International Refereeing


Once qualified as a level 2 referee, it is worth volunteering to officiate locally in order to build up confidence, gradually building up to larger and National level competitions. Once regularly officiating at the final of local competitions, the progression to officiating to the Last 8’s at regionals and eventually Last 16’s at National competitions will begin when the next referee qualifications (level 3 &4) can be considered. Maintain a thorough log-book for all competitions officiated at and often asking a more established or experienced referee to mentor at competitions will also help progression to Level 3 (or a national level referee). Offering to be an assistant referee from the last 16 of larger competitions will also build confidence and knowledge.

Having achieved a good reputation as a level 3 referee qualification in at least one weapon, will then present the opportunity of refereeing at EFC cadet nominated and non- nominated international competitions and therefore the start of becoming an international referee. The EFC is the tier down from the FIE which is the top level for international refereeing.

Building up experience and knowledge of international refereeing requires a great deal of commitment, especially in terms of the availability for officiating at competitions, both nationally and internationally.

The International Youth Management Group has a selection policy and co-ordinator that allocates those referees that have expressed an interest in this. The current policy is to allocate these competitions to those on the Pathway Programme first.

The EFC will send an observer to all international competitions to help prepare candidates for any forthcoming FIE exams and improve refereeing knowledge. This observer will keep records from having observed referees at both domestic and international EFC competitions and will report back directly to the FIE arbitrage both any concerns and commendations. Thus a referee with a reputation for professionalism and exemplary behaviour at all times will be noticed and promoted to becoming a top referee at this level.

If officiating at any competitions that are likely to have either minors or vulnerable adults present, it is advisable to have a current enhanced DBS and ideally attended a Safeguarding Children and vulnerable adults in Sports course, or at the very least have an awareness of the current British Fencing safeguarding policy found here

The following will also help to improve and increase your refereeing;

  • Watch as many international refereeing video clips as possible – the FIE YOUtube channel is a good source for this.
  • Sign up to badgermille and participate by reviewing and even uploading contentious matches
  • Read, know and understand the rule book
  • Learn the T120 sanctions – the “cheat sheet” for penalties as found on the FIE website.
  • Stay close to the head referee/ arbitrage. 



Applicants for the FIE qualification should have international refereeing experience at Cadet level as well as significant domestic experience and hold a minimum of one Level 3 referee qualification. Those on the referee pathway will be given priority.

It is important to note that once qualified the FIE require a 10 year commitment to refereeing at this level, but enforce retirement the season after your 60th birthday, so those who are within 10 years of this date are less likely to be put forward for their 1st FIE licence.

Candidates for exams will need to commit to being available for 15 international competitions over a 3-year period, although it may be fewer competitions in reality.



The FIE will approach the NGBs for candidates of FIE level referees that fulfil their selection criteria. British Fencing will then announce this publically on the website, in both the latest news and on the Referee page, those suitably qualified can then submit their application. The Selectors will then nominate the requisite number of referees. British Fencing will inform all applicants whether they have been successful prior to announcing it on the website. The successful referees applications will be to submitted to the FIE who will then nominate Referee from this.

International Referee Selection policy -2017/18

International Referee Selection Factors - 2017/18

Selections will be posted on this page once announceed.



British Fencing is only required to send referees to international competitions if there are more than 5 fencers entered. Currently the fencers concerned organise this between themselves and inform head office in order that British Fencing registers the referee for the competition with the FIE. Those fencers will also need to cover the expenses of the referee’s travel, accommodation and meals in line with British Fencing expenses policy. In future it is hoped that the referee weapon coordinator will be able to select the correctly qualified referee from the register via a list of applicants who fulfil the current selection criteria.



Referees for senior European and World Cups and above (ie Olympics) are not selected by British Fencing but directly by the FIE. They are required to hold a FIE A or B qualification in two weapons and be considered to be actively refereeing by the FIE.



British Fencing is committed to driving up the quality of refereeing within the UK.

We currently have a shortage of FIE qualified referees willing to referee for Great Britain and this could ultimately lead to fines or limiting squad numbers.

FIE qualified referees will be paid a small fee for refereeing internationally on behalf of British Fencing. The FIE tendering process explains this in full detail.

In return for this, these referees are expected to officiate at a minimum of 3 domestic competitions (the list of which is within the FIE Referee Agreement below)

British Fencing, would like to remind those that meet the criteria to resubmit the completed forms below prior to the beginning of the new season 2017/18 to:

FIE Referee Agreement - 19.05.2017

Self-Employment Declaration - 19.05.2017

Official Expense Policy - Addendum to BF Expenses Policy v1.1 updated 19.05.2017

For further information on Refereeing and Refereeing courses, please contact