ITTF issues statement on players' withdrawals at China Open

Updated 2017-06-25 14:21:13 Xinhua

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) issued a statement on three Chinese players forfeiting their matches at the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Platinum China Open on Sunday, saying "all potential sanctions are on the table".

The world governing body of table tennis said in the statement that it is "taking this matter extremely seriously..."

"Right now, all potential sanctions are on the table, and the ITTF will continue its investigation before any decisions are made," it said said in the statement.

The top three players in the world Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin didn't turn up for their round of 16 matches at China Open on Friday.

The ITTF said it had "received a preliminary statement from the (CTTA) and a public apology from the Chinese Table Tennis Team" and waited for "a detailed report from the CTTA and also from the ITTF officials on site outlining in more detail as to why the three players failed to turn up for their round of 16 matches."

Ahead of Friday's competition, the three players and their coaches Qin Zhijian and Ma Lin posted identical messages on their social media accounts saying that they "don't feel like playing" because they missed their former coach Liu Guoliang.

On Tuesday, Grand Slam champion-turned coach Liu was named as vice president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) and was no longer the "chief coach" of the Chinese table tennis team.

According to a reform plan unveiled on Tuesday, the CTTA abolished the positions of "chief coach" and "head coaches" in the Chinese team, and will instead set up two coaching teams for men's and women's players.

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