The EFC has held a number of referee initiatives over the past three months ©CEF

The European Fencing Confederation (EFC) has concluded its first phase of its virtual referee seminar initiative, receiving positive feedback from those who attended.

This project was led by EFC vice-president Nikolay Mateev and EFC secretary-general Jack Slupski, who attended all the seminars.

Both are now looking to further develop the project in 2021.

"The pandemic has made 2020 a very difficult year for sports including fencing," said Slupski.

"Everyone has had to find ways to make the most of the situation.

"By embracing technology, we were willing to support our referees at a time when competitive fencing has not been possible.

"The number of delegates attending each and every seminar is evidence of its success.

"The feedback has been tremendous.

"We could not have done this without the support of the world class referees in Europe."

The fencing seminars look to improve the quality of refereeing in the sport ©Getty Images
The fencing seminars look to improve the quality of refereeing in the sport ©Getty Images

In total the EFC hosted 18 seminars covering approximately 40 hours of theoretical and practical training, with these sessions being attended by 125 referees.

The first seminar was held in late September.

The latest seminar was the third one dedicated to the development of female officials with the EFC seeing 44 women go through the training over the past week. 

This seminar looked at improving the quality and consistency of referees whilst preparing the trainee referees for their International Fencing Federation (FIE) exams.

President of the FIE's Refereeing Commission, Mohamed El Motawakel of Egypt, attended the final seminar of 2020, thanking the organisers before the start of the session.

"Thank you very much to the EFC for the invitation to attend this seminar, especially to my colleagues Nikolay and Jacek," said El Motawakel.

"The EFC has always supported the development of referees.

"Thank you also to all the delegates.

"I wish you good luck, and importantly I hope to see you all on the piste soon."

Other guests at the event included FIE secretary-general Emmanuel Katsiadakis and the sport and technical director Evgeny Tsukhlo.