22/03/2021- Covid 19

Outdoor Organised Fencing Guidelines (England) 29th March

In light of the recently updated advice from Sport England, BF updates advice for affiliated clubs, coaches and members when running and participating in Organised Outdoor Fencing in England from 29th March.

This guidance sets out the second part of the Step 1 of the government’s roadmap to ease lockdown restrictions. The summary of the full roadmap (in relation to fencing) can be found here.

Step 1 – 29th March – allows for Organised Outdoor Sport/Activity to take place.

An Organised Outdoor Fencing activity is one that is delivered by a BF affiliated club or registered coach, delivered to BF members, under BF policies and procedures (including those set out below).

Where an Organised Outdoor Fencing activity is being run for members by affiliated clubs and coaches:

  • The sparring ‘bubbles’ can be increased to up to 15, time/hit limits must remain in place (see below). If coaches are giving 1:1 lessons or if any official (coach, welfare officer) is sparring, they count as part of the bubble. Please remember the best practice ratio for club fencing of 12 children : 1 coach.
  • For all activities other than sparring/lessons, participants must remain at least 2m apart. The distance between neighbouring sparring pairs must be 2m at all times.
  • The total number of people within an outdoor 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 (and the sparring bubble limit of 15 comes into effect). Where multiple sparring bubbles exist, these bubbles must be able to operate independently as two or more separate organised groups.
  • Face coverings and/or mask liners are no longer required when fencing outside although participants may choose to continue using these.
  • Fleching within sparring and lessons is permitted subject to a safety risk assessment to be performed by the BF registered coach to ensure that there is sufficient surrounding space around each sparring pair for the move to be executed safely.  Corps a corps and any actions that result in body contact are not permitted.
  • No spectators. This does not apply to carers for disabled people, or adults needed to supervise under-18s in a safeguarding role. Where it is necessary for them to be present,  supervising adults should not mix with others from outside their household or support bubble


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)
  • Time/Hit Limits between individual pairs still exists. Up to 2 x 15 hits OR 5 x 5 hits, up to a maximum of 20mins of fencing time and 30 mins of elapsed time.  Extra care must be taken to ensure that after each hit, fencers immediately return to a position where they are 2m or more apart. 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.


Other updates from 29th March:

  • 1:1 training/coaching can now take place in private gardens. We recommend that coaches continue to follow the adaptations (eg reducing lesson length and close quarter/fleching) in the BF guidelines to minimise risk.
  • Fencing competitions will not be able to take place.
  • Travel should be minimised, however, travel for sport and exercise is permitted

As a reminder, permission to use metal swords outside must be granted by the landowner/landlord/local authority/outdoor operator.

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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