Iran does not have to fear any sporting consequences after the execution of the wrestler Navid Afkari: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that it did not want to exclude the athletes from Iran from the Olympic Games.  

"The exclusion of a NOC from the Olympic Games would punish the athletes in this country just because they live under a certain political or legal system," the statement said.

This is all the more true as the Iranian National Olympic Committee (NOK) supported the efforts of the IOC to find a solution to the Afkari case.

As a civil and non-governmental organization, the IOC has neither the mandate nor the ability to "change the laws or the political system of a sovereign country. This is the legitimate role of governments and the respective intergovernmental organizations," it said.

IOC Vice President John Coates had previously made a similar statement.

"The trouble for us is that this execution was not related to a sporting event,"

The Sydney Morning Herald

quoted him as saying


The other difficulty is that "there are probably 50 National Olympic Committees from countries where the death penalty still applies".

Coates is also President of the CAS International Court of Sports and Chief of Australia's Olympic Committee AOC. 

After the execution of the death sentence against Afkari on Saturday, calls for sport-political consequences up to Iran's exclusion from the Olympics had become loud.

The IOC has had problems with Iran a number of times, Coates said.

"They didn't take part against Israel and we have suspended them once before because of these sports violations," said the 70-year-old.

Referring to the Afkari case, Coates said this was a different situation.

"This is someone who has been charged with murder. There are different versions of what happened and different versions of whether he got a fair trial."

Doubts about the rule of law of the procedure

In its announcement, the IOC pointed out the joint activities with the World Wrestling Federation (UWW) in matters of Afkari.

Among other things, IOC President Thomas Bach wrote personal letters to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, "in which he pleaded for mercy on Navid Afkari while at the same time respecting the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

According to the Iranian judiciary, Afkari had killed an official at a demonstration in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz in 2018.

The athlete, his family and human rights organizations alleged that a confession was only obtained through torture.

Among other things, the German government and the European Union expressed doubts about the rule of law of the procedure.

Iran has rejected any criticism.