Judo federation scraps events in UAE, Tunisia over Israel treatment

Geneva (AFP) –


The International Judo Federation on Friday suspended planned competitions in Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates after the hosts failed to confirm that Israeli athletes would receive equal treatment.

The IJF had asked Judo officials in both Muslim majority nations to provide written guarantees that the Israeli national anthem and flag could be included in the events.

"As no positive answer was received to date, although past the given deadline, the International Judo Federation?s Executive Committee decided to suspend both the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam and the Tunis Grand Prix until governmental guarantee is given to ensure free and equal participation of all nations at the said events," an IJF statement said.

The federation "is aware that the situation and incidents registered are due to a complex and complicated political and historical context, but we strongly believe that politics should not have any interference in sports," it added.

It underscored that the decision was in line with the federation's anti-discrimination rules.

The Abu Dhabi event had been scheduled to run from October 25 to 27, while the Tunis Grand Prix has in recent years been scheduled in January.

At last year's Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, Israeli gold medallist Tal Flicker sang his own anthem privately after winning.

The Israeli federation was reportedly aware ahead of the event that there would no formal recognition of the Jewish state during the competition.