Judo’s world governing body has suspended Iran on Thursday as punishment for the country’s refusal to let its athletes face opponents from Israel.
The International Judo Federation’s four-year ban—backdated to start in 2019 and run into September 2023 — is provisional and can be lifted if the Iranian judo federation respects its rules on discrimination and accepts to compete with Israel.
The IJF said it “continues to defend the fundamental human values and rights of all its members, with a special emphasis on the rights of athletes and reiterates its commitment to fight against any form of discrimination in the sport of judo,” AP reported.
The ban was announced initially after Iran forced former world champion Saeid Mollaei to throw a match against Israelis.
Mollaei later travelled to Germany and was recognized as a refugee in the country in November of 2019. He recently won a silver medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, where he represented Mongolia.