Chiefs defend selection process
British Fencing chiefs have responded to allegations surrounding the Olympic selection process.
One report claimed 21-year-old Sophie Williams had been nominated for a host nation spot in the sabre despite being lower-ranked than Joanna Hutchison and Chrystall Nicoll.
It also suggested accusations of bias have been made in an appeal against the decision in view of the fact that the national sabre coach Jon Salfield is also her club coach and that her father Jon Williams is "a leading sponsor of the sport".
The team for London 2012 has not been named yet but British Fencing issued a statement.
"British Fencing has never had any financial dealings or financial relationship with Jon Williams other than accepting £40 in membership fees," they said.
"Funding provided by British Fencing to the Truro Fencing Centre (Williams' club) to support the club as a national performance centre and to Jon Salfield as National Sabre Coach comes from UK Sport and our sponsors and, as such, is subject to audit and a high level of scrutiny as one would expect when receiving public funds.
"During the process of selecting fencers for our London 2012 Olympic squad, members of the performance advisory group and independent selection body - both created to provide transparency and fairness in the selection process - were required to declare any conflict of interest and excuse themselves when conflicts occurred.
"In the case of selection of sabre fencers, Jon Salfield presented the relevant information about the candidates, declared his interest and left the room and was not present for the selection - or non selection - of prospective Olympic athletes.
"An independent appeals panel looked into this matter and found there was no evidence of bias due to his involvement, and that numerous checks and balances existed to ensure fairness.
"Our selection process has the full approval, support and participation of the BOA (British Olympic Association) and UK Sport and involves sports professionals from outside of fencing to ensure that our selection procedures are clear and that the athletes are given a fair and transparent process.
"The athletes themselves signed up to this process.
"Actual selection of our athletes for London 2012 is dependent upon approval from the BOA.
"British Fencing will not make any further comments on this matter until the BOA announces the fencers who will compete for Team GB at the London Olympic Games."
Williams is currently ranked 73rd in the world, while Hutchison is 38th, Nicoll 50th and Louise Bond-Williams 58th.
She is the youngest by five years and in a previous statement British Fencing did say selection for these Games would also have an eye on the future.