Ethics Complaints


The following procedure is in place for issuing a complaint against a referee who is believed to be in breach of the Referee Code of Ethics:

  1. Any person (e.g. FOC member, athlete, coach, spectator, referee, bout committee member, etc.) may write a complaint.
  2. The complaint must be sent to the chair of the FOC Ethics Committee, or to the FOC Assigner at the event.
  3. The complaint must contain the referee’s name, the event at which the alleged breach occurred, the date of the event, and the names and contact information of any witnesses to this alleged breach.
  4. If the complaint is made at an event, the FOC assigner(s) may remove the referee from the remainder of the NAC where the alleged breach occurred if the assigner feels that a prima facie case has been made by the complainant.. This may require the referee to forfeit per diem and honorarium. It may also require the referee to reimburse USA Fencing for hotel and transportation expenses.

Once the complaint is received by the chair of the Ethics committee, the following procedure will be followed:

  1. The chair of the Ethics Committee and the chair of the FOC will determine, within ten (10) business days, (unanimous agreement) whether or not any suspension (in addition to the one given by the Assigner at the event) is warranted while the investigation is ongoing. This suspension could include (but is not limited to) suspension from international events and NACs.
  2. The chair of the Ethics Committee will seek the statements of the witnesses.
  3. The chair of the Ethics Committee will contact the accused referee including a copy of the complaint.
    1. The contact will include a request for a response from the referee that should include witnesses (including contact information) to support the referee. In addition to a written statement, the referee may request a hearing if the referee feels that an oral presentation would be beneficial.
      1. Should the referee fail to respond to the request by the chair within the time designated by the chair (not less than 10 days), that referee will be suspended from all NACs and National Championships until the Ethics Committee makes its ruling for failure to cooperate.
  4. The chair of the Ethics committee will contact all of the witnesses for statements.
  5. All statements will be forwarded to the members of the Ethics Committee.
  6. The Ethics committee will determine whether a breach of ethics has occurred on the basis of the evidence gathered.
    1. If no breach has occurred, the referee and the author of the complaint will be informed of the committee’s decision.
    2. If the committee rules there was a breach of ethics, the committee will also determine the repercussions.
      1. The referee and author of the complaint will be informed of the committee’s decision.
      2. If other parties (e.g. Domestic Assignments Committee, International Assignments Committee, USA Fencing office, et al) need to be informed, the chair of the Ethics Committee will see to it that all are properly informed.
    3. The referee may appeal the decision of the Ethics Committee by writing this appeal to the chair of the FOC.
      1. The chair will distribute the information the Ethics Committee gathered along with the committee’s decision to all members of the FOC.
      2. The FOC will then make a final decision.