2023 EDEN CUP CANCELLED AS EVENT COSTS INCREASE
Due to the continued financial pressures and significant cost rises affecting events, British Fencing will not be running the 2023 Eden Cup, instead focussing limited resources on provision of high quality and accessible National Championship competitions.
The Eden Cup is an FIE Junior Foil World Cup which takes place in London.
Historically the Eden Cup has cost BF more money to run than the income generated. The FIE limits on the entry fees combined with the mandatory FIE delivery standards has meant that the competition has typically lost between £8K & £13K.
In previous years, BF has been able to mitigate further losses by hosting other competitions on the same weekend. For example the FIE Men’s Foil Satellite would run on the same weekend, which allowed spreading of the referee and venue costs over two competitions.
In 2018/19 the FIE competition calendar changes meant it was no longer possible for National Federations to run a Satellite on the same weekend as a Junior World Cup. Therefore BF turned the FIE Satellite competition into a EFC U23 competition (which is a senior open competition for which the EFC awarded U23 ranking points) to run on the same weekend.
In last financial year the Executive Team warned of financial pressures on the BF Events Portfolio as costs continued to rise. These rising costs are resulting in budgetary challenges to all the fencing competitions run by BF.
Moving forwards, the BF events budget cannot sustain the significant level of loss BF incurred by the Eden Cup, which resulted in a deficit for the competition of £25K in 2022. Even without the Eden Cup the 23-24 BF events portfolio will still make an overall loss (forecast of around £10K excluding staff time).
Contributory factors affecting the Eden Cup cost rises include:
- Changes to Competition Format – additional day required with reduced entry income
- Static Entry Fees– limits imposed by FIE (25 euros)
- Increasing Numbers of Competitors – requiring larger venues and compounding the impact of the entry fee limit
- Increasing Venue Costs – increasing by over 160% per day, with an additional day required
- Increasing Accommodation Costs – increasing by 50%
- Increasing Travel Costs – rising at least with inflation
It is therefore with great sadness that British Fencing are unable to host this event in 2023. We will continue to review our competition portfolio and will liaise with the FIE and other stakeholders in relation to future opportunities for BF to host international events within our financial means. Should there be an opportunity to overcome the economic barriers we would look to reinstate the Eden Cup in future years.
- Competition Format – the addition of the Team Event to the Junior World Cup in 2022 necessitated an extra day’s hire of the venue (> £6.6K), and an extra day for all the officials and volunteers (> £4.5K not including referee per diems). The total team entry fees of just over £5K does not cover this.
- Entry Fee Limits – The FIE individual entry fee has remained fixed (for over 10 years) at 25 euros and the team entry fee is 150 euros. The EFC individual entry fee is 40 euros. We can levy GBR entries for both EFC and FIE events to help cover the costs of referee provision (if athletes were travelling abroad to compete they would need to contribute to referee costs). However to make a meaningful difference the size of the levy would create another financial barrier for GBR entries.
- Increasing Numbers of Competitors – whilst normally more competitors would be a welcome situation, the size of the competitions have meant that larger venues are required to ensure each competition can be completed in one day (as it is required to be by the FIE) in a sensible number of hours. This is not just about the competitors but many of the volunteers and officials have to be there as the venue opens each day and are the last to leave (with several additional hours on the last day to de-rig the venue, to avoid an additional day’s fee). The number of entries for the Eden Cup (limited to 25 euros entry fee) have continually risen from 255 in 2017 to 351 in 2022, and the assumption is that these numbers will continue to rise. BF are not permitted under the FIE/EFC rules to limit the size of entry.
- Venue Costs – Venue costs have continued to rise since COVID. Pre-Covid a a 2 day venue hire of the required size came in at just under £5K. For a similar venue this has now increased to £13.2K with a 3 day hire of £19.8K (an increase from around 2.5K to 6.6K per day – 164%). An additional £12.3K of cost.
- Accommodation Costs – Comparatively a hotel room has increased from £80 night to £120 night (twin room costs, a 50% increase). We book on average 25 rooms per night for this size of event – an additional £3k of cost
- Travel Costs – The majority of referees attending the Eden Cup travel from outside London and we rely on bringing FIE qualified referees from outside the UK as well. Whilst there are quotas for countries to provide referees these don’t ensure that there are enough referees to run the event.
- Funding – The running of this competition is not something that our Sport England or UK Sport grants can be used for. There are some circumstances where we can run activities alongside the event which are part of our funded work and therefore can be subsidised (eg volunteer training, international referee exams), but the Eden Cup does not meet the criteria to be funded as part of the UK Sport Major Events portfolio.
- Sponsorship – Over the last 8 years BF has invested significant time and resources in seeking sponsorship. The sponsorship market is hard for many sports and the limited audience and participation figures for the Eden Cup does not currently create an attractive proposition for sponsors who look for a return on investment. BF is not government funded to seek sponsorship and therefore all costs of sponsorship searches including the staff time involved must be covered by other income (eg membership fees).
- Membership Fees – The Eden Cup was first hosted in 2003 and BF membership fees remained static from 2002 to 2016, rather than rising with inflation. Despite an intention in 2016 to continue to increase fees in line with inflation, factors such as Covid and a desire to keep entry level fencing affordable has resulted in membership fees rising at a lower rate than that of inflation. (Note – 40% of membership fees (after finance charges) are passed to the Home Nations to support grass roots participation).
Furthermore, the EFC is now requiring every fencer competing in the EFC U23 competitions to be a member of the EFC. For many of the British fencers entering London Cup it is their only EFC ‘international’ and the additional expense of the EFC licence will be another barrier to BF member participation.
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