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1971-1973: International Support / Exile

In January 1971, Lawrence Gough applied to the IAFF (Irish Amateur Fencing Federation) for an FIE licence (Fédération Internationale d'Escrime, World Fencing Federation). Because he held an Irish passport, he was dependent on the IAFF for an FIE licence. His application was turned down without any explanation.

Gough turned to Charles Louis de Beaumont, President of the Amateur Fencing Association (British Fencing Federation) and Vice-President of the FIE for help. Charles Louis de Beaumont discussed Gough's case with the President of the FIE, Pierre Ferri, at the World Congress of the FIE in Chicago in the same year. As the Statutes of the FIE did not permit the FIE to interfere in the domestic affairs of any national federation, it was decided to change these Statutes at the next World Congress in Nice, allowing the FIE to investigate the internal workings of national federations.

In April 1972, Pierre Ferri as the President of the FIE, set up an international inquiry into the Gough Case, appointing Charles Louis de Beaumont as Chairman of the International Inquiry.

In June 1972, the International Inquiry found for Gough and ruled that Lawrence Gough should receive an FIE licence from the IAFF. As a consequence of this ruling, the IAFF issued Gough with an FIE licence -  valid only for 23 days and not for the entire year 1972. Pierre Ferri reacted to this affront by personally issuing an FIE licence to Lawrence Gough, for the entire year 1972.

In January 1973, Gough again applied to the IAFF for an FIE licence. As in 1971, his application was turned down by the IAFF without any explanation. Gough again turned to Pierre Ferri for support. The President of the FIE again issued Gough with a personally initialed FIE licence for the year 1973. Pierre Ferri again appointed an international inquiry into the Gough Case as the IAFF had indicated that there was fresh evidence against Lawrence Gough.

Charles Louis de Beaumont had passed away in late 1972. Pierre Ferri appointed J. Emrys Lloyd, President of the AFA (Amateur Fencing Association/British Fencing Federation) to hold the International Inquiry into the Gough Case. This time, the Inquiry was held in Dublin to avoid another lengthy exchange of letters which could drag out over years. J. Emrys Lloyd conducted the International Inquiry in Dublin in June 1973. The IAFF and Gough presented their cases. That same evening, a decision was reached: Lawrence Gough was to receive an FIE licence from the IAFF for 1973.

Gough duly received an FIE licence from the IAFF. However, despite having an FIE licence, Gough could not train in his native country, Ireland. The few fencing clubs which existed in the country at that time were dependent on the IAFF and did not dare to question the attitude of the IAFF towards Gough.

In order to be able to train and fence, Lawrence Gough, now 23, had to leave his native land at the end of July 1973, accepting all the consequences, both in his professional and private life. He chose to move to Germany which was one of the strongest fencing nations in the world. He joined a German fencing club and received a German fencing licence from the Deutscher Fechterbund (DFB - German Fencing Federation). But Lawrence Gough kept his Irish passport and his Irish nationality.


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