24/07/2020- Latest News

Indoor Fencing in England Restarts on 25th July

BF is delighted to announce that with some adaptations, indoor recreational fencing can restart from 25th July in England. 

This lifting of restrictions applies to indoor fencing activity from 25th July in England delivered by affiliated clubs and registered coaches to members of British Fencing. This is made possible by a series of measures (outlined below and in full here) which have been reviewed by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

These include the steps that should be taken by fencers, clubs, officials, volunteers, coaches, and spectators before, during and after all recreational fencing activity as well as specific advice and adaptations relating to clubs, coaches, lessons and sparring.

It is important to note that adaptations to fencing activity are at all times in addition to the expectations and requirements to follow Government Guidance including that around social distancing, health and hygiene and supporting NHS test and trace.  In particular we would draw attention to the requirement for risk assessments and accurate attendee records to be in place (and retained for a minimum of 21 days) for all groups/sessions.

Fencing specific adaptations include (but are not limited to):

  • Protocols around equipment usage – no sharing of personal equipment, minimising other equipment sharing and disinfecting protocols. (Specific cleaning info here)
  • Equipment adaptations – eg use of fencing mask liners in situations where face coverings under fencing masks are not appropriate.
  • Rule changes – no handshaking or any other type of body contact, certain types of moves no longer permitted to ensure that 2m social distancing is maintained where at all possible: Fleching/running attacks, corps a corps, deliberate close quarter actions and any actions that breach the 1m distancing are not permitted.
  • Group sizes restricted to 6. Multiple groups can train in the same venue, (subject at all times to government and venue guidance on maximum numbers and protocols being in place to avoid/limit interaction between groups.)
  • Restrictions around the length of activity to reduce the total time two people can spend together ‘on piste’ . For example, adapted sparring between two individuals in a group can take place but is limited to 1 x 15 hits or 3 x 5 hits, up to a maximum of 10mins of fencing time and 15mins of elapsed time. (This means, for example, a poule unique of 6 fencers can take place where everyone fences each other once only to 15 hits and each bout takes no longer than 10mins of fencing time and 15mins elapsed time including the breaks).

More details on these and the other measures and adaptations can be found here.

If you have questions arising from these guidelines, please use this form to contact us. If you are reopening next week, please tick the ‘Urgent’ box and we will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.

For clubs that are not planning to re-open immediately there are a number of steps that can be taken now to support restarting. These include:

  • Appoint a Club COVID-19 Officer and register them on the BF Membership platform (see here).
  • Check your club is listed as a BF Club. Clubs that have opted not to be publicly listed should check their club status in the BF membership platform.
  • Ensure that your Coaches are on the BF Coaches Register and up to date with all necessary checks and qualifications.
  • Ensure that your Welfare Officer is on the BF Welfare Officers Register, fully trained and up to date with all necessary checks and qualifications.
  • Update your club risk assessments.
  • Contact your venue to discuss when they are opening, their risk assessment and the requirements they have on any clubs using their facilities. We expect that any club or coach using a facility (that they do not themselves operate) will provide a copy of their risk assessment to the facility manager.
  • Survey your members and volunteers to find out how they feel about returning to fencing and identifying any barriers or opportunities that restarting club fencing will bring,
  • Audit your club kit and review the BF guidance on equipment sharing and disinfecting protocols (see here).
  • Ensure that your club membership records are up to date.
  • Review your member communications channels – being able to send up to date information to your members will be extremely important as part of any restart.
  • Review your system for managing and storing accurate attendance records for at least 21 days. This will be a vital part of how we will support the NHS Test and Trace.

More information and resources to support these activities can be found here.

We will also be announcing further dates for our online community events designed to help and support those clubs as they implement these guidelines.

Please note that the document referred to relates to activities in England – people in  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland must follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.  Notwithstanding the specific rules clubs may wish to undertake some of the activities laid out in the context of current and expected local government guidance.

We will continue to update our COVID-19 advice here.  You can also subscribe to our new weekly summary email featuring the previous week’s latest news and announcements. Sign up here.


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