Iran Suspended from World Judo over Israel Boycott Policy

Wednesday, 18 September, 2019 - 16:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran has been suspended from international judo competitions because it boycotts bouts with Israeli athletes.

Less than a month after world champion Saeid Mollaei walked off the Iranian team in protest at the boycott policy, the International Judo Federation (IJF) said Wednesday that Iran is suspended ahead of a full hearing.

Iran's judo federation is accused of discriminating against Israeli athletes and breaking rules over manipulating competition results.

"The IJF Executive Committee considered that such a conduct is intolerable," the federation said, according to The Associated Press.

Mollaei has said he was repeatedly ordered by Iranian officials to lose matches or withdraw from competitions, including last month's world championships, so as not to face Israelis. He is currently in hiding in Germany.

Iran does not recognize Israel as a country, and Iranian sports teams have for several decades had a policy of not competing against Israelis.

IJF spokesman Vlad Marinescu said any ban will not apply to next year's Tokyo Olympics because it is the Iranian Olympic Committee, not the Iranian judo federation, which formally enters the Olympic team.

Meanwhile, the IJF is exploring ways to allow Mollaei to compete on the International Olympic Committee's team of refugees.

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