Run an Event

Do you want to run a fencing event? Here are the things you need to consider:

What kind of event do you want to run?

Is it a come and try session, an inter-club or an invitation-only event? Is it a recreational event or a county/regional competition (poules plus DE) or is it a ranking, representational or qualification tournament?

The 2021-2022 season sees the introduction of the Automated Ranking System. Organisers of Ranking Events (Cadet and Junior BRCs and Senior Opens) can find information on the Automatic Ranking System and the requirements for organisers here.

(NB Cadet and Junior Ranking events are allocated annually, all senior opens that meet certain criteria are eligible for Senior Ranking points.)

All ranking events are subject to an Ranking Event Levy – more information here.


Do you need an event license?

For all events, unless they are inter-club matches you will need to apply for a BF Event Licence (prices starting at £0!). This is the mechanism by which you inform BF that the event is taking place and by which it appears on the official BF calendar.  Provided you adhere to BF policies and procedures (including ensuring participants have the appropriate level of membership), you and your organising committee with also have public liability insurance. This is often a requirement of hiring a venue.

More information about event licensing can be found here.


What categories of BF membership are needed?

All members of the competition organising team must be members (supporter membership is sufficient). Depending on the type of event participants may need to be members. All traditional fencing competitions require participants to hold compete licences, and recreational events require recreational (or starter) memberships. One-off ‘come and try’ sessions open to members of the public do not require participants to be members.

For events that are not using the BF platform to run events, BF provide an online membership checker to help competition organisers check that participants hold valid memberships, for more information contact [email protected].


Are you going to use an online entry system?

The BF platform has an events functionality, which is available for use for all levels of events. Using this system means things like valid membership are automatically checked, and competition organisers can manage their event through an admin panel. For further information please contact [email protected].

If you are running certain types of ranking tournaments (for example BRCs) you must take entries through the BF event platform which also ensures that participants have the correct level of membership to enter and the BF Ranking Levy is applied. If you are using an alternative types of event entry system you must make sure that you have the necessary GDPR policies and agreements in place to transfer and publish personal data. Unless your event is a come and try event, you must also make sure that all participants are members. There is a tool available which allows organisers to check valid memberships – contact [email protected] for more details.


How early should I publicise my event?

If you are running a ranking event there is a requirement that the event is listed on the BF events system for a minimum period of time – see here for more info.


What about club affiliation?

You need to check that fencers are representing affiliated clubs.  If you are using the membership platform to accept entries this is automatically done – if you are using a different system you should manually check your lists here.


When do you want to run it?

Unless you are running a local recreational event you will probably need to be aware of other competitions in the calendar. Check here. If you are scheduling a major event please contact the BF Calendar Coordinator through [email protected].


Do you know your policies and procedures?

Fencing competitions in the UK run under the auspices of British Fencing must adhere to a variety of policies and procedures. These are put in place by BF as the National Governing Body of the sport to help keep our sport safe and provide an appropriate quality environment that meets the needs of all participants – fencers, coaches and volunteers.


Who is your welfare officer?

You must have a trained welfare officer at all events open to members for the duration of the event. The event welfare officer is not just responsible for the welfare of U18 fencers, but also the welfare of U18 officials and any adults at risk. For a description of the roles and responsibilities of an Event Welfare Officer click here. Ideally your welfare officer should not be undertaking other duties, particularly refereeing and coaching. You will need to display posters at the event so participants know who the welfare officer is and how to contact them. This information should also be sent out to participants (athletes and officials) in advance and you should consider adding this information to a referees briefing. All Safeguarding incidents must be reported to BF after the event using this form here.


What is your First Aid/Medical provision?

Different competitions have different requirements. Depending on the type of competition you are running you may need St John’s Ambulance services. You should investigate whether the venue has a defibrillator and whether trained staff are available to operate it in the case of an emergency. Decisions about level of medical provision must be noted in your risk assessment

All accidents or near misses must be reported to BF via the Accident and Injury form here.

For more information click here.

In the event of a related claim the insurers will expect a copy of the risk log, along with a copy of the complete Accident and Injury form.


Do you know the latest Safety Rules?

Make sure you are up to date with the latest BF safety regulations and if you are not running a weapon control consider what steps you will take to identify unsafe kit or an unsafe environment. All events must operate to the BF safety standards. This includes information on venue layouts, kit requirements for different age groups, and first aid provision requirements.


What kind of environment are you creating for your participants?

How will you communicate expected behaviour to participants and at the venue? Posters are a great eye-catching way to educate people, you can also use barriers and accreditation to control the risks around this.

If you are operating field of play (expected for ranking events) make sure the rules are clear about who can and can’t access this and under what circumstances.

Coaches should be checked on the BF coaching register before being given any accreditation to specific fields of play.

At all compete level (including all ranking) competitions the codes of conduct for fencers, coaches and parents must be clearly displayed.


Have you completed a risk assessment?

Without one your insurance policy will not be valid.  Sometimes this may be undertaken by the venue itself, but it will need to be amended for the competition.

It is most likely you will be responsible for the risk assessment and will need to liaise with the venue on this.  A Risk Assessment may have been undertaken for a previous event at the same venue and it is worth obtaining a copy of this to provide a starting point for your event.

Either way, start your risk assessment early and don’t forget to review it on the morning of the competition (at the venue!) and update it if anything has changed. BF provide a generic Event Risk Assessment Template which can be used as a starting point.


Are you GDPR compliant?

If you are running your event through the BF membership platform and you are only downloading the data you need to put into the competition management software you can be confident that you are GDPR compliant. If you are planning to do something different, you need to make sure you have a Privacy Policy in place and accessible that covers how you will use participant data. You also need to check the Privacy Policies of any entry systems you use and ensure that you can demonstrate that these are GDPR compliant and that you have a record of the informed consent of individuals to process their data which includes passing it to any third party providers you are using.


What about Disciplinary Procedures?

If a disciplinary incident happens at an event the first point of call should be DT or the competition organisers who should in the first instance try and resolve the issue at the event. If that is not possible the incident should be reported to BF.

All Black Cards and Safeguarding incidents must be reported to BF here.


More questions to consider:

Who is your DT?

Are you going to have armourers there?

What are you expected to do with your results?



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