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ITTF issues statement on players' withdrawals at China Open

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-26 10:15

ITTF issues statement on players' withdrawals at China Open

Xu Xin/Fan Zhendong in action during their 2017 ITTF World Platinum China Open men's doubles match in Chengdu, Sichuan province, on June 22, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

CHENGDU, China - 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 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.

ITTF issues statement on players' withdrawals at China Open

Then chief coach of the Chinese table tennis team Liu Guoliang, right, tutors Zhang Jike during the 2017 World Table Tennis Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany, June 2, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

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