The German Table Tennis Federation has raised concerns about the implementation of World Table Tennis ©ITTF

The German Table Tennis Federation (DTTB) has raised concerns that the implementation of World Table Tennis (WTT) has violated "essential principles of good governance and transparency" and disempowered National Associations.

In a letter seen by insidethegames, the DTTB voiced its concerns to International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) associations, officials and the ITTF management team.

WTT was set up by the ITTF - whose President is Germany's Thomas Weikert - in August 2019 and formally launched in March to run all of the ITTF’s commercial and events business from 2021. 

It aims to modernise the commercial business activities of table tennis and has led to the introduction of a series of new events, with the promise of increased prize money and a more modern experience for fans, broadcasters, players and hosts.

In the letter, the DTTB claimed national governing bodies were "never informed" about the "degree of influence and power and freedom of decision transferred to WTT".

It also alleged that WTT now has "full control" over the international table tennis tournament system and is able to sell the rights for events without the involvement of ITTF Continental Federations or the Board of Directors. 

As a consequence, the DTTB claims, those within WTT can now conduct business independently for their own commercial interests. 

"WTT, led by salaried ITTF staff, in turn refuses to disclose the details of its agreements with marketing companies, consultants and licensees," the letter said. 

"The flows of money (pay of Directors, salaries, bonuses, fees for consultants) seem to be hidden within complex structures."

The DTTB also raised concerns regarding the ranking points attributed to WTT events, claiming these contests could soon be given more value than the Olympic Games or World Championships. 

"It is said that winning a Continental or an important Open Championships would be awarded with much lesser ranking points than a victory in a WTT Grand Smash event," the letter said.

"And even winning a gold medal in the Olympic Games or World Championships would be less valuable than a number-one result in a WTT Event. 

"Especially Olympic Games and World Championships are essential to the National Associations as governmental (sic) financial support is usually linked to these major events.

"These plans mean a disempowerment of all national and continental entities and a serious impairment of their work at the grassroots of our sport."

A World Table Tennis promotional showcase is currently taking place in Macau ©ITTF
A World Table Tennis promotional showcase is currently taking place in Macau ©ITTF

The letter warns of a "takeover" of table tennis. 

"It seems to be a takeover of our sport by a small group of salaried ITTF staff, isolated located in Singapore instead of Lausanne where ITTF has its legal and historical basis," it said. 

"The WTT and partners can now plan to manage all top-level table tennis sport and to schedule events without having to involve the National Associations, the Continental Boards and the Board of Directors in their decision-making processes."

The DTTB concluded by calling for an investigation into the situation by "independent economic legal experts".

"This concentration of power by a small group of salaried ITTF staff, located in Singapore instead of Lausanne where ITTF has its legal and historical basis, should be thoroughly investigated by independent economic and legal experts that could check the transparency, legality and legitimacy of the ongoing processes," the letter said. 

"These experts should be provided with the mandate which does not only include an audit of annual financial statements. 

"The auditor should be an expert who so far has not yet been entrusted with ITTF tasks."

A letter signed by French Table Tennis Federation President Christian Palierne, which voiced support for the DTTB's stance, has also been seen by insidethegames

The ITTF has been contacted for comment. 

A WTT promotional showcase is currently being held in Macau, with three separate hubs then set to stage WTT tournaments in the first half of 2021.

The inaugural Grand Smash tournament - the top tier of new WTT competitions - is due to feature at the hub in China from April 13 to May 16.   

Liu Guoliang, President of the Chinese Table Tennis Association and a double gold medallist at the Atlanta 1996 Olympics, was announced as chair of the WTT Council in June.