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Frequently asked questions to Adham Sharara

I've created this F.A.Q. to prevent members from asking questions to Mr. Sharara that were already asked previously. Please have a look onto it before you post. The answers are summaries of posts which are linked to (usually in the "answer-a"). This F.A.Q. is just a rough guide and will probably be updated continiously. Let me know if you think that something is missing or wrong. Please note that I copied/pasted these text passages from Mr. Sharara's original (sometimes several) posts and that some parts could be misunderstood.

Frequently asked questions/topics

Q 1: Can you bring proof that the changes (40mm ball, 11 points rule) really were good?

A: The main objective was to make Table Tennis more TV friendly. Did we achieve that?
- In 1992 in Barcelona Olympics Table tennis ranked by IOC 24th out of 26 sports as far as TV viewers worldwide are concerned
- In 2004 in Athens, the IOC ranked TT 5th out of 28 sports
- For 2008, we have only partial results and statistics but already based on this partial results TT is ranked 4th out of 28 sports (we hope to end up even higher).
Any measure of success remains a question of statistics and opinions. My statistics show that ITTF influenced in improving our sport, and my opinion is unfortunately biased.
The delegates at the ITTf are not stupid, if after a year or two they realize that this rule should be changed back they will do it. But we must give enough time to see the effects. We had mush stronger opposition to the 40mm ball and the 11 points games, but today there is general agreement that these were good changes.

Q 2: The rules were/are badly executed and their was internal confusion in the ITTF.

A: Unfortunately the ITTF reacted too late in my opinion (after manufacturers were already producing ready made rubbers that had the post-treatment effect). I agree with you that the new rules were noy implemented in the best possible way. But we are doing our best now to correct that. We were not all on the same wavelength (on this issue [minimum friction level ]). I apologize for that. We will try to get our act together better.

Q 3: TT is now totally overregulated and the ITTF doesn't care for the amateurs.

A: The ITTF makes rules only for the International level and for the events at the international level. None of the ITTF rules are intended beyond the international level. Then each national associations decides the rules in their own country. Some national associations adopt the ITTF rules 100%, some adopt certain rules and not others, and a few just have their own rules.

Here in England the ITTF rule is only applied at the national level. At lower levels the Associations allows the use of any equipment. This is the choice that England made, and probably a good choice. My personal philosophy is to let everyone play as they like and as they enjoy and to have minimum restrictions and minimum rules.

Q 4: What's the point of thinking about huge popularity? TT will never be as popular as soccer or so.
A: If I did not believe that, then it's better for me to stay home and sleep.

Q 5: The rules may work on international level, where umpires and testing devices are present but not on amateur level:
A: It's up to each national association (and its affiliates) to decide how and if they wish to implement ITTF rules. It is subsequently also their responsibility to take care of the proper implementation of the rules.

A (member Thorsten von Bayern reports about the implementation of the rules): On all regional levels, our joint result up to now is:
- The vast majority of all ENEZ results is "green".
- Almost all players appreciate the procedure as a contribution to fairness.
- No time delays or other interruptions of play are recognized.
- On the other hand, players are definitely hoping for even stronger procedures covering tuners and boosters. It is the players' firm belief that, whereas most players have refrained from speed gluing, many of them just replaced it by tuning.
- My feeling as an umpire and racket controller is that no issue, not even the ever-discussed enforcement of the service laws, has ever drawn more attention than the "new" banning rules.

Backed by this experience, the concept is about to be extended down to county level, including tournaments. ...
The booster/tuner matter of course is still unresolved...

Q 6: I heard that new rules (such as a higher net and a 42mm ball are discussed)?

A: The chairman of the ITTF Athletes Commission, Zoran Primorac, favours a higher net. Also the Swiss TTA may make such a proposal. No plan at the moment for a 42mm ball.

Q 7: This rule is terrible for lower league members. I'm an amateur, I just want to play for fun (and I'm too old to change my style).

A: the friction rule has caused a lot of problems to players at the lower levels in clubs and leagues, while it had no effect on the top players. I am very sorry about that. But I firmly believe that players should rely on their own skills and hone those skills to be better players and use equipment only as a question of comfort and as a matter of fitting their style of play, rather than using equipment (and altering) to gain advantage. This is my personal belief. I also believe that defensive players should be able to make a comeback now that we no longer have VOC glues and if we control the use of boosters better in the future. The door has opened for defensive players to come up with their skills, with some help from equipment, but not to rely entirely on equipment.
Older players can learn new things. If you already have the basics, then you can learn the variations. If you are playing only for fun and you don't have time for practice, then of course it is difficult to improve. In this case play even more for fun, try new things, win or lose it does not matter because you play for fun.

See also Q 5
Q 8: The rules are useless because you can't control them, players keep cheating.
A: It is impossible to detect everything and always someone will cheat. Just like the IOC cannot detect every drug taken by athletes and always someone will cheat. So? Does that mean we abandon in what we believe and allow everything so that we have no problems? This would be like the IOC saying "we always have cheaters so we will no longer test for drugs". No, this is not the answer. The answer is that we need better detecting equipment and we need to educate young players to be honest and follow the rules. ... There will always be those that will find their own substances and tinker with their equipment to gain advantage.

Q 9: Speed-glue is (was) well-established and was in use for many many years. Why did it take so long to create a rule to ban it?

A: A strong and large group within the ITTF opposing such a ban and always working against any movement towards banning VOC glues in fear of ruining the sport.
It took quite some time to develope affordable and reliable testing equipment that would detect ALL VOCs.

Q 10: Those players that used speed-glue will simply use tuners. Why weren't they banned?

A: Boosters and Tuners were NEVER legal. Adding anything after it is authorized has always been illegal. The challenge is the detection of boosters and other additives that according to current ITTF rules are illegal. As of January 2009 special instruments will be introduced to detect such additives, and the ITTF is working closely with manufacturers to stop the production of such substances.

Q 11: The whole implementation of the rules is undemocratic. The voices of the everyday players are not being heard. These players don't want these rules and they don't care for tv presence and such.
A:What do you call when a group of national associations decide to form a world body because they have common international needs. So they form a federation of national associations, create a constitution, set-up a structure, have elections to elect their representatives, and follow the rules of their constitution? This is how all international federations are constituted and function. You cannot compare an International Federation (IF) to a government. An international federation is just that, and it does have its own democratic process. Any rule, change to the constitution, regulation, etc., is decided by a vote.

It [the rules] [were] made by the appropriate meeting within the ITTF and [were] passed with a big majority. It would seem that the national associations members of the ITTF favoured the establishment of a minimum standard. This is the role of an international federation to set the rules and to establish standards. Some would prefer anarchy and anything goes, Ok, I respect their views. Others prefer extreme regulations and strict set criteria, also OK, I respect theior views. ... But I find the ITTF to be somewhere in the middle. ... Do you blame the ITTF for trying to set some standards and for not allowing post-treatment? ... We need to standardize equipment within an acceptable range and avoid chaos.
"Jedes Kind bringt die Botschaft,
dass Gott die Lust am Menschen noch nicht verloren hat."

Geändert von TSC (16.02.2009 um 21:51 Uhr).
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