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30 Apr 2021

International Judo Federation suspends Iran until 2023

The International Judo Federation has banned Iran for four years for "repeated and severe breaches" of the organisation's statutes.

With the suspension taking effect from September 2019, the Iran Judo Federation will be suspended from competitions until September 2023.

The ban comes as a result of IJF proceedings against Iran after it ordered one of its athletes not to compete to avoid facing an Israeli competitor in 2019.

Saeid Mollaei, a 2018 world champion, claimed he was pressurised by the Iranian authorities to drop out of the under-81kg competition at the 2019 World Championships in Tokyo so as not to take on Israel's Sagi Muki in the final round.

The Iranian National Olympic Committee had initially agreed to respect the IJF’s non-discrimination rules.

Mollaei ignored the orders and subsequently fled Iran for Germany, later becoming a citizen of Mongolia, which he has since represented in international competition.

The IJF's disciplinary committee has ruled that the Iranian federation's action was in violation of "principles that are of paramount importance as they form part of the Fundamental Principles of Olympism."

In the wake of the Mollaei incident, Iran was suspended from all competitions but the ban was subsequently lifted by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which ruled that "sanctions compliant with the IJF regulations should be imposed."