Table Tennis England chairman Sandra Deaton has warned the future of the governing body is "at risk" ©Table Tennis England

Table Tennis England chairman Sandra Deaton has warned the future of the governing body is "at risk" after they lost access to £9 million ($12 million/€10 million) in Sport England funding.

Deaton also hit out at "individuals with their own agendas" after a vote to bring Table Tennis England in line with governance standards outlined by UK Sport and Sport England failed to pass at their Annual General Meeting.

The governing body needed 75 per cent support from leagues and counties but fell marginally short, with 74.93 per cent voting in favour.

The vote meant Table Tennis England was in breach of its funding agreement with Sport England, who were due to provide the organisation with the £9 million for the 2017 to 2021 period.

That has now been suspended "with immediate effect", Table Tennis England confirmed.

An emergency Board meeting was held after Saturday's (July 8) vote, with another scheduled to be held this week.

Deaton admitted the vote could have drastic consequences for the organisation and admitted they were the first sporting governing body to fail to meet the Government’s code for sports governance, set out in October 2016 and which urge members to improve transparency.

It also outlines how the Boards of the governing bodies should have greater gender diversity and be the ultimate decision-makers within the organisation.

"The Board had the only workable proposal on the table, together with a strong commitment that we would continue to work together to see if there were any improvements which could be made," Deaton said.

"Had this received the support of three-quarters of the counties and leagues, we would now be compliant and our future would have been secured with a guarantee of nearly £9 million.

"Despite being told of the consequences, the action of a small number of the individuals, some with their own agendas, have meant that the Association is now in a suspended state of business.

"Table tennis has become the first sport to fail to deliver on the Government’s requirements for funding. 

"This has put our future at risk, as well as every programme we operate."

Paul Drinkhall was a member of the England men's team which won a bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships ©Getty Images
Paul Drinkhall was a member of the England men's team which won a bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships ©Getty Images

The proposal put forward to the AGM related to how members are appointed to the Table Tennis England Board.

According to the minutes from the meeting, critics claim it could lead to people being chosen for roles without sufficient knowledge of the sport and governing body.

The news represents a huge blow to the sport in England and comes after the men's team won a surprise bronze medal at the 2016 World Championships in Kuala Lumpur.

"We are disappointed by the news that at the Table Tennis England AGM on 8 July, their members voted against making changes that would enable the organisation to adhere to the Code for Sports Governance," Sport England said in a statement.

"Our policy is clear. 

"Organisations that don’t meet the Code for Sports Governance will not be eligible to receive public investment. 

"Therefore no further investment can be made in Table Tennis England until changes are made.

"We note that members rejected the proposed changes by a narrow margin, so Table Tennis England will be working to make improvements, and hope that in the future they are able to meet the Code to be eligible for public funding again."

The developments marks the latest in the ongoing funding debate in Britain after 11 disgruntled national governing bodies - including Table Tennis England - demanded an overhaul into how money is distributed to Olympic and Paralympic sports last month.

Archery GB, BaseballSoftballUK, British Basketball, British Fencing, British Handball, British Volleyball, British Weightlifting, British Wrestling, GB Badminton and GB Wheelchair Rugby were the others involved.

They claim the current system has "disenfranchised many of the country's elite sportsmen and women" in the rigorous pursuit of medals.

A total investment of £345 million ($447 million/€391 million) will be made to 31 Olympic and Paralympic sports for the next Games.

This sum is £2 million ($2.6 million/€2.2 million) less than a record £347 million ($450 million/€394 million) allocated in the run-up to Rio 2016.