Iran is banned from participation in international Judo competitions & activities

By The Free Iranian Staff


The International Judo Federation (IJF) has announced that Iran is banned from participating in all international competitions and activities unless the Iranian Judo Federation agrees to allow its athletes to compete against Israeli athletes.

Following events that took place at the 2019 World Judo Championships in Tokyo, the Iranian Judo Federation was finally banned from participating in all international competitions, events and social activities. During that competition, Islamic regime authorities pressured Saeid Mollaei, Iranian Judoka, to withdraw from the competition at the Championships and not advance beyond the semifinals, just to avoid a possible match with an Israeli Judoka.

Saeid Mollaei, Iranian Judoka

Mollaei then quit the team after he was ordered also not to defeat Belgian Matthias Casse in a semifinal match. With help from the IJF he was able to obtain a two year visa to Germany, where he went into hiding.

The IFJ said the pressure on Mollaei was “in gross contradiction” of a letter containing the Olympic Charter to which the Iranian judo had agreed and had clearly, now, failed to respect. The IJF then gave the Iranian federation 21 days to comply or appeal the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sports.

In  the October 22nd statement, the International Judo Federation issued a final ruling on the Iranian Judo Federation, stating: “To pronounce against the Iran Judo Federation a suspension from all competitions, administrative and social activities organized or authorized by the IJF and its Unions, 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.”

In this statement (PDF below), the International Federation’s Disciplinary Committee has accused the Iranian Federation of violating the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics. According to the IJF, the Iranian Federation has up to 7 days to appeal to the arbitration tribunal.

Mohammad Mansouri, the Iranian Judo team head coach for the past three years
Mohammad Mansouri, the Iranian Judo team head coach for the past three years

Now, Mohammad Mansouri, who has coached Iran’s national judo team for the past three years and is credited with his contract with the Tokyo Olympics, says he will not be returning to Iran. “I was no longer motivated and I was fed up. The proverbial house is in ruins. I am still killing myself, just to survive. I simply cannot work there. They don’t let you do your job. When Saeid Mollaei fled to Europe (August 2019), they wanted to ruin everything for me. I was still in Iran when they wrote something claiming that I was collaborating with Zionists!”

Mansouri adds: “The day Mollaei was sacrificed, I went to practice but simply couldn’t get anything done. I was engulfed by a sense of helplessness and strangulation and was unable to focus. I suddenly got up and on the tatami which I have worshipped and for which I have spent my entire life, I told the team: Go enjoy your youth. Do you want to be another Saeid Mollaei who is forced to quietly loose? Don’t waste your time here.”

The IJF website has published The True Story of a Fight for Life where it announces Mollaei’s eligibility to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will likely be a member of the International Olympic Competition, team of refugees, where he will not be representing Iran.

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