IOC warns against boycott of Israelis
Algerian threat to forbid athletes to face Israeli counterparts prompts IOC response.
Logo of the 2012 London Olympics. Photo: Reuters
The International Olympic Committee has said that athletes “should stay at home”
if they intend not to compete against Israelis at the London Games.
warning came after the president of the Algerian Olympic Committee said that the
country’s Olympic team may face a state policy forbidding them from facing
Israeli athletes this summer.
“There can be no discrimination for any
reason between participants at the Olympic Games,” IOC spokeswoman Emanuelle
Moreau said in a statement.
“Refusing to participate in an Olympic event
because of a fellow athlete/team’s religion or nationality, would not only be
unsporting behavior but a serious breach of the IOC’s Code of Ethics, the
principles of the Olympic Charter and the Athletes Oath.
athlete/team is unable to come to the Games in spirit of friendship and fair
play, then they should stay at home.”
The IOC comment came after Algerian
kayaker Nasreddine Baghdadi withdrew from a World Cup event last month in which
Israeli Roei Yellin was entered.
Algerian NOC President Rachid Hanifi
said all Algerians might refuse to compete against Israelis in
“There is an obligation to ask our government if we have to meet
Israel in sport,” Hanifi was quoted by The Times of London last
“Our athletes represent the whole country, not just our Olympic
Israeli athletes have come to expect being boycotted by Arab
colleagues from certain countries, specifically Iran, with such incidents
occurring in both the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
In Beijing, Mohammad
Alirezaei refused to compete alongside Israeli swimmer Tom Be’eri in the
100-meter breaststroke heats.
Four years earlier, judo world champion
Arash Miresmaeli disqualified himself to avoid a meeting with Israel’s Ehud Vaks
in the under-66kg competition and was later awarded the same $125,000 prize
money Iran handed its gold medal winners from the 2004 Athens Olympics.