The 2019 FIE Congress is fast approaching! This year’s event will be held November 30 in Lausanne , Switzerland.

This year, like in years past, the public can get a glimpse into what proposals are on the docket. The proposal document can be found here for a complete look. Below is a recap of the more consequential potential rules changes for the average fencer.

Proposal 3: Set strip widths to 1.5 meters.

The current strip width is only required to be between 1.5 and 2 meters wide. This rule change would solidify the width to exactly 1.5 meters. The reasoning being consistency of sizing, reduction of costs, and helping tournaments and clubs to be more space efficient. If adopted, this rule would come into enforcement on January 1, 2021.

Proposal 5: Clarification of injuries

This proposal adds some clarifying language around injuries in the rulebook. The exact wording of the rule is not agreed upon but the overarching concept is to specify that injuries incurred should be sports related and not pre-existing. There are clarifying sections on cramps, asthma, and a few other specific situations.

Proposal 9: Non-combativity

A number of tweaks to the wording of the rule, but a few things are clarified explicitly, including that if both fencers receive a P-Black simultaneously, the fencer with the highest score wins, or in the case of a tie, the fencer with the highest initial event seeding would win.

Proposal 10: Maraging steel sabers

Maraging steel blades are already required for foil and epee at the highest level of competition. If this rule change is approved, saber would also require maraging steel blades starting in the 2020-2021 season.

Proposal 11: Two holes in epee sockets

Epee sockets either have no holes for wires, or one hole for both wires. This rules proposal would require for epee sockets to have two holes, one for each wire, and for the holes to be used.

Bonus: Urgent Decision – Body cord transparent connectors

Per a recently released Urgent Decision document, body cords will now require that their connectors be made of some sort of transparent material. It will be required in some specific upcoming events and then rolled out to all competitions in the 2020-2021 season. It appears that this rules change is being made due to an incident of unknown cause and intent (see: Commission report p86). This resulted in a proof of concept that showed cheating in this way is theoretically possible, and subsequently an emergency rules change was made.

Its currently unclear how US Fencing will adopt this rule change, as it would require many people to purchase new body cords or replace their connectors with something transparent.