USA Fencing to Give Preference to States With More Inclusive Laws When Selecting Future Host Cities for National Tournaments | Athletic Business

USA Fencing to Give Preference to States With More Inclusive Laws When Selecting Future Host Cities

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Beginning with the 2023-24 national tournament season and beyond, USA Fencing will give preference when selecting host cities for national tournaments to states without laws that harm members of LGBTQ communities as well as states that do not have laws undermining the reproductive health of women.

USA Fencing arrived at this operational decision after a review by our Board of Directors late last month.

Giving priority to more inclusive states is just one way USA Fencing plans to show its ongoing support of women and of individuals who identify as LGBTQ — support that is increasingly essential as states enact legislation that harms these groups.

“We’ve heard from a number of members, including members of the Board and members of our elite athlete community, asking whether continuing to place events in areas with either anti-LGBTQ laws or anti-abortion laws aligns with our core values as an organization,” says Phil Andrews, USA Fencing’s CEO. “After a robust discussion with our Board and our staff team, USA Fencing has moved to give preference to those states without these laws.”

Andrews adds that, “it is also vitally important that we support the health, well-being and safety of women in our membership — as well as our medical professionals who are on-site to give them assistance in their time of need.”

Each year, USA Fencing hosts seven national tournaments — including five North American Cups, one Junior Olympics and our largest tournament, Summer Nationals, a massive 10-day tournament that regularly brings together more than 5,000 fencers from across the country.

Choosing where to hold these events requires balancing multiple factors, most notably our square footage requirements. USA Fencing tournaments are among the largest indoor competitions in the country — a factor that eliminates a wide range of otherwise worthy cities.

We also strive to spread our locations across the country to enhance accessibility for members in every region.

Because of these and other factors, it is simply not feasible to only consider states without harmful legislation. Such a move would reduce the list of possible host cities to just over a dozen — with the possibility that additional states could pass similar laws in the future and further reduce the list.

“Site selection is an extremely complex decision — in fencing more than in perhaps any other sport,” Andrews says. “This commitment acknowledges those realities while making it known across the industry that USA Fencing wants to hold its tournaments in places that respect the rights of our fellow Americans and will choose those cities whenever we can.”

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