Recent ratifications of proposals were decided by the FIE Congress, including a major change to the rules around Unwillingness to Fight. 

The FIE Congress met on November 25 in Lausanne, Switzerland for their annual decisions regarding proposed rule changes as well as the additional decisions by the Executive Committee. Below is a recap of the consequential rule changes for the average fencer and major decisions of note.

Proposal 2: Expanding Medical/Injury Definitions

This proposal moves to use the term “medical reasons” to be inclusive of the previous definition of “injuries and medical reasons such as cramp, illness, trauma” in addition to other possibilities. This will largely impact medical delegates, fencer replacements, substitutions and withdrawals during competitions, as well as medical breaks during bouts.

Proposal 6: Revising the rules on pool arrangements in cases of absent fencers

The previous language of this rule allowed the tournament organizers to reorganize pools to create pools of 7 or 6 by shifting fencers in the event of absent fencers from the original pool arrangements. The shift now puts the responsibility on the Tournament Director. Additionally, it expands to allow that decision in cases of more than one pool round.

Proposals 13, 15, and 16: Falling

There were several shifts to rules around falling, both in scoring and in penalties. Proposal 13 clarifies that hits made during or after a fall are annulled regardless of it being intentional or accidental. Proposals 15 and 16 together clarify the penalization around falls, specifying that intentional falls to avoid a touch or scoring a hit on a fencer after they have intentionally fallen are both penalties. These are allowing exceptions to cases of accidental falls. 

Proposal 17: Unwillingness to Fight

This proposal was aimed to simplify the process around unwillingness and increase consistency in the application. It removes the second instance of a p-red card altogether. In addition to this, yellow and red p-cards will be awarded simultaneously to both fencers following respective one minute unwillingness to fight decisions. P-black cards will now be awarded on the third instance of a one-minute unwillingness to fight call. In the case of a tie, it will be awarded to the lower-seeded fencer but otherwise, it will be awarded to the fencer with the lower score in the bout, allowing the higher seeded fencer or higher scoring fencer to win in each case.

Likewise, in team events, yellow and red p-cards will be awarded to the teams in the first and second instances of unwillingness to fight. P-black cards will be awarded to the team with the lower seeding in the case of a tie, or the team with the lower score in other cases, allowing the other team to win.

These proposals have been accepted and will go into effect starting in 2023. Full rule modifications can be found here.

Notable Executive Committee Decisions

  • Competition Schedules for World Championships 2023 in Milan, as well as Junior and Cadet World Championships 2023 in Plovdiv were announced
  • Changes to COVID-19 sanitary measures at FIE competitions include: sanitary masks recommended as opposed to compulsory and participants will have to present a negative COVID-19 test to organizers carried out up to 72 hours prior to arrival in the country

The full letter of decisions, as well as the competition schedules for the Senior, Junior and Cadet World Championships 2023 can be found here.