Coronavirus update

Paul Stimpson

Publish date:

Last updated on Wednesday 16 June at 10.00am 

Please note, this is an ever-changing situation and our advice may change at short notice. We recommend that you check our website regularly for the latest advice.

Following the Government announcement on the 14th June, there are no changes to the guidance as set out currently and therefore please continue to refer to the current ready to return guidance document and statements below, we are working through some considerations for events that were planned after the 21st June with the planned restrictions being lifted and will confirm if there are any implications/changes as soon as possible.

** May 25 update: DCMS has confirmed that there are currently no changes for indoor sport in any of the geographical areas which were identified by the Government as having high rates of the Delta variant. **

Following the Government announcement on 22nd February 2021, we have outlined the key steps for returning to table tennis activity and these are outlined below.

Table tennis is currently at stage four of the Table Tennis England Ready to Return roadmap, which does allow local league and 1* competitions to take place (from 12th April for U18s and Disabled People and from 17th May for adults).

There are a set of recommendations that have been put in place for players returning to competitive play, which can be found here.

It is hoped all competitions will be able to return on 19th July, where some types of restrictions may need to remain (dependent on Governmental guidelines in place).

We will continue to provide updates and have added more detail to the Ready to Return official guidance document, which can be found here.

From 8th March

  • Outdoor table use, club, league or competition activity not permitted
  • Under-18 sport can take place at school as part of educational provision, or as part of wraparound care, but should not otherwise take place at this time.

From 29th March

  • Play on outdoor tables and organised outdoor sport permitted for bubbles of six adults or two households, or groups of 15 children
  • Indoor play not permitted for children or adults
  • Disabled People are permitted to train indoors and outdoors (as outlined by DCMS/Government)

From 12th April

  • Table tennis indoors to re-start for children under the age of 18 and Disabled People in bubbles of up to 15. It has been confirmed that the exemption for under-18s includes young people who were under 18 on 31st August 2020.
  • Play for adults indoors not yet permitted, unless with someone from your own household or support bubble.
  • One-to-one coaching can be carried out for U18s indoors or outdoors, for adults one-to-one coaching is permitted indoors if for paid work/employment purposes for the coach, or outdoors for any other circumstances.
  • Local leagues, local competitions and 1* events for U18s and Disabled People are able to re-start, if abiding by the guidelines set out in the Ready to Return Official Guidance document for adult activity and advising players of the recommendations of returning to competitive play.

Current position (as of 17th May)

  • For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there is no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities. The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 9.29 sq m space (100 sq ft) per person. We now suggest a court size of a minimum of 8mX4m to help maintain social distancing requirements.
  • Facilities: All sports facilities can open. This includes facilities which can be used for sport but are primarily used for leisure.
  • Changing rooms: Changing rooms can open, but participants should be encouraged to avoid or minimise use where possible.
  • Travel: You can leave your home to exercise and take part in informal and organised sport and physical activity. Car sharing will be permitted in Step 3 for sport and physical activity.
  • Hospitality: Clubhouses and facilities that serve food and drink can open. In Step 3, both indoor and outdoor hospitality will be permitted.
  • Local leagues, local competitions and events that include adults are able to re-start, if abiding by the guidelines set out in the Ready to Return Official Guidance document for adult activity and advising players of the recommendations of returning to competitive play. Some national championship events will also take place in this window under strict Covid protocols.
  • No doubles.

No earlier than 19th July

  • Remove all legal limits on social contact, publishing accompanying guidance on how best to reduce the risk of transmission and protect ourselves and loved ones.

Elite athletes

Elite athletes are exempt from the current lockdown for the purposes of training and competing. For the avoidance of doubt, elite athletes are defined by DCMS as someone who is one or more of the following:

  • an individual who derives a living from competing in a sport
  • a senior representative nominated by a relevant sporting body
  • a member of the senior training squad for a relevant sporting body
  • on an elite development pathway.

Table Tennis England have further defined this as a person identified by the National Men’s or Women’s Coach who is a potential player (or sparrer for players) in the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham 2022 who can train in a specific training venue, currently the David Ross Sports Village at University of Nottingham.

Table Tennis England will also recognise those players defined by the other Home Nations as elite for the purposes of accessing the current elite training venue

Only players meeting both DCMS and Table Tennis England definitions will be cleared as elite athletes.


When any updated Government guidance is published, we will move as soon as we can to consider what it means for table tennis across the country. We will aim to respond to any changes promptly but we may have to wait for the Government to provide the precise details of their guidance and advice.

Our series of stages through which we anticipate table tennis activity outside of the home resuming are below:

  • Stage 1 – Play and exercise at home and limited outdoor play (where we are now)
  • Stage 2 – Limited club activity
  • Stage 3 – Preparing for localised competition
  • Stage 4 – Local competition resumption
  • Stage 5 – Restricted national competitions

In all matters, the health and wellbeing of all our members, volunteers, suppliers and staff remain the key priority for the Board of Table Tennis England at this time of uncertainty and change.

Share this article