Table Tennis News : ITTF cancels World Tour Bulgarian Open, doubts over Czech Open too

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced cancellation of ITTF World Tour event in Bulgaria as the questions remain over Czech Open. According to ITTF it remains hopeful of staging full open international events in the last quarter of 2020. 

ITTF World Tour Bulgarian Open Cancelled, doubts over ITTF World Tour Czech Open

Following this meeting and ongoing communication with hosts of upcoming events in the third quarter of 2020, the ITTF and Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the event regret to announce the cancellation of the ITTF World Tour ASAREL Bulgaria Open, set to be held between 1-6 September 2020 in Panagyurishte, due to local restrictions for hosting international events. The ITTF will explore opportunities for the possibility of an alternative event to be scheduled on the same dates.

Meanwhile, the ITTF World Tour Czech Open, scheduled for 25-30 August 2020 in Olomouc will not be staged as a full open international event, due to potential travel restrictions and in accordance with the Executive Committee decision, however the ITTF is in positive discussions with the LOC regarding the possibility to jointly hold an alternative event for those who can openly travel to Czech Republic. More details about this will be published once finalised.

The ITTF is currently finalising the details of an alternative events format, which could be implemented where possible beyond the third quarter of 2020, in case the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow the staging of full open international events.

As soon as the concept is finalised and further decisions are made at the next Executive Committee meeting due to be held on 23 June 2020, the ITTF will reach out to hosts of postponed and scheduled events of the World Tour, Challenge Plus and Challenge series for further discussions.

The ITTF will be monitoring further the situation regarding Junior and Para events as well and further decisions will be made at the next Executive Committee meeting.

The ITTF is making decisions with the health and safety of the athletes, coaches, officials and fans as the top priority. With the spread of COVID-19 across different parts of the world, the ITTF is monitoring closely the global situation and always evaluating a number of different scenarios and possibilities despite a lot of uncertainty.

ITTF Foundation launch #TableTennisUnited fundraising campaign

Meanwhile ITTF Foundation has launched the #TableTennisUnited fundraising campaign for athletes, coaches, umpires, national associations and projects affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Powered by the ITTF Foundation, the donation campaign is supported by the ITTF and World Table Tennis (WTT), with both organisations donating more than $250,000 (£199,000/€222,000) to the fund.

It is set to help in a number of key areas following the suspension of sport due to the coronavirus outbreak.

This includes aiding the distribution of basic emergency needs related to the crisis, supporting the provision of materials and products on site, and supporting medical treatments for athletes, teams, coaches and other ITTF members. 

The campaign will also be raising awareness by providing official information about suitable protective measures against COVID-19 through manuals and instructions.

A social media campaign has been launched to support #TableTennisUnited, which encourages ambassadors to record messages asking others to #PassTheBallOn.