The International Judo Federation (IJF) issued a 10-year ban for Algerian judoka Fathi Noreen and his coach after they withdrew from a match against an Israeli at the Tokyo Olympics.
The IJF argues that the pair used the Olympics as a platform to protest and promote political and religious propaganda after Noreen and his coach, Amar Benikhlaf, publicly stated that they refused to face an Israeli during the sports competition in July.
In an interview, Noreen, the 30-year-old athlete, said that he doesn’t regret doing that and would withdraw from the Olympics 1,000 times again as long as the world realizes the nature of the Israeli.
The IJF announced that on August 6, 2021, the IJF Executive Committee decided to initiate disciplinary procedure against Mr. Fathi Noreen and Mr. Amar Benikhlef because the actions they had taken were listed in Article 50 of the Olympic Charter, which prohibits any demonstration or political-religious or racial propaganda is (not) allowed in Olympic site, venue or any other areas’ and submit the case to the IJF Disciplinary Commission in the First Instance.
The federation said that the IJF disciplinary commission had found evidence that two Algerian judokas with malicious intent had used the Olympics as a platform for protest and the promotion of political and religious propaganda, which include as a clear and serious violation of the IJF Statutes, the IJF Code of Ethics and the Olympic Charter. Therefore, there are no other penalties besides severe suspension that can be imposed in this case.
Hence, the IJF Disciplinary Commission officially imposed a 10-year suspension each for Mr. Fathi Noreen and Mr. Amar Benikhlrf from all events and activities organized by the International Judo Federation and its union starting from 23 July 2021 to 23 July 2031.
Noreen said that he was shocked by the punishment and did not expect to receive such a cruel penalty.
He added, saying that he would appeal the sentence imposed on them and ask the authorities to stand by him. Noreen emphasized that his withdrawal was a form of support for Palestine, and he rejected normalization in all its forms even though it cost him to be absent from the Olympics. He believes that God will compensate him.