Iran appeals to ban judo to avoid Israeli opponents

The Iran Judo Federation’s appeal against a four-year ban from international events for forbidding its athletes from facing Israel’s opponents came to a hearing on Tuesday.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport said that the Iranian appeal against the decision of the International Judo Federation was conducted by video link. A decision is expected to take at least several weeks.

The IJF took action against Iran after former world champion Saeed Mollai left the team, claiming they were ordered to lose matches at the 2019 World Championships so as not to face the Israelis.

Molai fled to Germany citing fears for his safety in Iran and later received International Olympic Committee approval to compete for Mongolia. He won a silver medal in the 81 kg category at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

The IJF was the first to impose indefinite sanctions on the Iranian federation until its policy of discrimination was changed. This was dismissed in the CAS and the matter was referred back to the governing body which settled on a four-year suspension in April.

The temporary ban, which can still be withdrawn if Iranian authorities allow their athletes to compete freely, is set to run in September 2023.

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