The International Judo Federation (IJF) confirmed Tuesday the suspension of the Iranian Judo Federation, threatened to miss the Tokyo Olympics because of its refusal to meet Israeli athletes.
Suspended as a precaution on September 18 by the IJF, Iran was sanctioned until further notice by the world judo authority for forcing one of its members to lose in order to avoid meeting a Israeli athlete at the Tokyo Worlds.
Last August, Saeid Mollaei, world champion out of -81 kg, had lost successively in the semifinals, then in his fight for a third place, finally finishing fifth. The 27-year-old judoka explained that he had been pressured by the Iranian authorities to do so, so as not to fight against an Israeli in the final, namely Sagi Muki, who was finally a gold medalist.
The IJF said in its final decision made public Tuesday that the pressure of his federation towards the Iranian judoka was a violation of its regulations concerning "respect for the Olympic spirit (...), the principle of political neutrality" and universality ", as well as manipulation of the outcome of a competition.
As a result, the Disciplinary Commission concluded that Iran "will be suspended from all competitions organized by the IJF until (the country) provides strong guarantees of its compliance with the IJF's statutes and that its members agree to fight against Israelis. "
The blow is hard for Iran at nine months of the Tokyo Olympics when judo is one of its strengths. This decision can be challenged by the country before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days.
© 2019 AFP