FIE announces $1 million COVID-19 support plan

FIE announces $1 million COVID-19 support plan

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The International Fencing Federation have announced a CHF1 million COVID-19 support plan ©FIE

The International Fencing Federation (FIE) has unveiled a CHF1 million (£830,000/$1.05 million/€930,000) COVID-19 support plan for the sport.

Intended as a supplement for existing FIE annual aid programmes, the plan provides financial aid for 2020, which would under normal circumstances have been a Summer Olympic year.

It comprises four main elements:

  1. An exceptional CHF4,000 (£3,300/$4,200/€3,700) allocation to all Federations and Confederations, along with cancellation of the annual FIE membership fee for 2020.
  2. Cancellation of payment of all competition organising fees from January-March 2020, as well as the 2020-2021 competition season.
  3. A financial grant providing for participation of one fencer per Federation at the 2021 Junior Zonal Championships.

This was originally allocated for the 2020 Junior and Cadet Fencing World Championships, which were cancelled.

  1. An "exceptional allocation" for referees who were nominated for the 2019-20 competition season.

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The International Fencing Federation have cancelled the annual FIE membership fee for 2020 ©FIE

Alisher Usmanov, FIE President, said: “Our world is challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic, with tremendous health, economic, physical and psychological consequences.

"Fencers and federations have been forced to abruptly cease all activities.

"In the spirit of solidarity and unity, and to help our global fencing family overcome this difficult period, we have decided an unprecedented 2020 support plan of CHF1 million."

He went on: "Throughout its long and glorious history as one of the original Olympic sports, fencing has endured and overcome difficult obstacles.

"Rest assured the FIE is working tirelessly to protect our athletes and entire organisation to ensure future competitions safely take place.

"As fencers, we face the future together, our heads up and our masks on."

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FIE President Alisher Usmanov has been a major financial backer of the sport since his election in 2008 ©Twitter

Usmanov, an Uzbek-born billionaire who succeeded Frenchman René Roch as FIE President during its 2008 Congress in Paris, has shown great generosity to the sport he practised throughout his time in the top job.

In 2018, for example, the FIE was able to report a surplus of CHF2.78 million (£2.3 million/$2.9 million/€2.58 million) thanks to a mammoth CHF16.34 million (£13.56 million/$17.15 million/€15.2 million) in donations from Usmanov.

The FIE’s original 2020 budget foresaw income of CHF21.4 million (£17.8 million/$22.5 million/€19.9 million).

Of this, CHF5 million (£4.15 million/$5.25 million/€4.65 million) was to be donated by Usmanov with CHF15 million (£12.5 million/$15.75 million/€14 million) set to come as a result of fencing’s place on the Olympic programme at Tokyo 2020.

With those Games postponed by a year, that CHF15 million payment will not now materialise, all else being equal, until around September 2021.

By David Owen 

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