06/10/2020- Articles

2019-20 Annual Report Series – The Committee Reports

BF continues a series of articles based on the full 2019-20 Annual Report with reports from the BF committees including an update from James Honeybone, chair of the Athlete Representatives Panel.

In the run up to the BF AGM on October 10th, we will be publishing a series of articles taken from the full 2019-20 Annual Report (found here).

Here we share updates from the BF committees and Athlete Representatives Panel.

Safety Committee
Chair: Peter Jacobs


The Committee continued to:

  • Advise BF on safety issues.
  • Respond to members’ queries.
  • Remind membership of specific safety related requirements and rules when considered necessary.
  • Monitor and investigate incidents and accidents and assess the risks facing those involved in our sport.

The Committee met on February 6th, 2020, at which time it was decided not to make any changes to the BF Safety Guidelines.

The Committee reviewed the FIE requirement to use the second safety strap on contour masks in the UK (it being compulsory at all FIE competitions since Sep 2018). The committee agreed that making this compulsory for domestic fencing is still not justified based on safety data (incidents etc).

The Committee clarified the issue of use of the blade lengths when fencers of different ages meet, for example, a child aged under 14 in a cadet event fencing a 17-year old – i.e., that under the clothing rules children under 14 ‘should normally’ fence with size 3 blades but 17 year olds fence with size 5s. The Committee’s view was that participants follow the safety standards of the higher, more stringent category (i.e. in this case the full adult requirements) and that the difference in blade length is not a material safety issue.

The Safety Committee would like to take this opportunity to remind all members to fence in a safe way and with equipment and clothes that fully protect themselves and their opponents. In particular, we would remind you again of the danger of badly fitted masks, and the requirement for sabre gloves.

To help ensure that Fencing continues to have one of the best safety records across Olympic sports, the membership is strongly encouraged to report all incidents, accidents and near misses to the Safety Committee. Forms can be found on the BF website: https://www.britishfencing.com/policy-zone/medical/.


Rules Committee
Chair: Steve Higginson

As the last congress before the Olympics, 2019 is a year in which no proposals from National Federations would be considered. Therefore our one meeting in early November was held to consider the proposals made by the FIE Comité Executif and various of the FIE Commissions.

Here is a summary of the main rule changes affecting fencers agreed by the FIE in December 2019:

The Committee would like to draw members attention to the following FIE rule changes:

  • Unwillingness to fence – final modified version of t.124.
  • Sabre Blades – m.2, all sabre blades to be maraging from beginning of 2020-21 season
  • Epees – m.18.3, wires inside épée guard must pass through two holes in the socket block before being connected to the sockets.
  • Gloves (all weapons) – m.25.3, making sure to have any overlapping of zips to be on the correct side and making sure velcro fastening on gloves is upwards.
  • Mask Wires – m.32.5, making sure connections between crocodile clips and mask-wires are correct as far as the soldering is concerned.

As ever, the Committee has also answered a number of requests for information and interpretation from members of BF.

FIE chest protectors are now required for BF Cadet, Junior U23 and Senior BF Ranking competitions.


International Cadet Management Group
Chair: Clare Halsted

This season (Sep 19 to Apr 20) 24 cadet squads competed in nominated European Cadet Circuit events abroad, with Manchester Foil and Camden Sabre again involving many more of our fencers.

Highlights were:

CWF    Carolina Stutchbury Bronze Cadet European Championships; 6th Manchester

Amelie Tsang 8th Manchester

GBR 1  4th Poznan (losing by 1 hit in semi-finals)

CMF     Oliver Strange 7th Budapest

CWE    Isabella Summers 2nd, Patrycja Krzyzaniak 6th, GBR1 1st  GBR2 3rd Copenhagen

Sophie Peat 8th Bratislava

CME    Alec Brooke 5th Edward Scott-Payne 7th Cadet European Championships

Edward Scott-Payne 3rd,  Joseph Walmsley 7th, GBR1  3rd Copenhagen

CWS    Bethany Brierley Gold, Lexie Craze Bronze , GBR1 1st, GBR2 2nd Camden

CMS     Rory McLellan Silver  Samuel Allen 5th   Ian Ho 8th, GBR1 2nd, GBR2 3rd  Camden

The Cadet and Junior World Championships were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Congratulations to the 17 cadets who had qualified for the GBR team but then had to cope with the huge disappointment of not being able to compete.

Grateful thanks to the 3 volunteer squad managers, Ian Williamson  (foil), Maggie Maynard (epee), Margie Mascolino (sabre), the other members of the ICMG and all the BF officials and coaches at the European Championships for supporting our cadets.


BF Honours Committee
Chair: Peter Jacobs

The process for proposing 2019 honours by the membership closed on May 24th 2019, and the Honours Committee met on 12th June. The awards, which are listed in full at the end of this Annual Report, were announced at the 2019 AGM. Proposals for the next round of BF honours, for the 2020 AGM, were solicited from the membership from the beginning of January 2020.


Athlete Representatives Panel
Chair: James Honeybone

It has been an exciting and challenging time for the Athlete Rep Panel, with the pressure (both positive and negative!) of an upcoming Olympic Games on the horizon, although this has obviously been replaced with very different challenges and difficulties in more recent times.

When the Athlete Rep Panel was formed we set out our aims and areas of focus, which have progressed as follows:

Improve communication – Within each weapon, the rep has set up a platform (including Whatsapp groups, email chains, regular face to face meetings) to communicate and distribute information given to us, to the senior and relevant fencers. Whilst also using this platform to allow fencers to voice their opinions and concerns to us, for us to then feed this back to BF.

Review Selection Policies – Each rep has engaged with the fencers from their weapon about both draft selection polices and current selection polices. This has allowed us to feedback concerns regarding selection documents and have a more detailed understanding and input on the documents that so relevant to us, the athletes. Being able to have this open dialogue between the athletes and BF has been invaluable for a deeper understanding of the documents and developing trust in the processes behind them.

Improve Athlete Wellbeing – The life of an athlete can be tough mentally at the best of times, but none more so than in an Olympic Cycle. We have been available as a port of call for any athlete experiencing problems or stresses, and have been able to direct them to the best place to help with these issues. Projects that we have been engaged with relating to this include; TAP (mentoring young fencers on the True Athlete Project), The Big White Wall (a UK Sport led initiative for free mental health support), Muslim Girls Fence, and being actively involved in the Black Lives Matter conversation.

Whilst obviously we are in a time of uncertainty, we as Athlete Reps are excited to continue on in our roles moving towards Tokyo 2020(1), and working to overcome whatever challenges we may face.

The full 2019-20 Annual Report along with the accompanying accounts can be found here.


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