Ever since I was a child, I have loved table tennis. Loved the sound of the bouncing ball, the atmosphere, the community. The sport has given my life a tremendous amount of joy, it has shaped me to what and who I am today. I’m grateful for, that since 2009, I have had your trust to hold the position as vice president on the ITTF Executive Committee. Now I want to take it one step further – to position ITTF as the front runner of a modern, diverse, and unified world-class sport federation. I strongly believe that we need to work close as one united family with people, planet, and profit as guiding stars, as we have done since the start in 1926. In cooperation with our continents, I will put the spotlight on creating value and growth through a membership centred governance, strengthen movement and innovation in our commercial partnerships and with our athletes, in mind, drive our sustainability agenda for a prosperous future. Since I put my name forward as President, I have kept my promise to you – to listen. As achieving the mission of ITTF will not be possible without your valuable thoughts and commitments.
This is the result. This is our future. This is my manifesto.
Your Goal My Promise
Manifesto in the making
”For me it’s not just to give it away for somebody else to make my manifesto. I’d like to listen and learn from our stakeholders, from our members and from our continents and that is where we are at the moment.”
Business & Growth
”You need time to make a change. We are in a transforming period of time when it comes to business and sport. It’s not only table tennis. We have to move on without loosing our tradition, our core values.
The future of WTTC
”I love when you fight for titles, for me that is important. Probably because I am from Sweden, here it’s a very strong thing to have a title to fight for. Having said that it is of course also important to find new ways to compete.”
Petra Sörling – Manifesto
United ITTF Family
I believe in the strength of one family working together. With our beloved sport close to our heart, we need a clear understanding of the different roles we need to play to achieve excellence in governance of international table tennis.
Urgency of unification
One of the most important goals connected to my Presidential campaign is not only to unite the ITTF family, but also to use the strong force within to develop table tennis into one of the biggest sports in the world. I have a strong belief that we have a potential of substantial growth in many areas. How we can improve the ITTF in terms of visibility, on membership, and from a commercial point of view, shall be present in all our meetings and discussions when we are restarting table tennis again.
In the last few months leading up to the production of this manifesto, I have been on a mostly digital, but also physical journey around the Table Tennis world. From the many discussions it is not hard to pull out the key questions to address in the near future. Clearly, we must aim at bringing back a strong and dominant feeling of belonging to the ITTF family and that we can create space and time for such an inclusion to happen on a regular basis.
Understand the challenges
The essential first step of such a process is for the ITTF Group management and elected officials to connect with the membership in order to first and foremost understand the challenges that many of our developing member associations are facing on a daily basis. We have many markets to conquer yet and with that many open fields to cover for people in general to come closer to our sport. Secondly, access to equipment and playing facilities are vital factors, and finally – and perhaps even more important – well educated, structured member associations attached to continental bodies influencing the general direction of our journey forward and upwards.
In many ways the new leadership of the ITTF must understand the member associations fundamental rights, the embedded duties but also not shy away from diving into the challenges and the struggle to survive in each and every sporting market around the world. Innovations as well as evidence based approach is the way forward.
The continental factor is a valuable asset for the ITTF and with the continental leadership included in the planning and event management process we create a bridge of understanding that is critical for an emerging, stronger and well connected ITTF family.
MY PROMISE TO YOU:
- To put the ITTF family first back on the agenda in order to unite our membership and bring peace and harmony back.
- To look at ways to improve inclusion and engagement by thinking big and understanding small.
- To engage in discussions with the continental bodies and its leadership on how to make improvements on our working model in order to improve the delivery of ITTF programs and initiatives.
IOC/IPC – ITTF relations
The work with good governance is ongoing and never ending. Strategic plans need to be adjusted and modified in the ever so changing world of sports. It becomes often very clear after finishing one Olympic cycle and entering another that our position within the Olympic- and Paralympic family is a constant but positive challenge. We are proud of our strong presence at the Games, but at the same time work hard when jumping into the details of our program and events.
It all comes down to managing relations with the IOC/IPC. The numerous meetings I held in Tokyo, with key officials from the Olympic and Paralympic movement reinforced my will and my ambition to lead the ITTF and to continue developing further mechanisms of control and to ensure our regulations applies to all stakeholders.
Trust and clarity
I have learned from my walk of life, from my professional life as the CEO for a real estate company in the vibrant city of Malmö, in Sweden, that engaging communication is built on a combination of trust and clarity. Years of voluntary work in table tennis on national, continental and world level for more than 20 years has taught me to respect and listen first before moving on to decisions. We are living in a dynamic period of time and need to keep the pace of the evolving society, which run much faster than 25 years ago. There is a necessity to facilitate dynamism in the governance function, as proven during this covid-19 pandemic where the fast transformation to digital meetings enabled us to continue our work. I will lean on my experience and leadership skills to provide the best possible way forward for our federation in all aspects ranging from financial clarity, organizational dynamics, event model sustainability, decision making and staff operations. My leadership will reflect on how ITTF will formed. The new ITTF will be known as a federation with a dynamic governance and a willingness to change. I am confident enough to believe that I can make a difference for our sport by taking on the ITTF President position and lead our federation into the field of unity and prosperity.
MY PROMISE TO YOU:
- To provide ITTF Group (ITTF, World Table Tennis, ITTF Foundation) organizational clarity to our members and promote equity.
- To evaluate the integration of independent experts to support the elected officials in the ITTF.
- To review regulations over time to ensure their original purpose is still relevant and deliver according to the expectations of our members.
- To even further strengthen our ties to the Olympic and Paralympic movement by advancing in all areas of good governance and development of our sport.
Events built to entertain
World Table Tennis is the commercial vehicle to drive table tennis forward in the modern era, with innovations to all facets of the global table tennis product. Through World Table Tennis, we are striving to build a platform that really benefits our athletes and fans, enabling better structured events and higher prize money.
We need to deliver a stable international calendar of diverse events optimized both for the local organizers, the membership, rightsholders and commercial partners.
A global sport front-runner
We need to set a clear communication strategy and roadmap to ensure we have all aspects that drives value and revenue in mind. The overall master plan must address event structure, a media plan with a diverse channel strategy to grow a younger audience, digital rights, commercial structure, and sponsorship structure to drive revenue and public relations to boost brand reputation.
We need to assure that our communication is transparent to our member associations, governing bodies, government entities, organizing cities so they are well aware of the changes and intentions of the pathway mapped out.
I would like the ITTF to make a move to strengthen our organization with professionals with the abilities to create innovations and show new ways of improving our events and programs. Together we should evaluate existing structures in order to pave the way for new and even better solutions.
I have a strong belief that if we do this successfully, we will position ITTF and table tennis among the front-runners in global sport.
MY PROMISE TO YOU:
- To innovate and create an attractive event structure, program, and calendar, maximizing growth and value for members and our athletes.
- To drive a strategic digital transformation to strengthen the commercial potential, harness innovation and inspire young people to join our sport.
- To revitalize revenues by strengthening current commercial partnerships, rights and sponsorships and initiate new revenue streams.
- To increase brand awareness by a solid communication strategy to expand exposure and to entertain a growing global fanbase.
- Work closely with those stakeholders who can clearly help us achieve these plans and ensure we create commercial growth in order to further develop our wonderful sport.
A sustainable future
Table Tennis can only serve people if we closely monitor and manage our activities’ impacts on individuals and communities at large. We must ensure that our sport is continually used as a tool for positive change in society. This could be for promoting diversity, education, equal opportunities, health, human rights, quality of life or social cohesion. Only by fully embracing all these key areas, does table tennis have the power to inspire future generations and leave a long-lasting positive legacy.
I am also convinced that we can offer strong programs to showcase the many positive health effects connected to our sport. The Table Tennis for all for life vision takes us to young, old and anyone out there for growth. The large and growing veteran community is one good example of this.
Today in some countries we only have around 10% female participants. This is not a good trend and long term not a sustainable future. We need to showcase table tennis as the perfect sport for all – female players included. This is only one of the areas I will put focus on to reverse the negative trend. Its time to move from awareness to change.
Table Tennis, as with all other sports, has a duty to protect the environment and the resources it provides. The sport, along with all its stakeholders will work hand in hand, to reduce its carbon footprint and drive innovative solutions. In addition, awareness raising aiming at consumption and behaviour changes will be developed to build a better, brighter future for our world. The health of our planet is a collective responsibility, and we must all play our part.
Table Tennis, to survive, must support its own long-term economic growth without negatively impacting social, environmental, and cultural aspects of the community. Ways in which we can achieve this include cash flow analysis, resource distribution and support for social businesses and technologies. We must increase our commitments to developing table tennis activities which generate value beyond financial profitability. We also need to capture new unexposed audiences and conquer the young to be valid for the future.
MY PROMISE TO YOU:
- To launch programs that increase diversity and inclusion and decreases inequities and enhance the participation of the athletes and coaches.
- To increase awareness of the positive health and well-being effect of table tennis.
- To explore opportunities for responsible consumption and production.
- To build bridges and strengthen relationships with key institutions and partners.
- To explore together with the manufacturers how we can make the table tennis industry more sustainable with recycling as one tool.
- To make ITTF a role model with the aim to inspire in the future IOC/IPC.