On 23rd July 2021, during the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Algerian -73kg athlete Mr Fethi NOURINE and his coach Mr Amar BENIKHLEF made public statements in the media that the draw shows they would face Israel in the competition and they are pulling out of the Olympics. They were unwilling to face Israel on the day of the competition, 26th July 2021.

As stated by the International Judo Federation on 24th July 2021, (READ THE NEWS) the immediate response of the IJF Executive Committee was to form an investigative commission to confirm all the facts, leading to a temporary suspension of the athlete and the coach and assigning the case to the Disciplinary Commission of the IJF for further investigation, judgement and final sanctioning beyond the Olympic Games.

On 6th August 2021 the IJF Executive Committee decided to initiate a disciplinary procedure against Mr Fethi NOURINE and Mr Amar BENIKHLEF because their behaviour falls within Article 50 of the Olympic Charter, prohibiting any “kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is (not) permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas” and to submit the case to the IJF Disciplinary Commission in the First Instance.

For the IJF Disciplinary Commission, it is evident that the two Algerian judoka, 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.

On these grounds the IJF Disciplinary Commission:

- Pronounces against Mr NOURINE and Mr BENIKHLEF ten (10) years suspension each from all events and activities organised or authorised by the International Judo Federation and its unions, commencing 23rd July 2021, through to 23rd July 2031.

- To Inform Mr NOURINE and Mr BENIKHLEF that this decision is subject to appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

- To inform Mr NOURINE and Mr BENIKHLEF that this decision is taken with immediate effect.

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