The International Judo Federation (IJF) made its final decision on Tuesday to ban Iran from competing in any future judo competitions, rejecting Iran's appeal.
The suspension was declared on September 18, claiming that the Islamic Republic Iranian Judo Federation had explicitly instructed its athletes to avoid competing against Israeli athletes at any cost.
During the 2019 Judo World Championship, Iranian judoka Saeid Mollaei claimed to have been instructed to purposefully lose his battles to avoid meeting Israeli judoka Sagi Muki, who went on to win the competition.
Iran appealed the IJF's decision to suspend the country's participation in any future event, claiming that Mollaei lied in his testimony, in an attempt to "speed up his change of nationality process."
The appeal also claims that Iran was not notified in advance of all the circumstances that led to the IJF's decision, and that some of the allegations took place under the supervision of a different president to the Iranian Judo Federation, not under current president, Arash Miresmaeili.
The IJF countered Iran's accusations, clarifying that "the disciplinary case is open against the Iran Judo Federation and not its president or its national coach," as well as specifying the exact correspondence between the sides to show that no information was withheld from Iran to suggest they were not aware of the violations of the IJF's code.
Regarding Mollaei's case, the IJF provides clear evidence "the athlete received a phone call, from 1st Deputy Minister of Sport of Iran and a video chat and a phone call from the Iran National Olympic Committee’s President asking for the athlete not to fight in order to avoid a contest against the Israeli athlete."
Mollaei is currently hiding in Germany after fleeing from the world championship in Tokyo, and has filed a request to the United Nations to be considered a refugee, which would allow him to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games under the requested status. Until his wish is granted, Mollaei will not be able to compete.
Iran can still appeal the IJF's decision with the Court of Arbitration For Sport within 21 days.