The ITTF, table tennis' governing body, today opened the bidding window to find hosts for its expanded World Table Tennis Championships Finals in 2021 and 2022.
An amendment to the format agreed at a recent ITTF board of directors meeting means that the tournament will now include a series of continental and intercontinental stages, all leading to the World Table Tennis Championships Finals, which will include the best of the best from the previous stages.
The 2021 edition will be an individual tournament, featuring men's and women's singles, men's and women's doubles and mixed doubles all competing in straight knockouts.
The 2022 edition will be a team event, with the top 32 men’s and women’s teams playing in a first stage consisting of eight groups of four. The top two from each group will progress to a 16-team knockout.
Steve Dainton, chief executive of the ITTF, said: "The new World Table Tennis Championships Finals makes hosting the world’s biggest table tennis event more attractive to host than ever before. We are looking forward to having a record number of bidders from all across the globe bid for the event, as it is now a much more attractive proposition to host, with less players and teams and more potential media values and promotional opportunities with a more flexible format."
The ITTF noted that the the new format allows for "all matches to be televised globally, and flexible scheduling to ensure that the key matches are being held at prime times to assist with ticket sales and television viewership."
A submission of interest period will run until 30 September, with final bids due by year-end. The ITTF will evaluate the bids in the first two months of 2019, with the aim of the annual general meeting voting for the two host cities in April.
The 2019 (individual) and 2020 (team) ITTF World Championships will be staged in Budapest, Hungary and Busan, South Korea, respectively.