On the 14th and 15th of May last month, at a seminar with Master Choi in Naples, Italy, Master Nicholls and I were invited to Westler Germany to attend the German ITF Open. Unfortunately, Master Choi could not attend as he was scheduled to give a seminar in Australia. Mr. Martella and Mr. Vierra were hosting the German-ITF Open and suggested that we also take this opportunity to convene a meeting of our European members to develop a plan for the hosting of future European Championships.

On June 10, 2005, with both Master Nicholls and myself present, the meeting took place and we had an opportunity to discuss future ITF sanctioned events in Europe. Master Nicholls and I were both pleased to see many in attendance including, Belgium, Bulgaria, and the Netherlands. We were also pleased to have with us Master Galaraga who reviewed the status of our competition rules and spoke about the future Umpire courses that will be held throughout the world. As indicated, these courses will be taught by him to selected members in each INO thereby giving those individuals the ability to teach the course in their respective countries to all qualifying members.

We are also pleased to announce that Mr. Martella and Mr. Vierra graciously accepted the challenge and committed to the 2006 European Championship taking place in Wetzlar, Germany. Please watch our web page for announcements regarding the dates and additional information including a link to their site.

It was also decided that a Committee, being composed of the various members in attendance would be created and that all other European INO’s would be invited to participate. A site will be set up on our ITF web page for members to log on and post information. We were also told that several other countries wish to host future European Championships and we requested that all submissions be made to the Secretary-General of the ITF for review by the Tournament Committee. It is our intention to announce where the European Championships will be held for the next three years shortly.

It was a great pleasure to meet and discuss the future of the ITF with other members. I had the opportunity to meet the President of the Bulgaria ITF and the interim President for the Netherlands. I am sure that with their interest and enthusiasm, future European meetings will be very successful and productive. As always, it was also a pleasure to meet with many friends from the U.K, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. For those that could not attend as a result of visa problems and scheduling, your regrets are acknowledged and we will keep you informed of events in Europe. I would ask that you contact Master Nicholls for inclusion in the European Committee.

On a final note, our sincerest gratitude to Mr. Martella and Mr. Vierra for making our short stay in Westler, Germany memorable. Your enthusiasm and selflessness is acknowledged and appreciated.

Michael Tibollo