The International Table Tennis Federation, the sport's governing body, has begun the search for a new global headquarters that could see the organisation relocate away from the Olympic capital, Lausanne.
The ITTF employees 50 staff, split evenly between Lausanne and its Asia-Pacific office in Singapore, which has become the commercial hub for the federation since taking its rights in-house at the beginning of 2017.
Now with plans to build the workforce by as much as 50 per cent over the coming years, the ITTF said it needs a new 'Home of Table Tennis', that will additionally encompass an international training centre and high performance and development base.
Steve Dainton, chief executive of the ITTF, said: “Whilst this is an objective for beyond 2019, the ITTF is already planning ahead to set up a true ‘Home of Table Tennis.’ All cities submitting bids will realise the exceptional opportunities available to them, not least raising their global profile and significant economic investments into their local communities.
“This won’t just be an office, but also a permanent base for our High Performance & Development strategy and state-of-the-art training facilities. The ultimate goal would be to have a mini museum, TTX tables and a retail store too. We want people to stop by and enjoy a game of table tennis as well.
“Hopefully this is the place that can help create the next stars of our sport. After all, we need to be nurturing a new generation of talent from different parts of the world to ensure an exciting future for Table Tennis and one which will attract more and more spectators and supporters from across the globe. The new ‘Home of Table Tennis’ will go a long way to helping us achieve our long-term ambitions.”
The ITTF said the headquarters must be located in an international city, with close proximity to an international airport, and provide opportunities for the office to expand over time, "with a minimum office space of 1000sqm preferably developed specifically for the ITTF on vacant land."
Expressions of interest are due by 15 April, with plans to be submitted to the ITTF by 31 August. An evaluation period will then run until the end of the year, when a decision is due.
Last April, the ITTF relocated its Museum from Lausanne to Shanghai in China.
The new headquarters form part of the ITTF's wider plans to revamp the sport, with a professional structure being put in place from 2021 in collaboration with Deloitte, the global advisory firm.