1. EXPERIENCE

Some are concerned that I may not have enough experience to lead the ITTF as president. This is a good question. It is true that I do not have the “traditional” administrative experience inside the ITTF. I bring a “new and fresh” experience based on many years inside the ITTF with an analytical eye, including as member of the ITTF Athletes’ Commission and a long experience in the Olympic movement.

  • Member of the Executive Board of the National Olympic Committee
  • Member of the Executive Board of the Continental Olympic Committee
  • Technical Director of my federation
  • Sport expert – Office of the Minister of Sports
  • Technical expert - Office of the Minister for Education and School buildings
  • More than 30 years of practical experience as a participant in national events, continental events, ITTF events (25 World Championships) and 7 Olympic Games.
  • How many ITTF presidents had the above experience?

I may not have the exact administrative experience related directly to the ITTF structure. I consider that an advantage. Because I will look at all ITTF systems with a fresh and open mind. I will listen to all the stakeholders in the ITTF and especially the national and continental federations. I will rely very much on the experts inside the ITTF for advice and guidance. And I will count on the experience and advice of my Vice presidents. I will strengthen the professional staff structure of the ITTF. I will hire a Planning and Implementation Director to take all the ideas from all the ITTF family and include it in a strategic plan.

I have a goal. And “we” have the experience. This is a winning combination. I will not be distracted by daily operational and administrative functions. We have experts and professionals to do that for us. I will focus on the vision of making the “Table Tennis First and ITTF First ”. Together, we can make Table Tennis one of the top sports in the World.

I will create a “Suggestion Box” online where all the ITTF family can deposit ideas any time. Each idea will be taken into consideration.

The advantage of not having the “traditional experience” is that I will bring a “new” experience where all the ITTF family will have a voice and will contribute in giving me the new style experience needed by a modern and progressive President.

 

2. RESPECTING EXISTING AGREEMENTS

Over the past few months, the ITTF has announced many financial agreements with different groups and even a continent. Some may worry about the future fulfilment of those agreements by another team leading the ITTF.

I confirm that, as President, I would respect all signed agreements between the ITTF and any group. It is customary for a new administration to respect the engagements made by the previous administration as long as they are legal and according to the budget. This means that I would also respect all marketing agreements, development funding agreements and any other special contributions to be made by the ITTF that are in accordance with the ITTF’s procedures and budget protocol.

 

3. RISK ASSESSMENT AND AUDIT

In the first month of my Presidency I would arrange, together with the Vice President of Finance, for a Risk Assessment analysis by the ITTF Auditors as well as a semi-annual Audit to give me a clear picture of the ITTF’s finances in mid-year and to protect the ITTF against any risks or overspending.

 

4. INDEPENDENCE AND DECISION MAKING

Amongst the qualities required by the President of a federation as important as the ITTF, independence and decision-making ability are, in my view, crucial.

Lucidity is another characteristic and you can be sure that I have my eyes and ears wide open. I announced in my programme that I am not running “against” anyone, I am running “for” the ITTF and “for” table tennis. I want to confirm it, and tell you a bit more about me and emphasize how much independence matters to me.

My style is to listen to all and then make a decision. I listen to the advice and opinions of officials from small and large associations. I listen to experienced officials in the ITTF and I also listen to players and coaches. I have received support and encouragement from the highest government officials in my country. I welcome advice and opinions from members of the Olympic movement. This is my style, I listen to all. I don’t have to agree or disagree, I listen and analyse, then I make my own “independent” decision. Do not ever hesitate to give me your advice and opinions!

As a player, I surrounded myself with experts. I listened to their advice, but I always made my own decisions and took full responsibility for my decisions. I do the same thing as Technical Director of my Federation.

As a leader of a large organization like the ITTF, I am open to listening to all inside and outside the ITTF, then I will analyse and involve the Vice Presidents in taking any operational decision. Because this is another trait of a President: working with a team spirit, but shouldering the responsibilities as a captain.

 

5. FAIRNESS AND ETHICS

In 1989, I received the Fair Play Award from UNESCO. Fair play has always been and remains a core value for me. As a candidate for the position of ITTF President, I have made a very fair play campaign, never criticizing any candidate, while always exposing my ideas and my project for the ITTF and for Table Tennis.

But I have to admit that I have observed some surprising scenarios. I don’t want to make a list of them, but instead a promise. If I am elected President, I will assure all candidates to the next election the same treatment on the ITTF website, even if I believe it should not be the place for a campaign. I will also propose that the ITTF finance the trip for 1 delegate of every Member Association to the AGM the year of the election, in an equal and transparent way. The target will be that the 226 Member Associations receive a visa for at least 1 delegate to participate at the AGM. I will not sign any agreements with Continents or Member Associations during the 2-month period before the election. I will make sure that all candidates attending ITTF events have access to the VIP zone and are invited to the Welcome party.

Fairness and ethics are amongst the most important things on the sports field. It is asked of the athletes to do so: officials themselves have to set the example.

It generates respect of and for everyone.

 

6. BELGIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE SUPPORT

From the very first day of my candidacy for the position of ITTF President, I was honored to receive the full support of my National Olympic Committee. That is notably the place where I made my first press conference to announce my candidacy.

At the end of March, they even sent an individual letter to all National Olympic Committees. I am very pleased to send it directly to you.

 

COIB Letter

 

7. Motivation and Fighting Spirit

During my long career, there has always been a double dynamic: motivation and fighting spirit. Motivation is what allows you to train hard for hours years round and accept unavoidable sacrifices to reach the top level.
My fighting spirit propelled me notably to win 25 Single’s National Champion titles and also to climb the steps up to the 1 st  position of the World Ranking and stay there for 17 months.

Since my first days in the Table Tennis family, I have never given up. From this point of view, I haven’t changed.  Gradually, my career as a player has given way to a sports leader career, but I have retained this personality trait. That is the reason why I wanted, over these past few months, to travel the World to meet the Table Tennis stakeholders that you all are. I did it at my own expense. I paid my numerous flights. I did it because I felt it was essential to go and meet the people from all continents to understand their difficulties and needs; it was crucial because I am motivated and more than ever invigorated by this fighting spirit for the ITTF.

If you trust me, I will channel this motivation and fighting spirit into the service of the ITTF and Table Tennis.

 

8. Government Support

From day one, I have been really honored to count on the full support of my Government. Some days after the announcement of my candidacy, the Belgian Prime Minister invited me to his official residence.

Today, I am very pleased to send you this new sign of support from the Government of Belgium.

 

Belgian-Governement-Support

 

9. Thank you

Dear Friends,

With just a few days left until the election of the next ITTF President, I absolutely would like to thank you all. Wherever you are on this planet, whatever the form of contact we have had, direct, by phone, or by mail: THANK YOU for your patience and attention while reading all of my communications. 

Humbly, I have tried to inform you about my vision for Table Tennis and for the ITTF.

I would also like to express my gratitude and pride after receiving endorsements and support from the Africa Executive Committee, the large majority of Latin American continent and its president Juan Vila and vice-president candidates Afshin Badiee, Henri Djombo, Patrick Gillmann, Igor Levitin and Nestor Tenca. Of course, I cannot forget the candidates representing the great table tennis nations of China, Japan and Sweden.

Finally, I really would like to thank all those who believe in my project and may  put their trust in me when the time comes, on the 31st of May in Düsseldorf.

In the two next and last bulletins, I will inform you about 11 actions I intend to take in the first 11 months of my presidency.

In order to get the full involvement of the ITTF member associations regarding the future of the ITTF, I plan to initiate an « ITTF Quadrennial Congress, »  hosted and fully funded by the ITTF every four years. If I am elected, I plan to organize the first one before the end of 2017. At this congress we will focus together on the ITTF’s future, including the World Championships, and how to make the ITTF and Table Tennis one of the top sports and IFs in the world.

Once again, I want to make it clear: I am not running against anyone, I am running for Table Tennis and for the ITTF.

 

“11 in 11”

If elected president of the ITTF, then within the first 11 months of my presidency I will start working on the following 11 priorities and actions:

  1. I will personally meet with the leadership of the Olympic Movement, including as a priority the President of the IOC to explain the goals and strategies of the ITTF and seek the IOC’s support.
     
  2. I will personally meet with the presidents of each Continental Federation to listen to their advice and to better understand their needs for their continent.
     
  3. After the risk assessment analysis and the financial audit, we will double the Development budget starting on 1 January 2018, to better spread our sport worldwide and to have the necessary human and financial resources to reach our development objectives.
     
  4. I will personally meet with the equipment manufacturers to discuss the issue of the quality of balls and to search ways to make TT equipment affordable to all level of players.
     
  5. We will announce a “Common Goal”, related to my motto “Table Tennis First, ITTF First” and propose specific actions for all stakeholders that will unify the ITTF and the table tennis community behind one clear purpose.
     
  6. We will develop a communication strategy to establish a new “two-way” on-going dialogue between the ITTF’s EC with all our stakeholders, especially the Board of Directors members, the Continental Federations, and of course the National Associations. We will also work on continuing to improve the ITTF Website to make it a pleasant and friendly place for all table tennis lovers.
     
  7. We will consult and survey all member National Associations regarding the future of the World Table Tennis Championships. The “owners” of the WTTC, the National Associations, must make this decision.
     
  8. We will hire a “Director of Planning and Implementation” to put the ITTF on track to become one of the top federations in the world, and table tennis one of the top sports in the world.
     
  9. We will select ITTF Role Models from each continent to promote our sport all over the world.
     
  10. We will start the process to integrate the Veterans events within the ITTF’s competition system by hiring a “Veterans Programme Consultant” and establish a “TT Sport for All” working group to integrate sport-for- all activities in the ITTF programme.
     
  11. We will review and start to restructure our Marketing strategies with the goal of introducing to our events large multi-national companies from around the world.
     

If elected president of the ITTF, I pledge to fulfil the above commitments as a priority in the first 11 months of my presidency.

 

On 31 May 2017, vote for me and be part of a new experience,

the “Table Tennis First and ITTF First” movement.


Let's do it together! .be