional approach to our search for a Global Home of Table Tennis with the consultation of Deloitte, Withers LLP and Hassell.

“Due to the high level of interest, we are sure that we will end up somewhere great, but we needed to make sure we invested in this with a professional approach to ensure we get the best outcome. This won’t just be any old-style headquarters. We want our future property to have plenty of table tennis activity, in contrast to our current home.”

Weikert added: “We have grown tremendously as an organisation since June 2017 and we now have over 70 full-time staff members. Our strategy is to centralise the workforce in one location to allow for more efficient operations. What’s great is that we have received significant interest from some very big cities which interest us.”