The IBF will certify string machine centres which meet requirements ©IBF

The International Bowling Federation (IBF) has certified string pinspotter technology for use in leagues and tournament play worldwide.

The IBF, recently renamed from World Bowling, says the decision comes after extensive research and consideration.

Centres wishing to use string machines for sport bowling must comply with newly-defined technical requirements.

These requirements are intended to ensure consistency across approved string-machine centres, which will be considered IBF-compliant.

Compliance will also ensure a maximum alignment with centres which use free-fall machines for pinspotting.

The IBF says it fully supports any federation around the world that allows the use of string machines for sport bowling, with the governing body saying it extends memberships to IBF-compliant string centres.

Recognition has been granted to leagues and tournaments which are held in IBF-compliant string centres, as well as bowler averages and scores bowled on string machines.

The IBF believes the decision boosts bowling operators and investors by giving them a choice between both free-fall and string technology.

It is claimed this will make businesses more efficient, profitable and sustainable.

The IBF believe the string machines will help bowling centre operators ©Getty Images
The IBF believe the string machines will help bowling centre operators ©Getty Images

"COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, a significant impact on bowling centres throughout the world," said IBF chief executive Andrew Oram.

"Now more than ever, new technology is needed as a new option and consideration to help centres overcome the financial damage as a result of mandatory shutdowns and ongoing social distancing measures imposed in most countries.

"We could not sit still, desiring instead to help operators and investors with new ways to improve their operations to ensure long term growth and prosperity for the sport.

"As part of honouring our commitment to the United Nations (UN) Sport for Climate Action Framework initiative, this decision was made to ensure a more environmentally and economically sustainable business option for bowling centres worldwide.

"The sport of bowling is not corrupted nor damaged or diminished by the inclusion of approved string centres and string technology as an additional playing field.

"An additional playing field will only make the game and the sport of bowling more engaging, attractive and challenging for bowlers and fans alike."

The IBF has rejected criticism that string machines are "bad for bowling", with the governing body claiming the opposite as the growth of the sport relies on bowling operators and investors.

The IBF says string machines help operators and investors to address challenges which put strain on businesses, including finding technicians for free-fall machines, high pinspotter operational costs and poor machine reliability.

It is claimed the string machines deliver a positive bowling experience for sport and casual bowlers.

Australia, Canada and Britain currently have IBF-certified string-machine centres.

"I would like to congratulate the International Bowling Federation for taking leadership and underlining its commitment to the UN Sport for Climate Action Framework initiative by approving the use of string machines for sports leagues and competitive tournaments globally," said Raffaele Chiulli, Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) President.

"I am delighted to see another member of the GAISF family leading by example and adopting innovative, sustainable technologies.

"I have no doubt that the IBF’s proactivity will lead to even more exciting opportunities for the current and next generation of bowlers around the world."