Includes the President and International Relations Report. This article forms part of a series of reports which accompanies the 2022-23 BF Annual Report.
The past international season has been completely dominated by the continuing impact of the conflict in Ukraine, and the challenges stemming from the alignment of the International Fencing Federation (FIE) with the position of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as it develops.
Following on from that are the associated challenges that have faced the European Fencing Confederation (EFC), where some important decisions made by the EFC Executive Committee (Comex) and the EFC Congress were not in line with those taken by the FIE Comex and Congress.
Additional complicating factors are that, at Government level, many nations are out of sync with the policies of the IOC and FIE and will not issue visas to athletes from Russia and Belarus, who would therefore be unable to compete in FIE and EFC events that are planned in those nations.
This complex situation has continued to cause havoc – not only for athletes and officials but also for governing bodies at every level. The competition calendar has been constantly changing at short notice, as the FIE has repeatedly been faced with the requirement to arrange replacement competition hosts in the countries that are able to welcome all athletes.
I would like to express my support to our athletes who continue to face challenges in the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I would also like to express my sympathy to all who are suffering at this time, and I continue to hope for the earliest possible resolution.
As Chair of British Fencing’s International Relations (IR) committee I continued to work closely with Georgina Usher and UK Sport’s IR representatives regarding our overall IR strategy and our long-term succession planning. I am pleased that Pat Aiyenuro, BF Board Member, has been appointed as the third member of our IR Committee, and her IR activities will include both fencing and wheelchair fencing. Georgina, Pat and I have continued to represent British Fencing throughout the period at the FIE and EFC international congresses and at their major championships.
In October 2022 an EFC Extraordinary Congress was held to elect a new President, following the required departure of the previous President – Mr Stanislav Pozdnyakov (RUS). Mr Giorgio Scarso (ITA) was elected as the new President, and a knock-on effect of this was that I was automatically appointed as a member of the EFC Comex (as the ‘first reserve’ from the previous full elections).
Great Britain continues to have strong representation within the FIE, including Janet Huggins (SEMI Commission), Peter Jacobs (Legal Commission), Hilary Philbin (Fair Play Council) and Georgina Usher (President of the Women and Fencing Council). Clare Halsted continues to take the lead on anti-doping.
Continuing EFC post-holders include Tom Cadman (Legal Commission), Mary Cohen (Medical Commission), Peter Huggins (SEMI Commission), Jon Willis (Competitions Commission) and Gillian Aghajan (Veterans Council).
Peter Huggins is also a member of the IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Comex.
As always, thanks are due to all our IR representatives for making their much-appreciated contributions to the world of fencing and its future.
Hilary Philbin, President
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