LO US AN, SWITZERLAND (AP) – On Thursday, the World Judo Authority suspended Iran as a punishment for preventing its athletes from colliding with Israeli opponents.
The International Judo Federation imposed a four-year ban after a sports arbitration tribunal ordered a disciplinary review last month that said the previous indefinite ban was not allowed.
CAS judges have been harsh on Iranian officials at the National Olympic և National Judo Authority and the Ministry of Sports, saying the case “clearly reveals an institutional scheme” to prevent athletes facing the Israelis.
The case began when former world champion Saeed Mollai left the Iranian national team in 2019, claiming that he had been instructed to lose the World Cup to avoid confrontation with the Israelis.
The ban, which has been postponed from 2019 to September 2023, can be lifted temporarily if the Iranian Judo Federation respects its rules of discrimination and agrees to compete with Israel.
The IJF said on Thursday that it “continues to uphold the fundamental human values and rights of all its members, with a special emphasis on the rights of athletes, reiterating its commitment to combating all forms of discrimination in judo.”
Until Iran’s policy toward Israel changes, its judokas will not be allowed to participate in IJF events, including the World Cup, and officials will not be able to participate in the work of the World Governing Body.
The ban does not affect Iranian judokas’ travel to the Tokyo Olympics, as the team is sent by the national Olympic body, not the National Judo Federation.
Iranian officials may again challenge the IJF verdict in the CAS.
In 2019, Molly fled to Germany, then changed his national jurisdiction to take part in a move approved by the International Olympic Committee for Mongolia.
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