Sunday, May 27, 2007

Speed glue ban

The President of the ITTF released another statement regarding the ban of speed glues containing VOCs, shown below, after a player suffered serious health issue and this was blamed on the use of speedglue.

This seems another dubious decision made by the ITTF, and is the timing really helpful for the players? I'm not arguing with the decision to ban the glues, but they should be decisive about it. The decision to ban starting Sept 08 at least gave us a firm date, giving everyone time to adjust. How can you expect to adjust by an announcement that's made overnight? How many of us are in the middle of a season, and have been training for some upcoming event? What are we supposed to do now?

Firstly as far as I know ITTF approval for glues is meaningless, as any glue is perfectly legal to use as long as it does not contain illegal substances (which are listed on the ITTF website somewhere (the new website design will probably make it impossible to find!). ITTF approval merely means the ITTF has test it and has given it the thumbs up. So crossing them off the list means nothing!

Secondly how silly is it to say that the glues are now illegal, but will not be tested till Sept 08. Is this just a way of covering their backsides, so that if another incident happens, they can't be sued, because they have stated that gluing was illegal? I simply can't see how an overnight decision can possible be to the benefit of players... after all gluing has been going on for a few decades already!

These people on the board of the ITTF seem way out of touch with reality, and certainly with the players at club levels such as most of us. I get the feeling that politics and money are at work here, with the interest of players coming second...

The improved scoring system (up to 11 instead of 21) was an earlier decision I did not agree with, and I know many see if my way. Was this done for the benifit of players? Has it really mad a difference to the game... I think not!
The new laws regarding friction levels of long pimple rubber seems to be another one where decisions are made without players having much of a say, but I won't go into this here.

Unfortunately there seems to be very little players can do to make any changes at the top level... These people seem to be able to make decision overnight on any issue, without being accountable to the many players out there... If you know of a way of changing this, I would love to hear about... before these clowns completely destroy our sport!

By: Adham Sharara, ITTF President


Based on a majority decision taken by the Board of Directors of the ITTF, Glues containing harmful volatile compounds are no longer approved by the ITTF effective immediately. Although it is felt by the Board of Directors that the current levels of volatile compounds in Glues used to affix rubber coverings to the table tennis blade are in very small quantities and if applied correctly in a ventilated area provide no serious health risk to the players, it is felt, however, that long term use of such glues may have negative health effects.

Therefore, as of immediate effect the ITTF informs all players to cease using glues containing volatile compounds (VCs).

It is, therefore, the responsibility of each player, or his/her parents in case of minors, to cease using glues containing VCs. Any player using such glues will be doing so at his/her own risk and the ITTF will not be held responsible of any consequences or ill effects resulting from the use of such glues.

All existing ITTF approvals of glues are WITHDRAWN effective immediately. This withdrawal applies to ALL glues currently on the market. The ITTF will cease to approve any type of glue effective immediately. However, the ITTF’s current “racket testing” programme and protocols will continue, which controls the amount of VCs in a racket in order to protect the health of the players.

The ITTF will publish and circulate widely a list of available glues that are free of volatile compounds. This list will be updated regularly on the ITTF’s website.

As of 1 January 2008 for ITTF Junior events, and as of 1 September 2008 for all other ITTF events, the ITTF will implement a new zero tolerance racket testing programme and protocol, using the “e-nez” and RAE instruments to ensure that all rackets used by players are VC free.

In addition, as of today, in the case that a proven severe health incident occurs and is confirmed by the medical authority recognized by the ITTF, then the ITTF would implement the new testing programme immediately (VC free) at that date (confirmation of the incident) and sanctions would be applied for failed tests. An exact legal announcement of this procedure will be made shortly by the ITTF.

The ITTF urges all parties involved, players, national associations, continental associations, manufacturers, and parents to act accordingly.

Adham Sharara


Barry Shimmin-Clarke said...

Which glues do not contain the volatile compounds and can be used safetly?
More to the point whic hones are banned?

Alex said...

Virtually all glues currently on the market are banned, including the 'long life' glues which were marketed as 'water based'. There are only a few new ones, like Falco Tempo and a new Stiga one that are supposed to be VOC free.

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the ban of speed glue appears to violate the Laws of Table Tennis. Section 1.19 makes it clear that rules that affect changes in equipment cannot be made to be effective sooner than Sept. 1 in the year following the rule change. So we are in the very odd position of the ITTF saying that certain gluing substances are illegal, when they don't have the standing to enforce such a rule change.

As for the list of glues that have no VOCs, it has been two weeks since the announcement and the ITTF has failed to provide any such list.

All this is happening weeks before the U.S. Open. I understand this event isn't big on the international TT stage, but it is pretty important for us in the "states""