GBR GUIDE TO A MAJOR EVENT

This page is intended to give athletes and coaches background information about Major Events which needs to be factored into their season planning and any decision to accept a selection. Each major event will have its own dedicated page that will be created as we know more about each specific event, however this page will help athletes, coaches and parents understand what is expected.

Overview

GBR Major Events are managed squad events. British Fencing (BF) appoint dedicated staff and GBR coaches to organise and attend the event, accommodation will be booked for the squad and there will be a number of additional rules/requirements in place. These are in part reflective of the international federation rules/processes of a Major Championship, and in part reflective of the desire to maximise the development and performance of the GBR athletes, in line with the aims of the public funding that is used to subsidise the attendance of every athlete.

If you are already competing in (or have competed in) Junior World Cups as part of the GBR squad then you will be more familiar with how GBR squads are managed. For U17s these major events can often be their first time away as part of a GBR squad without their parents and this information is provided so their parents and personal coaches can, during the qualification process, prepare their athletes for joining a GBR squad.

 

Administrative Basics

In advance of selection:

  • Check that you have an valid EFC/FIE/IWAS Licence
  • Check you have a valid (full, British) Passport – (it should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date you arrive)
  • Bookmark the event page (both the one on the BF website and the organisers website.
  • Raise any issues or concerns (illness, injuries, disabilities, major life events) as early as possible.

 

After Selection

  • Accept selection and make any payment due by the deadline date (selection is not accepted until payment is made in full)
  • Arrange adequate travel insurance, ensuring it covers competing in an amateur fencing competition abroad.
  • Book travel according to dates (see below)
  • Compete the Travel and Emergency Information form
  • Ensure a valid passport is held (see below for Visa info)
  • Ensure that the fencer (and anyone travelling with them) knows the BF Codes of Conduct and the EFC Code of Conduct and the importance of complying with them.
  • Check all medication in GlobalDRO and take follow up action for any banned medication (see more info below)
  • For parents accompanying U18s – undertake UKAD mandatory courses and Safeguarding for parents.
  • Keep up to date with changing event information – bookmark the BF selection notice for each Cadet EFC your fencer is selected for, and bookmark the web pages for major events.
  • Purchase tracksuit and ensure GBR patches and sponsor logos are in place and compliant (see below).

 

Miscellaneous

  • Provide a medical certificate on request if the fencer has to withdraw at late notice through a medical reason (or pay the relevant fines).

 

Accompanying Staff/Coaches

For all major events there will be

  • A GBR Chef de Mission (also known as the Chef de Delegation). This is the person that the FIE/EFC/IWAS will be in contact with during the event if there are any issues. They also usually have a special type of accreditation that enables them to do their role as the lead representative of British Fencing. Role description
  • Lead GBR Weapon Coaches – There will be at least 1 lead weapon coach appointed for each weapon competing. For the U17/U20 championships we aim to appoint 6 coaches who will work together to support the athletes and coordinate with the personal coaches.
  • Personal Coaches may be accredited (more information below)

In addition, there may be:

  • Athlete Support Staff eg – Physio and Psychologist support

In addition, international federations (EFC/FIE/IWAS) appoint people into roles for major events, and over the years, the skills and experience of British Fencing members have been recognised with major event appointments into:

  • Event Referees
  • Safeguarding Officers
  • Members of DT
  • Medical Delegates
  • SEMI Delegates

The organisers cover these expenses associated with federation appointments and are not passed onto the GBR team.

 

Travel Dates

Travel dates are guided by the destination and provide increased preparation for performance. A travel assessment is conducted prior to selection.

Entry Point.

Athletes competing in Europe are required to arrive at the designated team hotel no later than 14:00, leaving a full day before the competition day.  This allows the fencer to recover from travel-related exhaustion, visit the venue, and complete weapons control. A full day is then available to sort out any kit issues and undertake final preparations before the competition.

If athletes are competing on Saturday, they should check in at the hotel by 14:00 PM on Thursday.

Athletes competing outside of Europe may have to deal with longer flight times and potential time zone differences. Therefore, they are advised to arrive at least two clear days before the competition starts. This means that athletes can arrive in the evening and focus on rest and sleep to aid in their recovery. The first full day should be spent on adapting to the new environment and settling in, and the second full day should be used to sort out any travel issues or missing kit issues and undertake final preparations before the competition.

If athletes are competing on Saturday, they should arrive at the hotel no later than Wednesday evening.

Exit Point

Unless specifically instructed otherwise, fencers are expected to depart on the day after the last day of their event. Fencers should not fly home the day of their event.

BF will book accommodation on the basis of this guidance.

Information on Major Competitions can be found at the GBR Major Events  Zone  

Always check with BF before making bookings.

 

Visas

It’s important to note that visa application processes can vary depending on the country where the event is being held. Be sure to check the event page to get the specific visa requirements.

It is rare for the host country to process applications quickly due to the high volume of athletes, coaches, staff and countries, resulting in strict deadline adherence.

FCO Travel Advice

Athletes (or parents on behalf of minors) are expected to read the UK government advice for the country and carefully check visa requirements. BF will also be monitoring this, but is not responsible (unless we specifically instruct you otherwise) for arranging the necessary visas and travel insurance.

Foreign travel advice – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Travelling Minors

Minors traveling alone.
While minors can travel for the Championships on their own, they would typically need to have the following documents:

  • A completed FIE minor athlete travel form (available from [email protected] ) signed by a legal guardian
  • A letter from the British Fencing stating that the minor is participating in the major event.

Minors Traveling with an Adult
Minors who are traveling with an adult who isn’t their parent or guardian are required to have the following documents:

  • A signed FIE minor athlete travel form (available from [email protected] )
  • Passport copies of parents or legal guardians
  • A signed letter of consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian

Minor Fencers in Groups

The manager or coach of the group should have the following documents:

  • A letter on the group’s official letterhead stating the name of the group, supervising adult, and name of each fencer in the group, along with their address, phone number, date and place of birth, and the name of at least one of the minor’s parents
  • A signed letter of consent from the minor’s parent or legal guardian
  • A signed FIE minor athlete travel form (available from [email protected] )

There may be additional requirements depending on the country being travelled to.

 

Accommodation

Once we know the dates and schedule of the event before the selection process, we try to make hotel bookings that are refundable, if possible. We have observed that if we wait until we receive information about the official hotels, they can be overpriced and have limited availability, particularly in the better hotels. Often, surcharges are included in the official hotel rates.

Accommodation is booked in line with the travel dates highlighted. Please check with BF before making flight bookings.

In some cases there may be flexibility and if you should let us know before selection if you anticipate any problems with this arrival schedule.

Departure is the day after the final event.

Bookings will be made on a twin room basis.

FAQs:

  1. I want to/I want my child to arrive later, can I/my child get a refund for the unwanted nights – If you/your child is sharing with another athlete and/or a booking is non refundable the short answer is ‘no‘.
  2. I want to/I want my child to fly back the evening of the event, can I/my child get a refund on the final night. See question 1. Refunds aside we don’t recommend flying back the same day of the competition. Usually there are very early starts at major championships and for people to be bringing all their luggage to a venue and checking out the morning they are fencing in one of the most important competitions of the season does not enhance performance. When flying back from locations where flights leave in the middle of the night we may make arrangements to facilitate this but we will retain rooms to allow athletes to return after the event and shower/change/pack. Check the individual event page before accepting selection.
  3. I/my child has a disability that needs to be factored in when booking accommodation. Please don’t wait until selection for a major championships to inform us – the sooner you let us know the sooner that we can work with you/your child/your doctor to make reasonable adjustments.
  4. I want to take my child out mid-way through the event to stay/eat/sightsee with me. In normal circumstances this is not possible. We recommend that parents stay on after the event if they want to have a holiday with their child. If parents are concerned that their child will struggle to be part of a squad/group trip they should have that discussion with us as early as possible and definitely before accepting selection.

 

Costs (Types)

Costs will vary per event and are highly dependent on the country and location in country of the event. As a general guide athletes should budget for:

  • Individual Entry Fees:  these are set by the organising committee (not BF) and will sometimes have an additional ‘referees supplement’ (for major events the organising committee is responsible for paying costs of referees).
  • Hotel Costs: Normally BF will based on a twin room – depending on the location we recommend budgeting around £80-£100 for half board, £50-£75 B&B.
  • Subsistence:  Food etc
  • Staff (Chef de Mission ) Contribution
  • Admin Fee – usually around £30pp which is a contribution to the organising costs and finance fees,
  • Transfer fees – from airport to the hotel and from hotel to the venue. Sometimes these are included in the hotel costs.

 

Subsidies

Subsidies will vary depending on the funding/sponsorship available to BF.

These will be used to subsidise costs which are shared out equally throughout the team, eg

  • Chef de Missions costs
  • Athlete Support Staff costs
  • Team entry fees
  • GBR Coaches.

 

Official Tracksuits

Athletes that qualify for a major event (U17/U20/U23/Senior) are required to wear the GBR Championship tracksuit.

The first time an athlete is selected for a major event they may (depending on the funding/sponsorship situation) get a voucher to purchase the  GBR Championship tracksuit.

More information about which tracksuit you need, vouchers and how to order additional kit here. 

As a reminder in accordance with the FIE rules the Official National Tracksuit must be worn in full on podiums. (No club tracksuits, cycling shorts, leggings etc)

Patches/Logos & Sponsorship

It is an athlete’s responsibility to ensure their kit has the correct logos/patches and their equipment meets FIE standards before travelling.

There are FIE rules about what sponsorship logos appear where and these change and vary by weapon. They are found in the FIE Publicity Rules.

These include:

  • A fencer may only enter into an individual advertising contract or receive payment relating to advertising if this is done with the agreement of his national federation, in accordance with the arrangements laid down in Chapter III, below.
  • National Tracksuit – The logo of the sponsorship partner of the federation or chosen for the weapon concerned may furthermore be affixed horizontally on the front right hand side of the tracksuit. The surface area of this logo may not exceed 50 cm2.
  • BF (as the National Federation) has the right to place a sponsorship logo on an athlete’s fencing kit.

When BF find sponsorship (either from organisations or individuals) this will not result in an athlete getting cash. What it often does is reduce costs, thus subsidising participation either at a domestic level (eg cheaper venues, equipment which allows BF to keep the cost of domestic camps and competitions down) or it might allow us to subsidise entry fees or for GBR coaches to travel to attend major events.

Currently as part of the terms of the Leon Paul sponsorship arrangement, all athletes competing are required to wear a Leon Paul logo.

For more information read the GBR logos and patches instructions here.

 

Social Media

Athletes who are selected for major championships are encouraged to use the hashtag #GBRFencing on social posts.

Athletes, parents and coaches are encouraged to share their journey and experiences of major competitions. All social media content relating to this competition falls under the BF Code of Conduct. Please remember to ensure all images of fencing, including warming up and coaching reflect best practices in regards to conduct and safety.

Depending on the country that the event is taking place in we might recommend athletes undertake a ‘digital detox’ before travelling which includes removing content from their social media and devices that they would not be proud to show their parents!

Please note that BF support our athletes right to respectful free speech but not all countries respect this right. This means that we will try to explain the consequences of saying (or doing) certain things in certain countries or in certain situations and also explain the limitation of what BF can do in the event of an issue. There is also a consideration of the impact on the rest of the team (and the staff/volunteers) when choosing to step outside the boundaries of what countries might consider acceptable behaviour – both online and in person.

 

Personal Coach Accreditation & Authorisation

There will normally be a process through which personal coaches are expected to apply for accreditation.

If a personal coach wishes to travel with an athlete to a major championships the expectation is that they will have informed BF early in the season and will have all the required mandatory training and minimum coaching standards in place well before any accreditation process starts for the major championships.

Parents who are looking for personal coaches to attend GBR selection competitions and major events should be liaising with the coaches early on in the season so that the coaches can make the necessary plans early and ensure they are meeting standards.

We expect to see these coaches at GBR Pathway (ADP) camps and expect them to work collaboratively with other GBR coaches.

ALL coaches must abide by the relevant BF policies including GBR-Coaches-Policy-v1.6.pdf (britishfencing.com)

and http://britishfencing.com/uploads/files/coaches_code_of_conduct.pdf.

More information – GBR Major Events – Requirements for Personal Coaches

Standards include:

  • being up to date on the coach register
  • having met the qualification standard for selection
  • having completed the UKAD Anti-Doping course and uploaded the certificate to Sport 80
  • holding a valid FIE Licence.
  • consistently demonstrating suitable coaching behaviours and are not currently being investigated
  • having an up-to-date Coach Health Check – Personal Development Plan

Where there are more coaches wishing to travel than there are accreditations available for, priority will be give to athletes based on performance – e.g. the fencers targeting medals, meeting qualification standards etc.

 

Discipline and Behaviour

By accepting selection to represent GBR at any European and World Championships athletes (and their parents/coaches have already agreed to the British Fencing Codes of Conduct. We expect athletes to act responsibly and sensibly and understand that we are one collective team and respect and support for their fellow team members is expected and reasonable.

Part of the reason that BF expect parents to accompany U17s to the U17/Cadet circuit events is so they can support their children in learning how to behave and supporting them as they learn mechanisms that work for them in coping with expected downtime and anxiety which will only increase at major events.

Every member of a GBR major championships squad is being supported by public funding and is expected to behave in a way that recognises the responsibilities that this brings. Funding to compete (whether from public or private sources) is not an entitlement and we owe it to everyone that contributes to our participation to act as professionals and role models for our sport.

Youth events are alcohol-free for the entire duration of the stay and any athlete consuming alcohol should expect to serve a ban in accordance with the published sanctions. Parents and Personal Coaches attending events are expected to support athletes and are respectfully requested to refrain from consuming alcohol if they are in the company of athletes, and under no circumstances should purchase alcohol for members of the team.

Any breach of the BF Code of Conduct may result in fines equivalent to any athlete subsidy paid by BF. Athlete subsidies include the costs of the coaches and staff (volunteer and executive team).

 

Anti-Doping

There will normally be testing at all major championships event including U17/Cadet events.

U18s can and will be tested.

Athletes are solely responsible for any banned substance they use, attempt to use, or that is found in their system, regardless of how it got there and whether or not they had an intention to cheat. Athletes must:

There are BF mandatory training requirements for all GBR athletes, parents/supporters and coaches. Please ensure you have met the relevant Athlete, Coach, Parent/Supporter Training mandatory requirements. 

Parents attending events must not provide their children with any medication without first checking in with the Chef de Mission and ensuring that the medication is not a banned substance. If a child tests positive having taken medicine given to them by their parents the child will face the sanctions!

 

Safeguarding

There will normally be international federation (FIE/EFC/IWAS) Safeguarding Officers at the event and the FIE/IWAS Safeguarding policy will be in place for all participants.

BF welfare policies and codes of conduct apply to athletes, coaches, parents and supporters associated with the GBR team.

For FIE World Championships there will also be mandatory training (which includes specific training on the FIE safeguarding policy) for all those selected and those that intend to accompany them.

More details here.

 

Further Information and Contacting BF

If you cannot find the information you need on the page dedicated to the particular event you can email in questions to us. Specific questions about the major events can be sent to [email protected]

However, it is worth bearing in mind that we are a very small team (to keep costs to our members down) so we will not necessarily be able to reply to all emails personally, especially if we have already published the answers on the dedicated event pages.

 

Packing Advice

It is strongly recommended that fencers carry the basic (not easily borrowed or replaced) elements of their fencing clothing in their hand luggage and consider wearing their fencing shoes to travel in. The purpose of this is to mitigate the impact of any missing luggage.

23kg will be enough for your fencing bag, providing you pack your fencing kit in your carry on case.

It is recommended that you take your top bags as these are sometimes allowed in field of play (fencing bags are typically not permitted in field of play)

Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Do not take liquids or gels in your hand luggage. (100mls or under in a transparent bottle is OK).
  • Do not take tool kit items in your hand luggage.
  • Do put your mask, jacket, plastron, breeches, glove, socks, and a spare handle (if you have one) in your hand luggage in case any fencing bags get lost.  (This means that all you need to borrow to fence is a sword if the worst happens.)
  • Do travel in comfortable clothing,  wearing trainers to travel in.
  • Do not wear any GBR marked clothing whilst travelling.
  • Do pack any phone batteries in your hand luggage
  • Do ensure that ALL your electronic equipment (phone, etc) is fully charged, and can be shown to be working. If it isn’t, it may be confiscated at security.

 

More Information:

International Fencing Travel Checklist 

 

Supporters and Parents

Parents and supporters are very welcome to come along and cheer their child on, however the major events are squad based events where British athletes are expected to be part of a team and for young athletes to adapt and learn about what it takes to perform. We do not expect ‘first timers’ to be producing personal bests, but we are expecting them engage with the experience, learn and develop for the future.  Staff are there to support and guide the athletes which includes encouraging them to prepare, eat, stay hydrate, operate their rest and recovery protocols etc etc and we respectfully ask parents to allow the staff to do their jobs.

We know that some parents and supporters see major event selection as an opportunity to have a holiday (often as a ‘reward’ for what can be a stressful and expensive time during qualification), but it is important to understand that the staff, coaches and athletes are primarily focussed on performance outcomes and development goals – holidays can happen after the event!  Athletes should not be put in a position where they have to look after or worry about family members for the event (whether siblings, parents or grandparents) – we strongly recommend that family members have experience in unaccompanied international travel and are used to attending international fencing tournaments and understand what to expect.

Every event will have it’s rules (set by the organisers) around accreditation, access, ticketing, use of transport, weapon control etc. When parents/supporters try and get around or debate these rules with organisers/officials/volunteers this often creates issues for the GBR staff and the reputation of the whole GBR team.

Unless the individual event page provided by BF below specifically says otherwise:

  1. Parents/supporters should follow the instructions of the local organisers in respect to access to the venue and where they can watch the fencing from. It may be necessary to buy tickets and stay in certain areas where viewing is not always possible (especially in the early rounds). It is not the responsibility of coaches and staff to arrange for parents to access venues.
  2. Parents/supporters are not allowed to stay in the hotel with the GBR squad nor are they allowed to use the official transport reserved for athletes, coaches etc.
  3. Parents/supporters should not take their child out of the squad for meals/coffees/sight seeing – part of the GBR experience is learning to get on with other members of the squad, supporting other squad members in the venue and learning about what it takes to be a performance athlete.
  4. If athletes need to study then efforts will be made by the staff to support this – please let us know well in advance of travelling.
  5. We strongly recommend that athletes, supported by their coaches/parents plan out what they are doing the days that they are not competing and discuss that plan with the lead weapon coaches prior to travelling.
  6. Under no circumstances should parents/supporters be providing alcohol for any athletes on a youth trip or any minor. Athletes on youth trips caught drinking will face immediate bans even if parents have bought the alcohol.
  7. Under no circumstances should parents/supporters be providing medication to an athlete before or during the competition without seeking authorisation from the Chef de Mission.
  8. Parents/supporters should not be approaching referees, local organisers or representatives of the international federations without having first gone through the Chef de Mission.
  9. Parents/supporters must not interfere with coaching advice and/or shout over coaching from the box/give athletes mixed messages or argue with referees. Remember that children are most likely to hear their parents voices even if they aren’t as loud as the coaches!
  10. The Chef de Mission will be the parents 1st point of contact at the event. Parents/supporters should not be texting coaches and other staff members throughout the event. With up to 48 athletes at the Cadet and Junior events, the staff will have enough to do.
  11. We know that some parents/supporters want to take their child our for sightseeing on their days off from competition but this is not something that we will facilitate as part of a performance major event experience. If there are free days between competitions athletes will be expected to follow rest and recovery protocols – ideally these will have been prepared individually by athletes, with the support of their personal coaches/parents and shared with the lead weapon coach(es) in advance. We also expect athletes to be around (either in the hotel or at the venue) to share in success of others and support each other through disappointments as these are moments that make memories and form bonds for the future.

(NB when we use the term parents/supporters we include all parents, guardians, grandparents and accompanying relatives of any description!)

 

 

 

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