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2018-2019 Rules Changes

09/07/2018, 6:00pm CDT
By Devin Donnelly

As the 2018-2019 season gets underway, I’d like to highlight some changes to the USA Fencing Rulebook for the upcoming season. These changes reflect decisions made at the most recent FIE Congress, and were adapted to conform to the USA Fencing Rulebook by the tireless efforts of our rule book editor, Bradley Baker.

Taken broadly, these changes consist of:

  • Reduction in injury treatment time from 10 minutes to 5
  • A broad restructuring and renumbering of the rules themselves
  • Miscellaneous re-wordings and clarifications to existing rules with limited substantive impact

In addition, USA Fencing’s Referees’ and SEMI Commissions have collectively decided not to adopt the FIE requirements for mask fitting systems for the 2018-2019 season. If a mask was legal at a NAC event last year, it’s still legal this year.

Reduction in Injury Treatment Time

USA Fencing has adopted a change made at the FIE level reducing the time for the designated sports medicine professional to treat an injury. Treatment time is now 5 minutes. As was previously the case with this rule, the allowed treatment time begins at the time the sports medicine professional confirms the injury, and the break is reserved exclusively for injury treatment (i.e., if treatment has concluded after three minutes, the competitor may not continue to rest for the remaining two).

Restructuring and Renumbering of Rules

The Technical and Operational Rules (Books T and O) have been largely restructured and rearranged. This means that several rules now have new numbers or have changed location in the rulebook.

We’ve made these changes to stay in step with the FIE’s effort to restructure the T and O rulebooks, as detailed in the FIE Congress 2017 report. Please review the changes and familiarize yourself with the new rulebook layout.

Miscellaneous Rewordings and Clarifications

Several technical and operational rules were re-worded and clarified by the FIE Rules Commission and those changes were codified in the international rule book; we have adopted them in the USA Fencing rulebook as well.

These changes largely do not affect the substance of the rule, but may provide some additional guidance or simplicity in application. Some of the more pertinent changes are as follows:

  • t.64: When checking to see if a conductive jacket fully covers the required target area, referees need only perform the test with the fencer in the on-guard position (previously, the test also required the fencer to be standing and in the lunge position).
  • t.75: A fencer may temporarily replace a conductive jacket, printed with their name as required, with an item not so marked in case of damage or failure in the course of fencing. This ability has been expanded to other articles of fencing clothing which require the fencer’s name (epee jackets or fencing pants).
  • t.172: The description of what constitutes a referee’s decision on point of fact has been expanded, pertaining to when a fencer is subject to a penalty for casting doubt on a referee’s decision.

As always, please ensure that you’re familiar with the latest updates to the rule book prior to the season; knowing the rules helps minimize protests, answer questions quickly, and helps to ensure smooth-running competitions for our athletes.

Good luck out there,
Devin Donnelly
On behalf of the Rules Committee and the Referees’ Commission

Tag(s): Rules Blog