Algerian player suspended after withdrawal from Olympics

Fethi Nourine did not want to fight an Israeli player.

(Via International Judo Federation)

Following the draw of the judo competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Fethi Nourine (-73kg) and his coach Amar Benikhlef gave individual statements to media announcing their withdrawal from the competition to avoid meeting an Israeli athlete during the event.

The immediate response of the IJF Executive Committee was to form an investigative commission which confirmed 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.

The IJF launched the investigation and notified the Algerian Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee. Responding to the information, the Algerian Olympic Committee withdrew both the athlete and coach accreditation and plans to send them home, applying sanctions accordingly.

These actions were taken based on the official recorded declarations of both Fethi Nourine and Amar Benikhlef, that were published in the media and that are in total opposition to the philosophy of the International Judo Federation. The IJF has a strict non-discrimination policy, promoting solidarity as a key principle, reinforced by the values of judo.

According to the IJF rules, in line with the Olympic Charter and especially with rule 50.2 that provides for the protection of the neutrality of sport at the Olympic Games and the neutrality of the Games themselves, which states that “no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.”

Fethi Nourine and Amar Benikhlef are now suspended and will face a decision by the IJF Disciplinary Commission, as well as disciplinary sanctions by the National Olympic Committee of Algeria back in their country.

Judo sport is based on a strong moral code, including respect and friendship, to foster solidarity and we will not tolerate any discrimination, as it goes against the core values and principles of our sport.