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2019-2020 NAC Pre-Season Updates

10/07/2019, 8:00pm CDT
By Devin Donnelly

Some updates on the state of the rulebook and mask procedures in advance of the 2019-2020 season.

USA Fencing referees and esteemed guest colleagues,

Welcome to the 2019-2020 season! As the season gets underway, I'd like to touch on a few points in the lead up to the first National tournament of the year in Kansas City:

  • Rulebook updates; no substantive changes
  • New procedures regarding incidents of masks becoming dislodged during fencing

Rules Updates

Firstly, a number of cosmetic and organization updates were made to the FIE and, consequently, the US rulebook in after the most recent FIE Congress. However, there are no substantive changes to rules or rules applications for the start of the season. As always, ensure that you are familiar with the latest USA Fencing rulebook and particularly the latest explanatory document for t.124, "unwillingness to fight," from the FIE.

The U2F rule has not changed since last season, and we expect to hold to our the most recent interpretation from last season's NACs and Championships. As always, please feel to reach out with any questions or clarifications.

New procedures regarding mask incidents

Beginning this season, US referees have been asked to institute a new procedure for incidents where, during a bout we're officiating, a fencer's mask becomes dislodged and leaves that fencer's head during live action.

If a fencer's mask comes off during an action:

  1. Stop the bout.
  2. Immediately call a technician from the armory to perform an inspection of the affected mask.
  3. Hold all subsequent fencing until the technician has documented information about the mask and fencing situation; please assist the technician in gathering this information.

We have been asked to follow this procedure in order to help USA Fencing collect additional data about the frequency and circumstances surrounding dislodged mask incidents.

In addition, please continue to bear in mind that it is the duty of the referee to monitor mask fit over the course of a bout, as you would any other piece of equipment (shoelaces, glove and jacket fastenings, etc). Some guidelines to keep in mind when monitoring mask fit include:

  • Ensure the mask tongue is bent at 90-degree angle and contacting the back of the athlete’s head

  • Ensure the safety strap is tight against the athlete’s head

  • Ensure the bib is laying flat against the athlete’s chest

Masks that do not and cannot be made to fit properly are to be considered non-conforming equipment, and dealt with as you would any other piece of non-conforming equipment.

Questions and concerns?

As always, feel free to contact the Referees' Commission Vice Chair of Rules and Exams with any rules questions, concerns, or requests for clarification:

Good luck out there!

Devin Donnelly, VC Rules and Exams

Tag(s): Rules Blog