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Rule Changes from the FIE Congress

12/11/2013, 11:45am CST
By Nicole Jomantas

On Nov. 29, the 100th Congress of the Federation Internationale d’Escrime (FIE) was held in Paris France. The agenda of each Congress is determined partially by the current year of the Olympic Quadrennial; last year’s agenda focused on electing a new group of commission members. This year’s agenda focused on the rules of fencing. In total, there were 75 proposed rules changes, some with wide-ranging implications.

Although the FIE has not released the official decisions of the proposals yet, we expect further details to be posted in the next two weeks. We are fortunate that the chair of the Fencing Officials Commission, Sam Cheris, was present at the Congress. Based on his notes, the unofficial results of the proposals can be found below. The text of the proposals can be found here

The most important thing to remember is that, at the present time, these are decisions that only affect international fencing.

No rules changes have yet taken effect for USA Fencing competitions. The process for changing USA Fencing rules first starts once FIE makes public the English translation of their rules. After this, the FOC will review the international rules changes and make recommendations to the USA Fencing Board of Directors about whether or not the United States should adopt them, including recommended implementation dates. The board will then consider them at an upcoming meeting.

Some highlights of rules changes at the international level – pending official announcement by the FIE. All changes are effective Jan. 1, 2014, except where noted:

  • In foil, beats on the lower third of the blade will now be considered parries by the opponent.
  • Absence of blade contact will no longer be a criterion for non-combativity.
  • There will be no penalty for simple corps a corps for foil and saber, but the referee still calls Halt.
  • Visor masks will be forbidden in all weapons (Effective March 1, 2014).
  • Insulting a referee will be an immediate Group 4 offense (Black card).
  • Foils and epees must be made of maraging steel for FIE competitions based on SEMI Commission safety concerns. 

We will post more information as it becomes available and will post updates as the board of USA Fencing considers adopting these rules for domestic competitions.

Click here to view a full list of rule change proposals and additional information. 

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