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7th December 2017

Update from Steve Higginson, BF Rules Chair and Chair of the FIE Rules Commission

Within the next few days, the updated version of the FIE Rules on the website will now contain the re-structured versions of the Technical and Organisation sections. This means that referees, fencers and coaches will have to spend some time re-orienting themselves – most articles will have changed number and quite a few will have changed place considerably.  The Material section has not yet been done – this will be an ongoing task for some months yet.

At the time of writing the FIE have not yet published the new books but they are expected to be found here:

Please see below a summary of the significant rule changes agreed at Congress. The article numbers below highlighted in yellow are the old ones – the others are the new ones.

Actual Rule changes.

(o.55) o.29: With effect from the 2018/19 season, fencers must have reached their 13th birthday before they may apply for an FIE licence. Therefore fencers unfortunate enough to have a birthday in the New Year will no longer have to wait until they are nearly 14 before fencing in FIE events. 

(t.18.5) t.23.5: The rule against reversing the shoulders at foil has - again - been cancelled.
Application 01.01.18. 

(t.33) t.45: The time allowed for medical treatment for cramp or any other discomfort during a bout is reduced to 5 minutes instead of 10.
Application Season 2018/19. 

(t.35.1) t.47:  From 01.01.18, all official FIE competitions will be refereed only by FIE qualified Referees. This unfortunately means that candidates for refereeing exams will no longer be able to gain experience at Satellite competitions.

(t.45.1 & 2) t.71, t.72 and m.25.7: m.25.7 gives revised specifications for the secondary mask security strap and the t articles relate to the penalties for not using it.  If a fencer comes on the piste ready to fence but has not got the strap properly fixed – yellow card, followed by red if the offence is repeated. The ‘old’ masks will be accepted at Senior and Junior World Cup competitions for the remainder of the 2017/18 season, the ‘new’ masks will be required at the Senior, Junior and Cadet World Championships in the 2017/18 season and all competitions will require them from the beginning of the 2018/19 season.

(t.45.5) t.75.5.a and b: If anybody needs to change a damaged item of clothing which should normally have name and nationality or national logo on it during a competition, they have until the next round to get the printing done, otherwise they will be eliminated unless there is a case of ‘force majeure’ (same rule as currently in force for electric jackets.) The fact that the competition organiser has not made a printing machine available is normally accepted as ‘force majeure’.
Application 01.01.18.

m.25.4.c: gives specifications for the soft layer which must be added to chest protectors at foil. 
Application – from the Junior and Cadet World Championships in Verona 2018 onwards.

m.25.6: Quite specifically, there must not be a hole in the hand of the glove. Although the rule seems to be aimed at any ‘official’ hole created by the manufacturer, it could also be – and probably will be by some referees –  applied to holes caused by wear and tear.
Application 01.01.18.

Note: The BF International Rules app will be updated and released within the next few weeks with the new restructured rules – more information about the app can be found here:

Also, a full list of all the Rules changes will be published on the BF website shortly Rules'.

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