Top sports court overturns Iran's suspension from judo events

The International Judo Federation banned Iran from international competitions after Saeid Mollaei was forced to throw matches to avoid facing Israelis.

Elad Benari ,

Judo (illustration)
Judo (illustration)

The Court of Arbitration for Sport on Monday overturned Iran's suspension from international judo events for refusing to let its athletes fight Israeli opponents, The Associated Press reported.

The International Judo Federation (IJF) banned Iran from all international competitions in 2019 after former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the Iranian team after being ordered to lose matches and withdraw from competitions to avoid facing Israelis.

The IJF said the ban will be in effect “until the Iran Judo Federation gives strong guarantees and prove that they will respect the IJF Statutes and accept that their athletes fight against Israeli athletes”.

CAS said its judges who heard the Iranian judo federation's appeal decided the International Judo Federation overstepped its own authority with such a severe ban.

The court acknowledged the Iranian judo federation had "committed severe violations of the IJF rules" on discrimination and should be punished, though within the world governing body's rules.

Iran had forced Mollaei to throw a match even though the IJF and Iran reached an agreement which stipulates that Iran will no longer boycott competitions against Israelis.

Mollaei later travelled to Germany to begin the process of applying for asylum. He was recognized as a refugee in Germany in November of 2019 and recently won a silver medal at the Tel Aviv Grand Slam, where he represented Mongolia.