16/10/2020- Articles

2019-20 Annual Report Series – Events

BF continues a series of articles based on the full 2019-20 Annual Report with a look at the BF portfolio of events.

Following on from the BF AGM on October 10th, we continue the series of articles taken from the full 2019-20 Annual Report (found here). In this article, we look at events:

The executive team continue to work towards the BF Board objective to reverse the trend of increasing financial losses made by the events programme.

In accordance with the Board recommendations following the 2018-19 results, the Leon Paul FIE Men’s Foil Satellite was dropped from the portfolio after attempts to run it separately from the Eden Cup (as required by the FIE calendar) proved unsustainable.

The GLL Camden International EFC Cadet Sabre Tournament and associated FIE Men’s Sabre Satellite was run by a consortium of clubs, supported by local patrons and sponsors.

Therefore, the reduced Events Portfolio for the 2019-20 financial year consisted of:

National Events

  • 2019 Senior British Championships (April)
  • 2019 British Youth Championships (May)
  • 2019 GB Cup (June)
  • 2019 Cadet & Junior British Championships (September)
  • 2020 British School Team Championships (March)

International Tournaments:

  • 2019 FIE Junior Men’s and Women’s Foil World Cup – The Eden Cup
  • 2019 EFC U23 Men’s and Women’s Foil – The London Cup

Overall, income from events for the period 2019-20 remained comparable with the previous financial year, with an income of £151,291 compared to £151,832 in 2018-19. Expenditure reduced, at £134,031 (excluding staff costs) for the year, compared to £156,656. Therefore, a surplus of £17,260 is recorded (excluding staff costs). This is a significant improvement on the 2018-19 year where a small deficit (excluding staff costs) was recorded.

The reduction in expenditure can be partly attributed to the removal of the EFC Cadet Sabre, FIE Senior Men’s Sabre Satellite and Leon Paul Cup (FIE Senior Men’s Foil Satellite) from the events portfolio, which in previous years have made a loss.

BF is exploring further opportunities to making additional savings from 2020-21 onwards, such as holding the GB Cup alongside other event weekends. By combining events in larger venues, the intention is to create a better participant and supporter experience for all and reduce associated costs with separate event weekends such as accommodation and travel. Our environmental impact is also reduced through a reduction in travel for Staff, Volunteers and Referees.

The combined Eden Cup and EFC Senior/U23 weekend lost slightly more than the budgeted amount of £10K excluding staff costs. Participant numbers overall rose by 30% to 630 from 486 in 2018 and 41% of the entries over the weekend were from women (from 40% in 2018-19).

At National competitions, participant levels remained consistent, with a total of 2,414 entries across all National competitions in 2019-20 compared to 2,555 in 2018-19 (which included two British School Team Championships due to rescheduling of the event in 2018 due to adverse weather).

Senior National saw a decrease of 35 (8%), GB Cup of 16 (13%) and School Teams of 38 (23%) which was offset by increases in British Youth Championships (+4% from 1085 to 1129) and the Cadet and Junior Nationals (+2% from 652 to 666).

Following feedback from the previous year, piste numbers at the British School Team Championships 2020 were reduced and an accreditation system introduced to improve the field of play experience for fencers. Although reduced piste numbers meant a cap on entry numbers the event received its most positive feedback to date

“It was a pleasure to be at the school teams event…amazing organisation on the day… a smooth running machine. Friendly, efficient. And good at keeping the fencing area safe…all in all hugely impressed with what was probably the best day of School Team Championships that I have ever attended.”

The Senior National Championships saw a small decline in entries, in comparison to the 2018 event (-8.35%). BF is looking to increase participation at the Senior Nationals in future years, with the introduction of the ‘B’ Nationals to future Senior National competitions. Fencers eliminated from the poule stage of the Senior Nationals will be promoted to the B Tableau and compete for the British B Championships on the same day, which will also carry senior ranking points.

As March 2020 progressed it became clear that the next financial year would start very differently to the previous one due to the impact of Covid-19. Senior Nationals, BYC’s and GB Cup were all postponed. 2020-21 events will be inevitably and significantly impacted and the BF team will focus efforts on supporting the wider resumption of competitive fencing under government guidance.

BF would like to thank the dedicated team of volunteers who work tirelessly and give up their time to make events happen throughout the year. Referees, Armourers and Event Support staff play a vital role in ensuring the competitions are run to a high, international standard. Without this team of dedicated individuals, BF would not be able to deliver the events that we do.

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


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