The International Judo Federation (IJF) said on October 22 that it officially banned Iran from participating in international competitions indefinitely after the country forced the country to lose or give up to avoid confronting Israeli athletes.
According to AFP, the IJF issued a temporary ban last month while an investigation accused Iran of ordering a domestic fighter to intentionally lose at the World Championship in Japan in August to avoid having to face an Israeli opponent in the next round.
At the tournament, the famous Iranian boxer Saeid Mollaei – who hoped to protect his gold medal at the last World Championship, publicly stated that he was ordered to lose the semi-finals instead of fighting. could lead to an Israeli boxer in the weight -81kg final. Mollaei also revealed that he was worried about his family’s safety if he didn’t do orders.
The 27-year-old boxer lost the semi-final and then went on to lose the third match. Mollaei said he was asked by the president of Iran’s Judo Federation and Olympic Committee to withdraw from the match. After the tournament, the famous martial artist also applied for asylum in Germany due to concerns about having trouble returning to his homeland.
In the face of accusations, the Iran Judo Federation denied having forced Mollaei to withdraw from the championship. However, the IJF’s disciplinary committee examining the incident found that Iran’s actions constituted a serious violation of IJF’s rules, legal interests, principles and goals. Accordingly, the ban will last until the Iran Judo Federation provides strong guarantees and proves that they respect the IJF rules, and at the same time accept the athletes of the country against Israeli rivals.
Judo is one of Iran’s strongest sports and the punishment was imposed at the time of only nine months to start the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo (Japan). Therefore, the ban is seen as a blow to Iran’s Judo chance to participate in the 2020 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Tehran is expected to appeal the IJF decision at the headquartered International Court of Arbitration (CAS) based in Switzerland.