Table Tennis England funding frozen

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Table Tennis England expected to receive £9m between 2017 and 2021

The chairman of Table Tennis England (TTE) has criticised “individuals with their own agendas” after the sport lost access to £9m in funding.

The governing body needed to pass a proposal at Saturday’s annual general meeting to ensure its governance met UK Sport and Sport England rules.

TTE needed 75% of its members to vote for the proposal but only 74.93% did, meaning its funding has been frozen.

“This has put our future at risk,” said chairman Sandra Deaton.

“Despite being told of the consequences, the action of a small number of the individuals, some with their own agendas, have meant 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.”

The proposal in question concerned changes relating to the appointment of board members.

Some opponents at grassroots level believe it would create a risk of having people “with little table tennis experience or knowledge” in charge of the game.

TTE expected to receive about £9m from Sport England between 2017 and 2021, but the latest tranche of that money will not be released.

Deaton said she hoped TTE could convince Sport England to release the next scheduled funding payment.

“Then, and only then, can we consider the next steps to ensure full compliance with the code,” she added.

In October 2016, Sport England and UK Sport released a code for sports governance, which outlines the standards required of organisations requiring funding.

It demands greater transparency, sets targets for gender diversity on boards, and requires constitutional arrangements that make boards the ultimate decision-makers.

A Sport England statement said its policy was “clear”, adding: “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 we hope that in the future they are able to meet the code to be eligible for public funding again.”

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