17/05/2022- Rules

Epee Modifications – Rules Committee Notice

In the light of an illegally modified epee being reported to BF, referees and competition organisers are being asked by the Rules Committee to be extra vigilant and report any such breaches to BF. All members are reminded of the rules and potential for disciplinary action and suspension from fencing. 

An épée has recently been handed in which had been tampered with to allow the fencer to cheat at will. A switch installed in the wiring had been concealed inside the guard enabling the user to register a touch on the scoring apparatus when he had not actually hit his opponent – shades of the pentathlete Onishenko in the 1976 Olympic Games!

Using such a weapon is clearly blatantly dishonest. Whilst we hope no other such modified weapons exist, this is a wake-up call to all weapon controls and referees to check weapons with care at the start of matches, particularly inside the guard.

Should any referee or weapon control come across such a modified weapon they are to confiscate it and contact BF to allow them to investigate further. The fencer presenting the modified weapon must be immediately excluded from the event according to the FIE rules (see below).

Any fencer tempted to copy-cat this situation is reminded that not only is such behaviour utterly against the ethic of our sport, but that if you are caught the penalty is most likely to be of the most severe type – a black card (two months’ suspension) and disciplinary proceedings that are likely to lead to temporary or permanent suspension from fencing.


Steve Higginson,

Chair, BF Rules Committee


Relevant Rules

t.73.1. If, when a fencer appears on the piste or during a bout, it is established that the equipment used by the fencer:..

f); “..has been altered in any way to allow the recording of hits or the non-functioning of the apparatus at will;

..the Referee must immediately confiscate the
equipment (weapon, bodywire, if necessary conductive jacket, mask, protective under-plastron, breeches, etc.)..

.. the Referee will penalise him as specified for offences of the 4th
group …” (ie a Black Card, and immediate expulsion)

m.5.5.d ) Any fencer or other person who tries to register hits in a way that does not comply with the rules, either with the weapon or by manipulating the scoring device, will be excluded from the competition or from the competition zone and, after identification, will be liable to further penalty.


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