The BF Fair Play Code

As more and more people are experiencing the sport of fencing BF are committed to providing a great participant experience for all fencers, whether they win or lose.

The Fair Play Code was originally designed with input and feedback from young fencers, however much of the content within the Code should be considered as best practice for all fencing events.

Stay Safe – barriers and taped off areas are there to help with managing athletes, coaches and supporters and to keep everyone safe. Respect the purpose for which they are being used and follow instructions with regards to access.

Respect the Rules – Coaching must not take place during or between hits. Tactical coaching is only allowed before the match or during the minute break. Tactical coaching at other times during the match (even as the fencer is walking back to the en-guard line between points)  is against the FIE rules and most importantly takes away valuable learning opportunities for the fencers. This is the coach’s responsibility, just as much as it is the referee’s.

Respect the Referee – Respect the referees decision, keep your thoughts inside your head.

Respect the Opposition – Cheer between hits and not while fencing is taking place. Acknowledge the effort and performance of both sides. Be gracious in victory and defeat.

Respect our Sport – Set an example. Abide by the rules and respect the referees, officials, other coaches and opposition fencers.

Be a Role Model – in behaviour and language and don’t forget to say ‘THANK YOU!’


With regards to U14 events there are some additional guidance with regards to our expectations within the code:

  1. No aggressive shouting (either positive or negative in content – often fencers only hear the sounds, not the words!) from coaches/parents/supporters either to their own fencers or directed against competitors.
  2. Coaches and parents have a duty to role model good behaviour at all times – it is not appropriate to demonstrate a ‘win at all cost’ mentality, and whether a fight is won or lost, or mistakes are made (fencers or referees!) fencers should always have your positive support, and referees should always be treated with respect.
  3. Adults (coaches and parents) are responsible for how they make BOTH fencers in a match feel. Before, during and after the match. That includes considering whether it is appropriate to take advantage of situations where the opposition is not supported by anyone.



This poster provides the basic guidelines for everyone supporting young athletes.  Competition Organisers can download the file using the link below, Please note that the file is large as it is set up for print quality:

BF Youth Events Fair Play Poster



These guidelines are expected to be followed by all events for U14 age groups and below and competition organisers are encouraged to display the poster at suitable places in the venue.

Referee briefings are expected to include reminders of the guidelines and the responsibilities of the referees especially in regards to penalties.

BF will be also be expecting supporters to follow these rules at the British Youth Championships and  U17 British Ranking Events. Referees at these events will be reminded to use the rules/penalties appropriately to enforce the Code.

Competition organisers of other fencing events are encouraged to implement the Fair Play Code.


FIE Fencing Rules at competitions for supporters

Parents or coaches who do not adhere to the rules of the sport (for example coaching during or between hits) should expect to be issued with penalties (eg yellow card = warning, black card = expulsion from competition). Any person not on piste disturbing good order (FIE penalty table 3.4) can be issued with a penalty. In the most serious cases, the referee may award a black card immediately (t.168).

Everybody taking part in or present at a fencing competition must remain orderly and must not disturb the smooth running of the competition. During bouts no one is  allowed to  go near the pistes, to give advice to the fencers, to criticise the Referee or the judges, to insult them or  to attempt to influence them in any way.






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