Women’s Foil World Cup event cancelled by German Fencing Federation as FIE reverses ban on Russian and Belarusian athletes


17th March 2023 – (Dublin) The German fencing federation has cancelled a women’s foil World Cup event following a decision by the sport’s global governing body, the FIE, to reverse its ban on athletes from Russia and Belarus. The ban was initially imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine last February, a move Moscow referred to as a “special military operation”.

At last week’s extraordinary congress, more than 60% of nations voted in favour of allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in FIE events once again. However, the decision has triggered heated discussions, according to Claudia Bokel, the German Federation (DFB) President and team epee silver medallist at the 2004 Olympics.

Bokel stated that the DFB accepts the decision but wants to make it clear that it would have preferred a different outcome. The federation believes that a large number of open implementation questions from the world federation make it impossible to hold the tournament. The DFB’s solidarity remains with the people of Ukraine, who are still suffering from the war of aggression.

The competition was scheduled for May 5-7 in Tauberbischofsheim, with fencing’s qualifying process for the Paris Olympics set to begin in April.

In response to the DFB’s decision, Russian Fencing Federation President Ilgar Mammadov expressed no surprise, stating that other countries would likely follow suit. Mammadov, a double Olympic gold medallist in team foil, refrained from criticising his colleagues, acknowledging that those countries that cannot hold competitions on equal terms would not hold them at all.