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Funding crisis for Table Tennis England casts doubt over future

 

The future of English table tennis has been shrouded in doubt after the country’s national governing body for the sport announced that its funding has been cut.

Looking to secure £9 million for the period 2017-2021 from Sport England, proposals were discussed at a recent Annual General Meeting to try and resolve problems that could prevent Table Tennis England from reaching the required 75% support from leagues and counties.

However, Table Tennis England missed out on achieving the minimum requirements by only receiving 74.93% votes of support.

Funding for the national governing body has now been fully axed with immediate effect, leaving plenty of questions about the future of the sport in the country.

Chairman of Table Tennis England Sandra Deaton has given the following statement in reaction to the news:

“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. 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.

The Board’s absolute priority is to work with Sport England to agree a satisfactory plan of remedial action to see if we can get the immediate funding payment released. Then and only then can we consider the next steps to ensure full compliance with the Code which would secure the rest of the £9m of 2017-21 funding.”

One major question that is yet to be answered is how this news will affect the country’s professional table tennis players?

England has impressed on the international scene over the past couple of years, winning a bronze medal at the 2016 World Team Championships and more recently Paul Drinkhall put in a fantastic effort at the 2017 Australian Open reaching the semi-finals of the Men’s Singles competition.

Yet, unless the funding issues are resolved then there could be hugely worrying times ahead for English table tennis.

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