2020 British School Teams – Accreditation FAQs


  1. There are two types of accreditation: Coach Accreditation and Piste Side Helper Accreditation (see section 4 for more information).
  2. You must hold a BF membership to be eligible for both accreditation types. Your membership number will be required when completing the short application form.
  3. Applications for accreditation will close on Sunday 1st March.
  4. During the competition, If you don’t have relevant visible accreditation you will not be permitted access to the Field of Play (FoP) at any time. Once on the FoP, your accreditation must be visible at all times.
  5. The FoP covers the majority of the sports hall. There is a small area on entry into the sports hall where accreditation is not needed and is ideal for meeting fencers coming on and off the FoP only.
  6. At any one time, a team will only be permitted to have one accredited Coach and one accredited Piste Side Helper (per fencer), on the FoP with them. We would encourage Teams to consider whether each fencer requires a Piste Side Helper for the duration of each match. We would also encourage teams to only have Piste Side Helpers if there is no accredited coach available during the match, or an individual needs specific ‘non-coaching’ support.
  7. If you hold a Piste Side Helper Accreditation, it is only transferable between the two named persons on the accreditation.
  8. It is the responsibility of any FoP accredited person to know and understand the rules of the sport, specifically with regards to ‘persons not on the piste’. No coaching is permitted except in the breaks.

1.      What are the Field of Play Restrictions?

  • The FoP covers the majority of the sports hall. There is a small area on entry into the sports hall where accreditation is not needed and is ideal for meeting fencers coming on and off the FoP only.
  • The sports hall is surrounded by a balcony overlooking all pistes, with good viewing coverage of the whole hall. Spectators (those without accreditation) will be able to watch from the balcony.
  • If a fencer requires additional (non-coaching) FoP assistance during the competition, please apply for the Piste Side Helper Accreditation.
  • At any one time, a team will only be permitted to have one accredited Coach and one accredited Piste Side Helper per fencer in the FoP with them during the match.
  • There may be designated areas for these accredited nominated individuals to stand/sit.
  • Once the fencer has finished fencing, these accredited nominated individuals are expected to immediately leave the FoP to allow the next match to commence.
  • Fencers and their accredited nominated individuals who are next on piste cannot wait for their match inside the field of play.

2.      Do I have to have FoP accreditation if I am just coming to the event?

No, there is a spectator seating/viewing area on the balcony for the duration of the competition.

3.      Why have you started introducing FoP accreditation?

FoP accreditation was in part introduced to control and improve the quality of the immediate environment around the fencer when they compete. Over the years an increasing number of parents, coaches etc have wished to support fencers by occupying spaces closer and closer to the piste which can cause safety issues and make refereeing more difficult. Importantly fencers tell us that they do not like this overcrowding and it makes it harder to concentrate.

4.      Who is FoP accreditation for and what is the difference between Coach accreditation and Piste Side Helper accreditation?

There are two types of accreditation:

Coach Accreditation:

  • To be eligible to apply for Coach Accreditation for this event, you must appear on the British Fencing Coach Register and meet the criteria stated.
  • The Register can be found on the BF website, listing those who are ‘compliant’ and ‘non-compliant’: https://www.britishfencing.com/accredited-coaches/
  • If you are not on the Coach Register and you are not able to submit the relevant documentation ahead of the event, we recommend you apply for a Piste Side Helper Accreditation (see below).

Piste Side Helper:

  • The Piste Side Helper Accreditation is for fencers who need support on the FoP for tasks such as clipping in and out and gaining assistance getting on and off the piste.
  • To be eligible for Piste Side Helper Accreditation, you must hold as a minimum, a BF Supporter Membership.
  • For information on how to join BF, please follow the link below: https://www.britishfencing.com/members/membership-info/membership-types/
  • If you wish to apply for Piste Side Helper Accreditation, please note each fencer is allowed one accreditation (to be collected on the day) with up to two named persons.

5.      Can both accredited Piste Side Supporter and accredited coach support a fencer piste-side at the same time?

Taking point 3 into consideration, we would like to minimise the number of people piste-side during the competition. Ideally, we would encourage only the accredited coach to be piste-side and for the Piste Side Helpers to enter the FoP if it is absolutely necessary.

6.      What is the role of the referee with regards to accreditation?

  • Ensure that no-one, other than fencers and event officials are on the FoP.
  • Identify the accredited individuals before the start of each match. If there is a seat, make sure they are sitting in it and it is located in a safe place in relation to the piste/fencers.
  • Where reasonable check that the names and role on the accreditation match the person using it (and the fencer’s name matches in the case of the Piste Side Helper).
  • Matches will not start if unaccredited individuals are on the FoP.
  • Referees reserve the right to confiscate accreditations if they are being used incorrectly.
  • Referees will use verbal warnings, then a yellow card then a black card if people do not do as they ask/interfere with the good order of the piste. Cards will remain in place for the whole competition (both days).

7.      Does FoP Accreditation allow me to access all FoP areas at any time?

No. You are only allowed to access the FoP if your team are fencing. We would also encourage Coaches and Piste Side Helpers to only enter the FoP if it is absolutely critical for the fencer. As stated in point 3 above, fencers have developed resilience to be able to fence without a coach/parent/supporter present piste-side.

Individuals applying for accreditation (Coach and Piste Side Helper) are accepting that they are personally responsible for upholding the FoP rules and should not wait until an official reminds them they are required to leave a FoP.

8.      Why are there different colours on event accreditations?

This is to help officials see from a distance who is on the FoP and in what capacity.

9. Do I need to be a BF member to have FoP accreditation?

Yes. By being a member, we know that you are bound by the policies, codes of conduct and rules of BF and covered by BF insurance.

10. Who can collect my FoP accreditation?

Coaches – the named coach must collect their accreditation in person providing a form of identity, eg credit card, driving licence.

Piste Side Helper – either the named fencer or the listed Piste Side Helpers may collect their accreditation. In the event that the listed Piste Side Helper is collecting the accreditation, they must supply a form of identity, eg credit card, driving license.

11. Where/when do I collect my FoP accreditation?

These will be available for collection next to the check-in desk.

12. How do I know my FoP accreditation request has been received?

The application system generates a Thank you email automatically. If you can’t see it please check your Junk mail.

13. How do I know my FoP accreditation has been granted?

Coaches – If your BF coach registration is up to date you can assume that your request will be granted. We will attempt to contact you directly via email if there is a problem so please check your emails.

Piste Side Helper – If you have a valid membership you can assume that you will be granted accreditation.

We will only contact you if we have a question about your application.

14. Can I apply on the day?

We do not recommend that you apply for accreditations on the day as we cannot guarantee we will be able to process them before you wish to use them.

If we are able to process applications on the day, the same original conditions apply (BF membership, Coaches Register). There will be a charge.

If you wish to be given a Piste Side Helper Accreditation, the fencer must accompany you to the accreditation desk. If you are not the parent or guardian of the athlete and the athlete is a minor, it is your responsibility to have sought the permission of any parent/guardian present to act in this capacity.

15. Can I get a replacement if I lose it?

Yes, although we may not be able to re-issue replacements immediately and there will be a charge (part-refundable if the original is found and returned prior to the last final).

16. Can I give my FoP accreditation to someone else?

Coaches may not give their accreditation to someone else. If an official notices that someone is wearing an accreditation not issued to them the accreditation will be removed immediately. BF reserve the right not to re-issue any FoP accreditation to either the coach or the person who was using their accreditation.

Piste Side Helper – If the accreditation lists more than one Piste Side Helper name, all those named may use the accreditation. Otherwise the same rule applies as per the coaches accreditation.

17. Who is responsible for checking FoP accreditation?

Any event official may request to see FoP accreditation. Referees will check at the start that the person acting in a piste-side capacity has a valid accreditation.

18.  What are the FIE Rules I need to obey?

If you follow the instructions of the referee, sit/stand where you are told, and only coach your fencer during the break you are unlikely to break any rules (and the referee will probably try to give you a friendly warning if you start to look like you might!).

Otherwise, if you want to know details there are a number of rules about ‘disturbing good order’.

t.109, t.110, t.111, t.132.2, t.133, t.137.3/4, t.168



19.  Are there any penalties if I get it wrong?

If Piste Side Helpers or Coaches remain in the FoP despite being asked to leave by an event official, they will have their accreditation removed. Referees and event officials have the right to remove accreditations from people in these instances.

Referees have the ability to use yellow and black cards (note that there is no red card for non-fencers).


Any accredited individual who receives a black card (for any reason) will have their accreditation removed and will be automatically banned for 2 months from attending BF competitions in an accredited capacity.

20.  What happens if an accredited coach needs to move between pistes to support other fencers, can an accredited Piste Side Helper take their place?

Yes, as long as there is only one accredited team Coach and one Piste Side Helper on the FoP at any one time.  Remember, just because someone can take the place of the coach, it does not mean they have to – the wishes and the development needs of the fencer must be the priority in this situation. We encourage Piste Side Helpers to have a conversation in advance with the coaches/fencers to decide what will happen in these scenarios.

21.  Do Piste Side Helpers need separate accreditation for each day of the competition if their fencers are taking part on both days? 

No. You will be asked in the application process to state which days you need an accreditation for and you will be issued with one accreditation valid for the days you have requested.


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