13/05/2021- Covid 19

Organised Fencing Guidelines (England) 17th May

BF publishes updated guidelines for affiliated clubs, coaches and members when running and participating in all Organised Fencing activity in England from 17th May.

In light of recently updated government and Sport England guidance, BF has reviewed and updated it’s  Return to Fencing guidelines – BF Return to Fencing – Fencing Guidelines England Roadmap 17th May v1.0.

We are also hosting a COVID-19 Officer Community Discussion Event this evening (13th May) from 6:30pm. If, as a COVID-19 Officer, you have not registered but would like to attend please e-mail [email protected].

These guidelines set out all the measures and adaptations that members, coaches and affiliated clubs are expected to follow to allow fencing to resume under the Organised Sport definition.

Further official guidance is expected over the next few days but with many clubs already planning to open next week we wanted to release the first version of this document to our community.

An Organised Fencing activity is one that is delivered by a BF affiliated club or registered coach, delivered to BF members, under BF policies, procedures and guidelines.

As the Roadmap progresses and we receive more confirmation and clarity over future steps we will be updating the guidelines. For context, the summary of the full roadmap (in relation to fencing) can be found here.


Summary Fencing activity permitted from the 17th May (full details in the guidance document)

Organised Outdoor Fencing can continue with no group size limits. Spectators are now permitted on public and private land in groups of up to 30 whilst maintaining social distance between households groups.

Organised Indoor Fencing can continue with the following changes applied:

  • U18s and adults can now fence each other.
  • The numbers of people that can get together to fence in an affiliated club setting will no longer be determined by a ‘bubble’ size. Instead a particular indoor space will be subject to a capacity cap.
        • This means that every person in a space counts – spectators, coaches, fencers, welfare and covid officers. Every person must have at a minimum of 100 sq ft (9.29 sq m) within the area they are occupying.
        • As well as the venue restrictions, the total number of people within a fencing activity space is limited by the requirement to ensure that all participants can safely stay 2m apart, except when fencing, at which point sparring pairs must be 2m apart from any neighbouring sparring pairs at all times.
  • Car sharing is now permitted for travel to and from organised sport please see the government’s guide for safer travel information here.
  • Licensed indoor competitions will be permitted. Please see our published BF Indoor Fencing Competition Protocols.



Face Coverings/Mask Liners

  • Outdoor activity – Face coverings and/or mask liners are not required.
  • Indoor activity – face coverings are not required whilst fencing although participants may choose to continue using these.


Fencing Specific Adaptations

  • For all sparring activity, time/hit limits must remain in place
        • Adapted sparring between two individuals within in a club session can take place up to a ’30 hit total’ = eg 2 x 15 hits OR 6 x 5 hits, up to a maximum of 20mins of fencing time and 30 mins of elapsed time. When it is not possible to count hits (e.g. adapted pairs training), the appropriate fencing/elapsed time must be set by the coach and in no cases exceed 20mins/30mins respectively.
        • In BF licensed competitions this is increased to a ‘40 hit total’ allowing two individuals to meet each other (as an example) 2 x 5 hits and 2 x 15 hits – 2 rounds of poules, DE with Repecharge. For more information please see the separately published BF Indoor Fencing Competition Protocols.
  • Fleching and close quarter moves within sparring and lessons is permitted subject to a safety/competency risk assessment to be performed by the BF registered coach to ensure that there is sufficient surrounding space and competency levels for the move to be executed safely, with no body contact whilst maintaining 2m distancing from any other sparring pairs and immediately returning/passing to 2m distance after performing the move. The coach is responsible for risk assessing this and in conjunction with the COVID-19 Officer agreeing and noting any further mitigation actions (e.g. reduced sparring/lesson time, no fleching) on the club risk assessment.
  • Corps a corps and any actions that result in body contact are not permitted.
  • No physical contact should be made between participants (handshaking, high fives etc). The handshaking rule is suspended. Fencers should replace the end of bout handshake with a salute observing 2m social distancing.
  • Footwork/warm-up exercises must respect 2m social distancing.



As a reminder all other requirements (as published here) remain in place including:

  • COVID Officer and Risk Assessment must be in place
  • Retention of information required to support Test and Trace.
  • Hygiene measures remain in place (individual and equipment protocols)


More information can be found here – Frequently asked questions on the national coronavirus restrictions | Sport England


If you have any queries regarding this and other announcements please contact us using this form. Many of the queries we receive are answered in our guidance and resources here so we strongly recommend reading this in advance of contacting us.


BF 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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