News 10th September 2021

Algerian reportedly* sanctioned with ten year ban for refusing to face Israeli

Fethi Nourine and his Coach Ammar Benikhelf have been sanctioned with ten year bans by the International Judo Federation (IJF) after Nourine refused to face an Israeli opponent, reports* Middle East Monitor. Nourine refused to face Tohar Butbul at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and his action was repeated by Sudanese Judoka Mohamed Abdalrasool. Both Athletes received praise for their stand from Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS), a Palestinian-led movement.

The IJF has yet to make a statement or publish a Decision regarding Nourine and Benikhelf, or Abdalrasool. It is understood that the sanction against Nourine and Benikhelf is backdated to 23 July, and can be appealed. 

In April, the IJF suspended the Islamic Republic of Iran Judo Federation (IRIJF) with a four year suspension for instructing a judoka to lose in order to avoid having to face Israeli opposition. The ban was backdated to 18 September 2019. At present, it is unclear why an Athlete and Coach received a ten year ban for taking individual action, whilst a federation received a backdated four year ban for instructing athletes to lose so that they couldn’t compete against Israelis.

* The IJF announced the sanction on 10 September.

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