Iran to pilot the Emergency Relief Fund

The Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) started in 2019 behind the scenes as a pilot project, the Iran Table Tennis Federation is the first National Association to be supported and now it can be announced.
Nevertheless, the outbreak of Covid-19 made us reallocate this funding during 2020 to different affected local communities but we expect to have the ERF open for applications again in 2021.

In the last 15 years, the ITTF has responded to several natural disasters accompanying the victims with tailored projects including human resources, equipment and financial support. Some of them lasted for years like the action held in Haiti after the tremendous earthquake that hit them in 2010 – just to name a few:

All those actions were done with the heart and with the support from the whole table tennis community. However, in none of those past cases the ITTF was prepared with a plan before it happened. Now having the ITTF Foundation created, which focus on solidarity through table tennis, the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF) has been established last year as a response to disasters with its own budget, protocol and assessment tools to measure the impact and to react accordingly. Available for ITTF’s National Associations, its is to joint relief and disaster response initiatives around the world and providing €20,000 each year from the beginning of 2020.

Donations of Iran Table Tennis Federation to flooded regions.

The ERF started as a pilot project with the Iran Table Tennis Federation asking for support due to the catastrophic floods: In March 2019, flash floods hit 28 provinces in North and Southwest of Iran. This resulted in an urgent humanitarian crisis due to the severity of the impact; 16.3 million people (13%) of the population were affected with 500,000 left homeless and 2 million people requiring humanitarian assistance. An estimated US$ 1 billion damage to agriculture, infrastructure and historical places occurred with the hardest hit provinces being Golestan, Khuzestan, Ilam and Lorestan.

The impact on the table tennis community has been devastating – training halls, offices, equipment (tables, flooring and courts) have been destroyed and players lost their homes. An estimated 72,000 houses were destroyed in Lorestan province alone. Table tennis infrastructure in the provinces of Fars (7 clubs), Kermanshah (14 clubs), Khuzestan (7 clubs), Golestan (14 clubs) and Lorestan (8 clubs) was severely and in some cases completely destroyed, affecting 84,300 people inclusive of club members and professional players. 171 reconstruction projects are ongoing and planned with recovery efforts focused on the most vulnerable, women, youth and people with disabilities.

It turned out to be a very difficult case considering the embargo imposed to Iran that affects its international commerce and financial transactions. But now, we finally could donate equipment worth more than € 10,000.

“This contribution will make our players and community hopeful that they are not alone in times of crisis and they will understand that the ITTF and ITTF Foundation is concerned not only about the sport but also about their humanity. On the other hand, providing the table tennis equipment is very expensive in Iran so this will surely help.” Mehrdad Alighardashi, Iran Table Tennis Federation President

In light of Covid-19, we decided to reallocate the budget of the Fund to our #TableTennisUnited donation campaign, meaning €20,000 are now available to support the table tennis community affected by the crisis expanded from a local level to a global one. In 2021, we plan to reopen the ERF providing assistance to National Association impacted by a natural or human-made disaster.

“We generated the ERF to respond more effectively and based on the needs of the affected people. I think, this is the only project we created while hoping it won’t be used. Unfortunately, disasters happened in the past and especially the climate change is worsening it. This year, we reallocated the budget to the outbreak of Covid-19 or rather our #TableTennisUnited donation campaign and simultaneously expanded it, because this emergency is global.” Leandro Olvech, ITTF Foundation Director

Applications to the Emergency Relief Fund

We will review and critically analyse each proposal through a two-stage application process. Eligibility and level of funding is dependent on three key areas: level of disaster, table tennis community affected, and strength of project proposal. If an applicant is successful in stage 1, we will nominate the maximum funding available and request a detailed project proposal.

The maximum project grant available is €20,000 and can be used in one or more of the following 4 categories:

    • Equipment
    • Financial
    • Human Resources
    • Facility


Support is available to National Associations affiliated to the ITTF. Projects must be completed within 1 year of the implementation date.

Application process

Stage 1: Applicants need to complete the Application Form – Part 1 responding to the below criteria and provide supporting documentation by email to

    • Applicant Details
    • Details of Disaster
    • Type of Support

Stage 2: If successful in stage 1, we will invite the applicant to complete Application Form – Part 2 and address the following criteria:

    • Applicant Details
    • Description of Project
    • Additional Information

Decision process

An internal panel will review and determine the eligibility of each application. We, the ITTF Foundation, will respond in a timely manner. Applicants should not commence work until a decision on an application has been given unless written agreement to do so has been received from us.

While sport and play alone cannot ensure early recovery, development, create peace or solve complex social problems, there is strong evidence of the positive impact of sport related interventions, applied systematically and alongside other humanitarian outputs to not only build resilient and strong communities but to also protect human rights.

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