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Table Tennis Question about Authorised Rubbers

by Stefan
(United Kingdom)

Table tennis questions


My question is about authorised rubbers on table tennis rackets.

Can a player use any rubbers on his racket or can he only use authorised rubbers?

In a local league match yesterday, one of our opponents was using a rubber that was not on the list of authorised rubbers.

The player using it was adamant that it was legal.
Is he right, or am I right in thinking he can't use it in league matches?


----- Martin's Reply -----



Thanks for your question.

The short answer is - It depends on the rules of the competition you are playing in.

Let me explain...

The basic rules of the game are officially known as "The Laws of Table Tennis" and they are used for all sanctioned table tennis events.

These Laws (commonly called "rules" rather than "Laws") include the following...

A side of the blade used for striking the ball shall be covered with either ordinary pimpled rubber, with pimples outwards having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 2.0mm, or sandwich rubber, with pimples inwards or outwards, having a total thickness including adhesive of not more than 4.0mm.

  • Ordinary pimpled rubber is a single layer of non-cellular rubber, natural or synthetic, with pimples evenly distributed over its surface at a density of not less than 10 per cm2 and not more than 30 per cm2.

  • Sandwich rubber is a single layer of cellular rubber covered with a single outer layer of ordinary pimpled rubber, the thickness of the pimpled rubber not being more than 2.0mm.


The surface of the covering material on a side of the blade, or of a side of the blade if it is left uncovered, shall be matt, bright red on one side and black on the other.

So the basic rules only state that the rubber must not be thicker than 4mm on each side, and that one side must be red and one side must be black.

Therefore, if the competition you are playing in only uses these basic rules, you only have to comply with these requirements.


However...


There are also additional regulations which are applicable to all ITTF International events.

These are the "Regulations for International Competitions" and the "Regulations for World, Olympic and Paralympic Title Competitions".

These regulations are mandatory for ITTF International events and optional for all other events.


Within these regulations it states...

The covering material on a side of the blade used for striking the ball shall be currently authorised by the ITTF and shall be attached to the blade so that the ITTF logo, the ITTF number (when present), the supplier and brand names are clearly visible near the handle.

So if the competition you are playing in states that they use these regulations in addition to the "Laws", you will only be able to use rubbers which are on the list of authorised rubbers.


Your National Association will probably specify that high-level events such as your National Championships, National Leagues or County Championships etc will use all the Regulations, whereas organisers of local tournaments and local leagues can decide whether to use none, some, or all, of the Regulations.

So, depending on the competition you are playing in, different rules will apply.

The basic Laws will always apply, but for higher-level competitions it is likely that some or all of the supplementary Regulations will also apply. And if the Regulations are being used, you can only use rubbers which are on the authorised list.

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