Although mask designs have been legal for some time, their popularity started to skyrocket with the introduction of Team USA’s mask with the United States flag on it. Up until recently though, in USA Fencing competitions, the legality of a mask design was left solely to Head Referee at an individual fencing competition. This made it challenging for fencers to know ahead of time if their mask would be allowed. In an effort to help fencers prepare for tournaments, this rule was recently changed. As can be found in the Board of Directors meeting minutes from September 2013 (page 6), the new rule is:
Masks may feature colored designs, on condition that they are approved by the Fencing Officials Commission at least 30 days before being used for the first time in an official USA Fencing competition OR at the discretion of the head referee. Fencers must submit pictures that clearly show the entirety of the design. Accepted designs will be posted on the Fencing Officials Commission website.
The hope is to provide an alternative method of ensuring that mask designs will be legal prior to a tournament. This rule will be incorporated into the next version of the rulebook. Approved designs can be found posted on our website and fencers interested in having their mask designs approved should email pictures of their mask to firstname.lastname@example.org.