Welcome to 2024

Welcome to my first Bulletin of 2024 and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members a happy, peaceful, and prosperous new year. 

It will certainly be a busy but exciting year for table tennis as we host our first event of the major event strategy, the WTT Feeder Manchester. We can confirm a full entry into the draw as well as very encouraging ticket sales which are a key component of the commercial viability of the event portfolio.

We look forward to welcoming new and existing fans to the Manchester Velodrome from 1-4 February – for tickets, please click here.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were all looking forward to Tokyo 2020 but we enter the new year with great excitement for the Paris 2024 and I know you will join me in wishing our Olympic and Paralympic athletes well as they finalise their preparations for the respective Games.

Major Event Strategy, including World Team Table Tennis Championships 2026

Work has continued with the ITTF and WTT as we develop the NewCo that will be charged with the governance and leadership of the major event strategy. Key roles currently being recruited, are an Independent Chair of the NewCo Board, an Independent Chair of the WTTTC2026 Stakeholder Board and a Director of Events.

We have also met all the funding conditions required by UK Sport and expect to receive a funding agreement shortly which will begin to release public funding for the WTTTC2026.

Table Tennis United Implementation Plan 2024

The Senior Leadership Team has been working extremely hard on the next exciting phase of Table Tennis United. Much work has been achieved in 2023 as we set about resetting much of what we do to enable the future growth and success of table tennis in England.

With much of those changes now in place or under way e.g. Area Network, Staffing, Pathway Development Centres, Committee structure, we now look forward to leading future growth, and the Implementation Plan for 2024 and beyond will be presented to the Board for final approval on 7 February. 

A Home for Table Tennis

I am delighted that we have been able to announce an Elite Training Centre for British table tennis will open in Sheffield in March this year, as Table Tennis England and GB Table Tennis further develops its aspiration to win World and Olympic medals.

The search for the preferred Elite Training Centre followed an 18-month search before a partnership was agreed with Sheffield City Trust and Sheffield City Council to relocate our performance programme to the English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) where it will enjoy exclusive use of a training hall for more than 1,700 hours a year, as well as world-class support from the outstanding sports science and medical services provided by the UK Sports Institute. This is a huge step forward towards our ambition to deliver that historic first ever Olympic medal for GB table tennis. 

The Elite Training Centre will be a dedicated, exclusive space with a clear focus on delivering a world-class training environment. We want to make this one of the best elite training facilities in Europe and open our doors to players from across the world to train with our athletes – and for our athletes to know they can get the best possible practice and preparation without having to leave these shores.

But the centre is more than that. A centralised training environment is critical to the pathway system we are building, providing the inspiration for young British players to strive to be a part of, where our next generation of players will come together regularly where they will integrate with our leading senior players and, crucially, where we will bring coaches together from across the UK to learn together. 

Members’ Advisory Group

Over the past 12 months, myself, the Board of Directors and members of the Members’ Advisory Group (MAG), including its Chair, Neil Hurford, have been considering the future of MAG in light of the governance structure reset that has taken place over the past 12 months to support the implementation of Table Tennis United.

During the period, members may be aware that the Annual Review in the last MAG Annual Report specifically referenced that the future of MAG was uncertain.

Further, the MAG report to the September meeting of National Council explicitly stated that MAG members had decided to put MAG activities on hold pending a decision on its future by the Board. In consultation with Neil Hurford, the Board has decided that MAG will cease to operate with immediate effect.

For those unaware, MAG was created in 2019 to provide the Board with a wide-range of advice covering all aspects of our sport – including competitions, performance, coaching, development, governance, engagement and diversity and inclusion. The membership of MAG was such that it was able to draw on a full range of perspectives – players, coaches, parents, technical officials, club, league and county administrators and organisers. 

The governance restructure that followed the publication of Table Tennis United, means that the Board is now able to draw on advice from a wider range of Advisory Committees and Standing Committees. These Committees draw on a similar approach to the one that has been adopted by MAG, i.e. a high level of expertise across the game, combined with a wide range of perspectives, and provide a further step in the process of ensuring that the Board has access to high quality of advice. 

However, the Board recognised the outstanding contribution that MAG members made, particularly their ability to think, and debate, at a strategic level and it is those very skills that we are keen to retain. With that in mind, MAG members have been given the opportunity to express their interest in being able to advise the Board on key issues in table tennis through being part of the new Committee structure, thereby demonstrating continuity of the valuable voice each provides.

It leaves me to thank Neil Hurford for his outstanding leadership of MAG, and for the members who, together, have contributed much to the growth and success of table tennis in England.

Save the Date

Our commitment to engage with our members more frequently continues and you are invited to save the follow dates:

6 March 2024 – Meeting with Company Members

These virtual meetings are for Company Members, both County and League, and will be held three times per year. 

They provide the opportunity for any Company Member to raise matters, including issues that they may wish for the Board to consider.

4 April 2024 – ‘Question Time’ Meeting

These virtual meetings are for the wider membership and provide a platform to engage directly with the Board / SLT. They are not intended for Company Members.

The agenda for these meetings is determined by the questions members wish to raise either in advance, or on the day.

Further details for both meetings will follow nearer the time.

Area Networks

With all seven Area Networks now in place with Area Managers and Area Chairs in position for all Areas, we will shortly be announcing the launch of our Area Network pages. This next step will provide local news, activity, case studies and information for the table tennis community in one central place, localised to each respective Area.

This will allow people to see what’s happening on a local basis and ensure that the news, courses, activity is tailored more to the place you are in. 

This supports our ongoing mission to take table tennis to where people at and provide that localised and relevant offer to our counties, clubs, leagues, coaches, technical officials and players. 

Furthermore, as part of this launch, we will be publishing the Local Delivery Plans that will map the work that the Area Networks will be focussing on, with the Local Organising Group working on delivering the actions identified. Delivering on these plans and helping make the Implementation Plan and Table Tennis United a reality is going to be a core focus for the Area team and these Local Delivery Plans will provide the core work they will undertake.

A further announcement on the Area pages will be made on this w/c 5th February.

Technical Officials

I am pleased to announce that a Task Group has been established to review the state of the development of Technical Officials in England and to devise and implement a plan of action to grow and develop our Technical Officials workforce.

Over the last couple of years there has been a real decline in the number of Technical Officials officiating across competitions in England and this has had a detrimental impact on many of our national level competitions.

The Task Group made up of Karen Tonge OBE, Tom Purcell, Brian Jackson, Chris Newton, Steve Smith and Andrew Wilesmith will be working on an action plan to address this, with real focus being given to this area of work in 24/25 and beyond.

National Competition Review

Following Board’s agreement to implement the TTE National Competition Review, plans continue to proceed apace.

Latest developments include:

Hosts and teams’ input needed to help shape NCL and NJL

New era of tiered tournaments ready to go

Hosts and dates announced for new National Series and U21 National Cup

More information will continue to be released in due course for the 2024/25 and 2025/26 seasons. For more about the Competition Review, including FAQs, please click here.


National Council

The National Council Chair election was completed, and Neil Hurford was successful and chaired his first meeting on 27 January. The first draft of proposed changes to the Articles were discussed at the meeting and feedback will be taken into consideration for Board approval.

People Committee

The first informal meeting of the People Committee took place in early January. James Walker and Deborah Barrow, who are active members of their table tennis clubs as well as being experienced People Professionals, joined board member Sally Hughes and Emma Sutherland, Head of People, to discuss some of the key priority topics, namely Risk, Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP), People Plan, policies as well as a discussion led by Area Manager Lauren Evans regarding a proposed volunteer training pilot.  They are aligning future sessions with the other committees, ahead of the Board Meeting schedule.

Staff Update

This update sees us say goodbye to Stephen Bourke, Jake Dampier and Chloe Ireland, who accepted positions at the end of 2023 outside of TTE.

We are excited to confirm that Amanda Leonard joined us on 4 January as Area Manager – South West and Simone Bernarde as Finance Assistant on 29 January. 

I am sure you will join us in wishing each one, every success in their roles.

For details of live vacancies available with TTE, please check out the website and share with your networks.  As part of our commitment to Diversity, Equality & Inclusion, we welcome applications from groups who are under-represented within our staff team.  For more information or any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Emma Sutherland, Head of People.

Best wishes
Adrian Christy