The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) passed a resolution that all ITTF events after July 1, 2014, must use non-celluloid plastic balls. This deadline has a few exceptions; for example, the upcoming Youth Olympic Games taking place in Nanjing, China, August 16-28, 2014, is using a celluloid ball.
Celluloid balls continue to be legal for the sport of table tennis. The ITTF continues to approve celluloid balls.
ITTF Sanctioned tournaments only are included in the resolution. This includes the World Championships, the ITTF World Tour, ITTF Junior Circuit, and ITTF sanctioned continental events.
No. Domestic tournaments can choose to use any approved ball, either celluloid or non-celluloid.
Celluloid is a plastic, but it is a flammable material that has restrictive international shipping and storing regulations. Celluloid was once a widely used industrial plastic, but it is no longer a common material. Table tennis balls are one of the last products on the market still made with celluloid.
No. Non-celluloid plastic balls were used in competition decades ago. And for many years, low quality recreational plastic balls have been available. But the new ITTF approved competition grade balls are a big improvement over the “toy” balls, and they also have been improved since the first prototypes were produced over a year ago.