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Iran Suspended From World Judo For Banning Competition Against Israelis


Iran's Saeid Mollaei reacts during the World Judo Championships in Tokyo, August 28, 2019

In an official statement published on Wednesday, September 18, the International Judo Federation (IJF) suspended the Islamic Republic of Iran from participation in all judo world competitions.

Furthermore, IJF has accused Iran of violating the Olympic Charter.

This is a serious reaction to Iran's policy of not allowing its athletes to compete against Israelis.

Iran has twenty-one days from the receipt of the notification to appeal against the decision.


"Following what happened during the last World Judo Championships Tokyo 2019, the International Judo Federation pronounces against the Iran Judo Federation a protective suspension from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by International Judo Federation and its Unions," IJF said in the statement.

The decision is based on the case of an Iranian gold medalist judo superstar, Saeid Mollaei, who was forced to give away matches to avoid a potential contest against an Israeli athlete, Sagi Muki.

According to the IJF, the Islamic Republic authorities had explicitly ordered Mollaei (-81 kg, 179 lb) to withdraw from the competition, lest he faces the Israeli rival.

Mollaei, a celebrated gold medalist, immediately disappeared during the games in Tokyo in August and resurfaced later in Germany. Speaking exclusively to Radio Farda, the 27-year-old judoka reiterated that Iranian authorities had instructed him to withdraw from Judo's World Championships to avoid a match against an Israeli athlete.

"I have decided to stay in Germany and seek asylum," Mollaei told Radio Farda.

The International Judo Federation has confirmed the news about his asylum request and voiced support for Mollaei.


The IJF decision can also have an impact on FIFA, the world governing body of football (soccer), which has demanded Iran to allow women attend men's football games. Based on an unwritten law the Islamic Republic does not allow entry for women in to stadiums to watch men's sports.

Recently a young woman who had been caught trying to enter a stadium committed suicide by self-immolation, after she was told she might go to prison.

This week, world Bronze medalist in judo, Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou decided to retire since he had to face an Israeli judoka in the current international judo championship.

Since the downfall of the pro-West monarchy in Iran, and based on an unwritten law, Iranian athletes have been banned by the government from competing with their Israeli counterparts.

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