International Judo Federation bans Iran from all future competitions

Iranian judoka Mollaei still taking refuge in Germany.

By ALON EINHORN
September 18, 2019 19:36
1 minute read.
Iran's Saeid Mollaei and Canada's Antoine Valois-Fortier compete

Iran's Saeid Mollaei and Canada's Antoine Valois-Fortier compete. (photo credit: REUTERS/KIM KYUNG-HOON)

The International Judo Federation (IJF) on Wednesday suspended Iran from competing in any future judo competition due to the fact that Iranian judoka "Saeid Mollaei has been instructed by the Iranian authorities and the Iran Judo Federation to withdraw from competing to avoid a potential contest against an Israeli athlete...Sagi Muki," the IJF notice read.

Upon Mollaei's loss at his semi-final bout at the Judo World Championship in Tokyo last month, he was rushed by members of the IJF to Germany, where he revealed that he was instructed to throw his battles to avoid competing against Muki.

In a letter it sent to the IJF in March 15, Iran promised it would "fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle" Another letter sent on May 8 confirmed once again that Iran "shall fully respect the Olympic Charter and its non-discrimination principle, and the Islamic Republic Iran Federation shall fully comply with the Olympic Charter and the IJF Statute.”

The confirmation by Mollaei that Iran had instructed him to lose on purpose so as not to face Muki led the IJF to publish a letter affirming that due to the country's actions, the federation pronounced "a protective suspension from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by International Judo Federation and its Unions, started from 18 September 2019 to the final Commission decision regarding this case."

The decision did not come only as a result of Mollaei's last incident in the Judo World Championship. As mentioned in the IJF's letter, "During the 2004 Olympic Games, the actual President of the Iran Judo Federation, Mr. Arash Miresmaeili, has been instructed by the Iranian authorities to withdraw from competing to avoid a potential contest against an Israeli athlete. The same situation happened also during the 2019 Paris Grand Slam regarding Mr. Saeid Mollaei."


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