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PostPosted: 29 Jun 2013, 09:35 
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Cole Ely got this in an Email, posted on mytt here, which I thought was worth posting here as well. I assume it was sent to FIT, although I can't find the details elsewhere.

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On Friday, June 28, 2013, equipment ittf wrote:
Message from the ITTF President to Manufacturers of ITTF Approved Equipment

Dear Friends,

This official message is to update you with regard to the plastic balls to eventually replace the celluloid balls. There are a couple of issues to explain, but in general all is on track and we do not see any problems in using the new plastic balls once they are approved for the established date of 1 July 2014 as planned.

1. Manufacturing

1.1 There is now the possibility of having two types of plastic balls: a) seamless; and b) with seam.

1.2 The seamless balls are being manufactured in a factory in Guangzhou, let's call it "Co.X", according to a new manufacturing process and a new technology with specially designed machines that can produce balls made of plastic composites and without seams. These balls have been tested extensively so far and they are of good quality, except that it is difficult to implement the "veer" test on these balls for lack of a point of reference (the seam). Instead, they will be tested for even distribution of the material all over the sphere of the ball. This is currently the weakness of these balls, the material is not sufficiently evenly distributed all around the sphere resulting in only 30% to 50% of the produced balls passing the ITTF ball tests.

1.3 There is supposedly an agreement in place between Co.X and DHS and DF. The agreement would state that Co.X only manufacturers the balls, while DHS and DF market and sell the balls wholesale. It is also claimed that it is DHS and DF that funded the research for the production of the seamless ball, which is a considerable investment.

1.4 There is now apparently a dispute between Co.X on one side and the other two companies, DHS and DF, on the other side. It would seem that all sides are claiming a breach of contract. This is not ITTF business and must be resolved between the companies. However, this dispute has changed the original plans.

1.5 Now, because of the dispute, DHS and DF have proceeded to produce their own plastic balls, using a different plastic composite material and using the traditional production technology of balls with seams. This is the same as celluloid balls, but using non-celluloid materials.

1.6 The result is that now we will have plastic balls submitted for approval by Co.X (seamless plastic balls) as well as from DHS and DF. Samples of the new "with seam" plastic balls were given out in Paris to players and others for testing and feedback.

1.7 Please note that neither the ITTF nor the manufacturers have any obligation to provide samples to anyone. The plastic balls are legal and have always been legal according to the ITTF rules. As long as the plastic balls pass the ITTF ball tests they can be used, even now, without any change in rules. It is the same procedure as if a new racket covering comes on the market.

1.8 The ITTF will use for ITTF events the plastic balls as of 1 July 2014. Other bodies (national associations, continental federations, leagues, clubs, etc.) can make their own decisions to use plastic or celluloid balls.

1.9 The celluloid balls will remain legal, and in use for those that want to use them, until their supply is depleted and are no longer available from the manufacturers

1.10 Initial sufficient supply of plastic balls will be available, according to the manufacturers, by the beginning of 2014, and full supply should be available by July 2014.

1.11 The strategy by the manufacturers, suppliers and resellers to sell off their stocks of celluloid balls is their own strategy and does not involve the ITTF.

2. Patent

2.1 There are three approved patents that we are aware of (maybe many more) with regard to the plastic balls. These three patents of which we are aware are distinctly different and owned by three different entities and do not affect the production of the plastic balls in any way.

2.2 Co.X owns a patent for the production of the seamless plastic balls using a specific technology and using specific non-celluloid materials. DHS and DF own a different patent for the production of non-celluloid balls with seams and the materials used are different than those used for the seamless balls. Therefore, there is no patent issue between Co. X and DHS and DF.

2.3 There is also a patent owned by two persons, of which one is related to Dr. Kuhn. I can confirm that the materials described in this patent are DIFFERENT than the materials used for the seamless ball (Co.X) and the materials used for the plastic balls with seams (DHS and DF). This is confirmed by all companies currently involved in the production of plastic balls. Therefore THERE IS NO PATENT ISSUE.

2.4 I urge all concerned, especially the distributors, NOT to create an issue where it does NOT exist. Do NOT meet with Dr. Kuhn. It is not necessary. And do NOT pay anything to Dr. Kuhn or his relatives or friends with regard to the patent. This is NOT necessary. The supply of balls from China is not affected by this patent.

2.5 In the unlikely scenario that the patent held by Dr. Kuhn's connections becomes relevant, then the ITTF will immediately step in to solve the problem. Until then, there is NO ISSUE.

I hope that this message is clear and that now we can all concentrate on developing our sport and anticipate top quality plastic balls not only from China but from all over the world.

Sincerely,

Adham Sharara
President

INTERNATIONAL TABLE TENNIS FEDERATION
President's Office
a: 18 Louisa Street, Suite 180, Ottawa, ON Canada K1R 6Y6
t: +1 613 733 2468 | f: +1 613 733 4603

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PostPosted: 30 Jun 2013, 18:57 
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What I like is 1.9, it seems if we choose to keep buying celluloid balls and using them for tournaments then plastic balls never need to be worried about again. Of course he keeps forgetting that we have all realised it's just a scam to get a bigger slower ball.

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PostPosted: 30 Jun 2013, 19:11 
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foam wrote:
What I like is 1.9, it seems if we choose to keep buying celluloid balls and using them for tournaments then plastic balls never need to be worried about again.

But the ITTF has already told the manufacturers some time ago that they are changing over the the plastic balls, so I hear that the manufacturers stopped making them quite some time ago already. So they're going to be hard to find, and possibly more expensive for the ones you do find, as they're no longer produces in the same mass quantities. :( :( :(

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PostPosted: 01 Jul 2013, 02:28 
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haggisv wrote:
foam wrote:
What I like is 1.9, it seems if we choose to keep buying celluloid balls and using them for tournaments then plastic balls never need to be worried about again.

But the ITTF has already told the manufacturers some time ago that they are changing over the the plastic balls, so I hear that the manufacturers stopped making them quite some time ago already. So they're going to be hard to find, and possibly more expensive for the ones you do find, as they're no longer produces in the same mass quantities. :( :( :(


Right. Table tennis is very much a "follow the leader" sport. If the ITTF mandates a plastic ball in ITTF tournaments, then most national associations will follow suit for their top tournaments. Top national players will quite naturally practice with plastic balls, and lesser tournaments and leagues hoping to attract high level players will adopt them as well.

We will probably never know if there was a true shortage on the horizon for celluloid balls because the ITTF seems to have quite effectively created one by adopting the plastic ball (before the ball's performance was ever tested extensively).

The sport will probably survive this change much as it survived the 40mm change. Expect to be playing with faster equipment when the new plastic/poly ball becomes dominant.

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PostPosted: 01 Jul 2013, 06:00 
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What's actually more worrying is that you could turn up at a league match and face:

- The current 40mm ball
- The new seamless poly ball
- The new poly ball but with seams

Surely all three will play differently and I'd rather not face that situation. I think leagues will have to decide on one version and not allow a choice. Otherwise it's going to be a mess!

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PostPosted: 01 Jul 2013, 07:03 
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That's the most concerning problem the issue of potentially coming up against 3 different balls come the change over. I'm just hoping that whatever balls are finallisied on are very close to the current ball.

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PostPosted: 01 Jul 2013, 09:55 
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ChrisBuer wrote:
What's actually more worrying is that you could turn up at a league match and face:

- The current 40mm ball
- The new seamless poly ball
- The new poly ball but with seams

Surely all three will play differently and I'd rather not face that situation. I think leagues will have to decide on one version and not allow a choice. Otherwise it's going to be a mess!


Then we have to prepare a racket that

- plays well with 40 mm ball
- plays well with seamless poly ball
- plays well with poly ball with seams

What a mess :headbang:

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PostPosted: 02 Jul 2013, 00:01 
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apophis wrote:
That's the most concerning problem the issue of potentially coming up against 3 different balls come the change over. I'm just hoping that whatever balls are finallisied on are very close to the current ball.


I assume that most associations will announce standards. I know, for instance, in the U.S. that a tournament must announce the ball they will be using well in advance of the tournament. Frankly, I don't think it will be all that messy. I suspect there will be a wholesale switch to poly balls unless there is the unlikely situation where players get fed up and revolt against the new ball. The only variable you'll likely face is the seamed ball vs. the seamless ball and I suspect the differences will be subtle - though only time will tell on that.

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PostPosted: 02 Jul 2013, 18:29 
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What a joke we have, as of now, from July 1st 2014 we can choose from 3 different balls :swear: :swear: :swear: and there are 3 different patents on the plastic ones... But don't pay Dr Kuhn's family any money for their patent because there is no issue....But it becomes an issue he fix it. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:
Sounds like a fairy story to me :headbang: :headbang: :headbang:

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PostPosted: 03 Jul 2013, 01:21 
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The way I read this is that the ITTF are only bothered about sanctioned ITTF events. In other words, they will state which version of the ball is to be used at these events.

However, if local leagues are left to decide and simply go along the lines of "you can use any ball that is ITTF approved", then we could face a situation with more than one ball in the early stages of this change.

It's probably fair to say that over time, the current 40mm ball will cease being manufactured (possibly?) and market forces will dictate which version of the new poly ball (seamless or seamed) will be the main version used.

However, in the early stages of the change, I think local leagues need to clearly state which balls they will allow for match play. Common sense would be that we continue with the 40mm ball until such time that a clear winner between the seamless and seamed balls has been established.

The ITTF are not helping the matter, but then their track record has never really been to support the local league / grass roots level of the game.

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