IJF bans judoka Hall of Famer Amar Benikhlef and Fethi Nourine

    The International Judo Federation (IJF) has banned Algerian judoka Fethi Nourine and his coach and IJF Hall of Famer Amar Benikhlef from participating in any activities or competitions organised by the body for ten years after he refused to face Israeli Tohar Butbul at Tokyo 2020. Nourine and his coach, told Algerian media that they were boycotting Butbul in support of the Palestinian cause.

    At the time, the International Olympic Committee considered Nourine's decision a “violation of the Olympic Charter regulations”.

    The IJF Disciplinary Commission confirms and “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”

    The ruling takes effect from 23 July 2021.

    Nourine and his coach can appeal within 21 days.

    After returning to Algeria in July, Nourine told reporters: “My coach and I took the decision together and I am proud of it. This decision honours me first, honours my family, and honours the Algerian people and the Algerian state, because President Abdelmadjid Tebboune declared to the world that we do not consent to normalisation, and we support the Palestinian cause.”

    The IJF Executive Committee decided to initiate a disciplinary procedure against Nourine and 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.

    Amar Benikhlef is Hall of Famer of the IJF


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