Coronavirus update

Paul Stimpson

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Last updated on Thursday April 8 at 9.00am 

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.

March 19 update (amended April 8)

Please note, the current situation remains as outlined in the January 5 update below, that all club, league, competition or coaching activity is not permitted. However, following the Government announcement on 22nd February 2021, we have outlined what we believe are the key steps for returning to table tennis activity.

Upon returning, table tennis will return to stage four of the Table Tennis England Ready to Return roadmap, which does allow local league and 1* competitions to take place (no earlier than 12th April for U18s and Disabled People and no earlier than 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 21st June, where some types of restrictions may need to remain (dependent on Governmental guidelines in place).

Please bear in mind that these are our current understandings of restrictions and these will continually be updated as more information continues to be shared by DCMS and Sport England. We 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.

Current position (as of 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.

No earlier than 17th May

  • Table tennis indoors to re-start for adults in bubbles of up to six people, or from two households.
  • Local leagues, local competitions and 1* 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.

No earlier than 21st June

  • 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.

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