Algerian Judoka Banned For 10 Years For Refusing Olympic Bout Against Israeli Opponent

Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine will have to wait 10 years before he can compete in international events again.

Nourine is facing suspension after pulling out of a potential bout against an Israeli opponent at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

IJF Hall of Famer and judoka’s coach, Amar Benikhlef, is also facing the ban. Nourine was scheduled to face Tohar Butbul in the second round of the men’s lightweight competition.

Algeria and other Muslim countries protest Israel’s alleged occupation of Palestine. Most Islamic countries haven’t accepted Israel as an independent country either and they avoid trade with Israel as well.

After withdrawing from the opening day round, the coach and judoka both confirmed to the media that their decision to quit is to express solidarity with Palestinians.

In its statement, the IJF said:

“It is evident that the two Algerian judokas, with malicious intent, have used the Olympic Games as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda, which is a clear and serious breach of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter. Therefore, no other penalty than a severe suspension can be imposed in this case.”

However, Nourine and Benikhlef can appeal their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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