19/07/2023- Latest News


Following community consultation on Referee Provision at BF Championship Events and implementation at the British Open Championships, further information is now available on the provision for the Cadet and Junior Championships. 

From the consultation period and conversations had with Clubs regarding provision for the British Open which was held in June, we understand that this will affect some clubs who currently feel that they do not have referees to fill their quota at this time. BF will work collaboratively to help provide the required amount of referees to run a successful event.

Clubs impacted by the new quota system (detailed below) are encouraged to contact BF as soon as possible with any queries or issues they may have. BF will work with clubs to:

  • Utilise network links with clubs to share responsibilities and create training pathways
  • Look at alternative methods of contribution to the event (for example, event volunteers)


Referee Provision Information

The Cadet and Junior Championships will follow the same quota as  British Open Championships:

Each Club provides a referee based on the number of Fencers they enter per weapon per day. Men’s and Women’s events are seen as separate weapons.

  • 1-4 fencers   – no referee
  • 5-9 fencers    – 1 referee
  • 10+ fencers  – 2 referees

Example: a club entering four fencers into Men’s Epee and four into Women’s Epee are not required to provide a referee. However, if a club is entering five fencers into Men’s Epee and three into Women’s Epee, the club must provide one referee.

The pilot U14 events also are included within this quota. As with Men’s and Women’s events, U14 events are seen as individual events to the quota.

As this is the first season where this provision is in place, BF wants to work collaboratively with clubs where they must provide referees per their club entries.

The process will work as follows:

  • Clubs are encouraged to contact BF stating their intent to provide a referee following the formula as early as possible by the competition’s closing date. As per the event entry lists, BF will also reach out to clubs when they meet five fencers per weapon.
  • Names of nominated referees must be provided to BF before the 4th September 2023 (as soon as before this date is preferred).
  • Clubs are to cover their own referee’s expenses (travel and accommodation). BF can provide details of the ‘official workforce’ hotel BF uses if clubs would like to book their referee into the same hotel.
  • BF can offer accommodation and subsistence packages to clubs so that their referee can stay at the ‘official workforce hotel’ clubs would then be invoiced for the cost. For the Cadet and Junior event, the cost of this package (Accommodation and Meals) is £70 per night. If you would like to take up this offer, please inform BF of your invoicing details when submitting the name of referee to [email protected]
  • Clubs providing referees will also be offered vouchers for safeguarding training and the opportunity to have a 1-1 session with BF staff exploring support opportunities for their club (e.g. grant application support, welfare training plans, risk assessment reviews, personalised GB League sign-up support).
  • BF is not looking to fine clubs but will fine £250 in the following circumstances:
    • A club does not engage or respond to BFs communications and fails to provide referees.
    • A club agrees to provide support (Referee or other agreed support) following a conversation with BF and then fails to do so (excluding force majeure reasons).

As stated in the proposal, BF will cover the day rates for all referees per the following pay scale at BF Cadet, Junior & Senior Events where the pilot is in place (listed below).

Qualification Level Maximum Day Rate
Domestic Referee: Level 3, Level 2 Qualification £40
International Referee: Active FIE, EFC C Grade Qualification £60


Frequently Asked Questions From Consultation

Q: Is this coming in for all ranking events?

A: At present, this is a pilot which covers the below BF ran portfolio events

  • British Open Championships (excluding GB Cup)
  • Cadet and Junior National Championships
  • British Senior Championships
  • The Cadet and Junior ‘A’ BRCs

Q: My club must provide a referee, but we don’t have any referees, and we cannot afford this pilot?

A: Reach out and talk to us early. There are several alternative options to contribute to the event, for example, event volunteers.  We are also open to discussions about providing more referees or volunteers at one event if there is a particular financial challenge with another.

Q: How will we know if we are required to provide a referee?

A: Clubs are responsible for checking whether they meet the quotas as set above. This can be done by checking the entry lists.

BF will also be keeping record of the entries and club affiliations and where possible, will contact clubs who are due to provide referee(s).

Clubs, who meet the entry quotas, are required to contact BF with referee name(s) by Monday 4th September 2023.

Q: Why is the system of provision being introduced?

A: Over time the requirements to source and cover costs of referees for all British Fencing (BF) run events have become increasingly the responsibility of BF. Expectations have risen to the point whereby participants in the majority of BF-run events expect not to self referee and for referees to be at a certain standard. The cost of this currently needs to be covered by the entry fees of all competitors.

As event costs are rising significantly (for details see here) BF has been exploring other models of referee provision that will better support the development of referees across the wider fencing system and structure and help protect against future significant rise in entry fees for all.

As part of this review we looked at the models used by the EFC, the FIE, and other European nations including France and Germany. All of these use models of either country or club-level referee provision for their competitions. These models in turn encourage referee development across all levels.

Further information on the consultation process can be found here

Q: I am a referee, I would like to referee at this event, but I am not sure yet if I will be needed for my club, what do I do?

If you would like to referee at this event, but aren’t yet sure if you will be needed to referee for your club, please complete the BF referee sign up form, after signing up to referee for BF, if you are approached by your club (or another club) to referee, please contact BF.

If you have any questions, contact [email protected].

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