29/05/2020- Covid 19

England – Guidance Update – Sparring & Coaching – Valid from 1st June

01/06/2020 updated with further clarification indicated below. Relevant government guidance links available here.

Following on from yesterday’s government announcement, we have updated our guidance below which will take effect from June 1st 2020.

At the time of writing we are doing our best to interpret the government announcement however please note that this may be subject to change as and when we get further clarification. We will update this notice if we receive any clarification on the guidance for 1st June.

The key changes are based around the advice that from 1 June up to six people can meet outside both in public and private outdoor spaces , provided those from different households stay two metres apart.

Please note that the situation will change in response to official change in policy, PHE guidance etc. and where necessary we will actively seek additional clarification and guidance should it be required.

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1.       Can I spar or take lessons?

No. There is no scope to resume sparring, competition or fencing lessons at this point in time. In any Home Nation.

01/06/2020 To clarify

a. a fencing lesson is where a pupil hits a fencing coach with a sword. A sword is 90cm long and right now our interpretation is that hitting someone with a 90cm blade would typically breach the minimum 2m social distancing guidelines

b. members of the same household (who have access to suitable facilities) can get closer than 2m and can spar subject to a suitable risk assessment including equipment and environment considerations. Where one of them is a coach they can have a fencing lesson subject to suitable risk assessments being in place.


2.       Can I coach U18s outdoors? What about if their parents/guardian are there too? 

Yes, in England, registered BF coaches can now provide coaching (eg fitness/footwork exercises – no fencing lessons) to U18 members in an outdoor space provided they have a parent or guardian present and the total number of people present does not exceed 6 and all members of different households remain 2m apart.

(Equipment must not be shared. Households must provide their own equipment.)

01/06/2020 As for any fencing activity, coaches are responsible for ensuring that they have undertaken a risk assessment and keep copies for their records.

01/06/2020 For all sessions involving U18s there must be two adults present at all times.  Ideally a parent/guardian should be present. If it is necessary for parents to ‘drop-off’ children you will need to agree your procedures in the event of an accident (if you are planning to administer treatment yourself, is your first aid training up to date and have you appropriate levels of PPE?), communicate this to parents, and update your risk assessment accordingly.


3. Can I coach people in a back garden?
(At the time of writing, 29/5 our interpretation is) Yes, provided you stay 2m away.

The government guidance states that as of 1st June 2020, in England, six people will be able to meet in public spaces and private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, if those from different households stay 2m apart.

If metal swords are being used to hit solid objects such as home-made lunging pads best practice is that masks and gloves should be worn.

01/06/2020 As for any fencing activity, coaches are responsible for ensuring that they have undertaken a risk assessment and keep copies for their records.


4. What about insurance, risk assessments, hygiene etc?


  • For coaches to be covered by BF insurance coaches they must be BF registered
  • For individuals to be covered by BF insurance they must be BF members
  • Coaches must complete (and retain) a risk assessment before starting any session, which should include consideration of the environment (particularly surfaces and surrounding space), equipment, hygiene, health and safety.



  • Follow NHS/Public Health advice about physical distancing and hygiene
  • Stay 2 metres away from other people apart from members of your household
  • Maintain hand and cough hygiene
  • Avoid touching with your hands hard surfaces such as gates, walls, fences and park benches
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before leaving home and on returning
  • Use your own equipment – do not share with people outside your household group
  • Clean your equipment eg fencing gloves, swords, water bottles before and after use
  • Avoid using public transport if you can


Health & Safety (Reminders of general good practice!)

  • Ensure that surfaces/footwear/equipment are appropriate to the exercises
  • Do not use metal swords in public places (eg parks) and ensure they are suitably covered (eg in bags) when travelling through public places
  • If metal swords are being used to hit solid objects best practice is for masks and gloves to be worn. A suitably large area should be left clear of people – and consideration should be given to the risk and impact of a blade breaking.


5. Does the coaching guidance supersede social distancing guidance or other government guidance?

No. The guidance for sport is published to help sports operate within the wider government guidance and restrictions already in place for all members of the public.


Please note that the guidance around coaching applies in England – people in  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK, which may not permit any resumption of ‘in person’ coaching activities.

More General Information – Source: BBC:

From Monday in England, you will be able to meet in groups of up to six people from different households outside – either in parks or now also in private gardens – as long as you remain 2m (6ft) apart.

From Friday in Scotland, members of two different households will be allowed to meet up outdoors if you maintain social distancing. Groups cannot be bigger than eight, and people are “strongly recommended” not to meet more than one other household per day.

In Wales, the BBC understands that people from two different households will be able to meet each other outdoors from Monday.

Groups of four to six people who are not in the same household can meet outdoors in Northern Ireland, although outdoor weddings with 10 people present may be allowed from 8 June.





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