The FIE decided a lot of things at its congress in Dubai november 25th, 2017. A 35-page summary of those decisions was put together, and the remainder of this blog post is a series of my comments on those decisions. I am commenting on many, but not all of the changes. I recommend all people involved in fencing to look up the summary for themselves and read it in detail. This is the first part, covering the 14 first pages of the summary.


  1. General decisions. The document starts with a list of reports to the FIE congress that were approved, reports whose non-approval would have been quite surprising. Nothing notheworthy there. With the most recent addition of Angola, FIE now has at least 129 member federations. It was also noted that the big restructuring of the rules was approved, more on that later.
  2. Rule text improvements. For three articles – dealing with candidacies to FIE bodies, refereeing commission, and gender equalities in councils – the rules have been somewhat reworded. These rewordings do not change the general content of what the rules are meant to say, they just make the language clearer and, in one case, remove a limitation that the orginial rule writers had put into the rules text without noticing so. I like this a lot! There are, sadly, several places in the FIE rules where the wording is not perfectly clear – or clear, but just meaning something somewhat different than the rule writers wanted to convey. If all of us who are members of FIE federations and have more than the usual ability to find such language imperfections would comb over the texts as written, then we would hopefully arrive at the stage where the FIE rules text are perfect someday.
  3. Rules governing how commission meetings are held. It is clarified that commissions can meet via telephone and video conference. However, that is not allowed when there is to be voting by secret ballot. I have three comments on this. Firstly: It is good that we can use all the possibities that technological advances give us. Secondly: There are technological solutions to the problem of secret ballot via teleconference. Thirdly: Why should the members of a commission vote by secret ballot?
  4. Black cards in international competitions. An entire article, 7.2.11, dealing with the procedures following the hand-out of a black card during an international competition is rescinded in its entirety. In the summary, it is not made explicitly clear whether this was intended to be so. No reworded article is mentioned in the summary. I would have preferred if the summary would in fact point out that, yes, the rule is rescinded in its entirety.
  5. Poule composition rules. The ”snake” system for creating poules which are are similar in overall strength, as far as is possible, is shown with an example and not just mentioned as it was before. It is also mentioned in detail how the procedure shall be for separating fencers by nationality in the poule stage. It is also mentioned that this procedure might not work. My suggestion: do not give the DT any more work, they have enough to do as it is. Let the rankings decide the poules, and if that leads to two or more fencers from the same country in a poule, let it be. If one is afraid of collusion, then one could simply specify that fencers from the same country shall not fence against each other in the poule stage, and modify the competition rules to deal with the consequences of that. I will write a blog post on just that problem later on.
  6. Score sheet notation. The use of the letter D to designate losers on the score sheet in cases of possible ambiguity will be abolished in its entirety. I am not so sure that this is a good idea. Excess information is often what gives away that there was some sore of miswriting along the way. Think of it as a parity bit.
  7. Referees at Veteran World Championships. National teams to the Vet Worlds do not have to bring FIE referees anymore, but this change does not apply to junior and satellite competitions. Why set the vets apart?

Well, that is enough for now. I will comment upon the rest of the summary in a following blog post soon.