The four-year ban of Iran Judo Federation, handed by the International Judo Federation (IJF), is still “revisable”, according to Arash Mir-Esmaeili, the head of Iranian judo’s governing body.
The IJF last Thursday suspended the Iranian federation due to “repeated and very severe breaches of the IJF Statutes and the Fundamental Principles of Olympism.”
However, Mir-Esmaeili, speaking to Iranian state-run television, insisted his federation still has the chance to overturn the ban as it has been given “21 days to lodge an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).”
The IJF said Iran has already served a provisional suspension from September 18, 2019, meaning the country will be banned until September 17, 2023.
“We had managed to reverse the initial verdict through a yearlong case at the CAS as Iran was eligible to take part at the Asian & Oceania Judo Championships [in April],” said the former world champion.
The Lausanne-based court had overturned the provisional ban in March, calling on the IJF Disciplinary Commission to review the case.
“I had a meeting with the IJF president Marius Vizer during the Asian championships in Kyrgyzstan and he said Iran will have to accept the IJF’s prerequisite, which is totally against the country’s redlines, in order to have the ban lifted,” added Mir-Esameili.
The initial suspension came after incidents at the 2019 World Judo Championships in Tokyo and the controversy surrounding the then Iranian -81kg representative Saeid Molaei.
According to the IJF, the world judo governing body had been informed that during the competitions in the Japanese capital, Molaei intentionally lost to his Belgian opponent Matthias Casse to avoid a potential bout against the Israeli’s Sagi Muki in the final.
Iran firmly rejected the allegations at the time.
IJF ruling means Iranian Mohammad Mohammadi Barimanlou, who recently sealed a place for the Tokyo Olympics, will be deprived of participation at July’s Games.