By Nick Butler

Women's team foil is one of two events to be removed from the Rio 2016 programme ©Getty ImagesNovember 29 - Men's sabre and women's foil will be the two team events excluded from the programme for Rio 2016, it was announced today at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) Congress at Automobile Club de France in Paris.

Although there are usually 12 events on a fencing programme, at the Olympics this is reduced to 10 so two of the six team events are excluded on a rotational basis.

At Beijing 2008 men's foil and women's epee were omitted while four years later at London 2012 it was men's epee and women's sabre which missed out.

These two events will now return as the continuation of this rotation system was confirmed.

The news will come as a particular blow to South Korea and Italy who won the respective Olympic gold medals in men's sabre and women's foil in London.

It may also impact the decision of one the greatest ever fencers - Italy's six-time champion Valentina Vezzali - as she decides whether to carry on until Rio 2016 faced with the prospect of having only an individual event to participate in.

Italy's team, including six time champion Valentina Vezzali, will not have a chance to defend their London 2012 foil title ©Getty ImagesItaly's team, including six time champion Valentina Vezzali, will not have a chance to defend their London 2012 foil title ©Getty Images

FIE President Alisher Usmanov confirmed the "logical order of rotation" has been followed.

"I promise that we will not give up our hopes to obtain the two additional medals and will continue our efforts," he added.

"In the meantime, we will work on developing fencing further."

It was also confirmed that the qualification criteria for Rio 2016 will be very similar to the one used for London 2012.

The quota will be 212 fencers, to be distributed among 102 male and 102 female fencers, plus eight positions for host country Brazil to be used as they see fit.

Elsewhere, the Congress ratified Ghana and Samoa by acclamation as new member federations to bring the overall total of members to 149.

On the occasion of its' Centennial, the FIE was also awarded with a special Fair Play Trophy of the International Fair Play Committee honouring "the contribution of the FIE and fencing to the development of the idea of fair play among the youth world-wide.".

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