Fri, 03 Dec 2021

Iran's Judo Federation has appealed against a four-year ban from international events for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said the Iranian appeal against an International Judo Federation ruling was held by video link on November 23.

A verdict is expected to be pronounced in at least several weeks.

The provisional ban, which could be withdrawn if Iranian officials allow their athletes to compete freely, is set to run into September 2023.

The IJF acted against Iran after former world champion Saeid Mollaei left the Iranian team in 2019 claiming he was ordered to throw matches at the world championships that year to avoid facing an Israeli opponent.

Mollaei fled to Germany in 2019 and the International Olympic Committee last year allowed him to compete for Mongolia. He won a silver medal in the 81-kilogram class at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

Iran does not recognize Israel, and Iranian sports teams have employed a policy of not competing against Israelis for the past several decades.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Iranian athletes in September that they must continue to refrain from playing competitive sports against Israelis, even if they are disciplined by international bodies for it.

Based on reporting by AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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