Twenty-eight cities have declared their interest in being the home of the International Table Tennis Federation's new headquarters ©ITTF

Twenty-eight cities have declared interest in being the home of the International Table Tennis Federation's (ITTF) new headquarters, the sport's governing body has said.

The ITTF, which currently has staff in Swiss Olympic capital Lausanne and Singapore, said the candidates so far came from 18 different countries and four continents.

As well as the new headquarters, the chosen city will also host a training centre and a high performance and development base.

Wherever is picked will be the "table tennis capital of the world", the ITTF claim.

Candidate cities today received requests for documentation so they can submit initial bids between now and April 15.

Other cities still have the chance to enter the race, with the strongest bids to be shortlisted in June.

Final proposals will then be made by September 15, with the ITTF hoping to select a city on September 30.

The governing body wants to bring together its workforce in one location and "drive the continued growth of the sport".

"The ITTF is looking for a thriving new hotspot for table tennis players, business professionals, coaches and officials from across the globe to unite in a single location and collectively take table tennis to the next level among the world's leading sports," the governing body said.

"Indeed, the home of table tennis represents far more than office space within a new global headquarters, but also training facilities, a research lab, educational hub, centre for innovation, local community centres and much more."

Thomas Weikert, ITTF President, added: "We have grown tremendously as an organisation since June 2017 and now have over 70 full-time staff members. 

"Our strategy is to centralise the workforce in one location to allow for more efficient operations. 

"What's great is that we have received significant interest from some very big cities."

The ITTF first made the call for interested cities in February.

The governing body has also agreed to change their name to World Table Tennis next year.

"We have adopted a professional approach to our search for a global home of table tennis with the consultation of Deloitte, Withers LLP and Hassell," said ITTF chief executive Steve Dainton. 

"Due to the high level of interest, we are sure that we will end up somewhere great, but we needed to make sure we invested in this with a professional approach to ensure we get the best outcome. 

"This won't just be any old-style headquarters. 

"We want our future property to have plenty of table tennis activity, in contrast to our current home."