Monday, July 09, 2012

Iran promises not to send athletes against Israelis in London. Will the IOC sanction them?

From YNet, June 14:
Refusing to compete against a fellow athlete at the London Games because of nationality or religion would be a "serious breach" of the Olympic code of ethics, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said last week.

The IOC said athletes and teams should "stay at home" if they are not prepared to compete without discrimination.

"Refusing to participate in an Olympic event because of a fellow athlete/team’s religion or nationality, would not only be unsporting behavior but a serious breach of the IOC’s code of ethics, the principles of the Olympic Charter and the athletes oath," IOC spokeswoman Emmanuelle Moreau said in a statement.

Iran was criticized after some of its athletes withdrew from events against Israelis at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"If an athlete/team is unable to come to the games in spirit of friendship and fair play, then they should stay at home," Moreau said. "There can be no discrimination for any reason between participants at the Olympic Games."
The Guardian added:
[Head of the International Olympic Committee] Rogge said that all 200-plus nations that will be represented in London had been warned that only serious injury would be accepted as an excuse for not competing, and that sanctions would be taken against any athlete who pulled out of a competition for other reasons. Suspicious withdrawals will be examined by a panel of medical experts.

"We have just told all the national Olympic committees that we expect all the athletes to respect the schedule of competition and not to pull out without a good reason for competition against an athlete of another country," he told the Guardian.

"If nation A does not appear at the competition against nation B we will ask for explanations. If the explanation is not satisfactory and valid at the end of it and is not credible then we will go into cross-examination by an independent medical board. And if the medical board says it is not a genuine reason then sanctions will be taken. That is quite clear."
What about when Nation A announces in advance that it refuses to compete against Nation B? Is it then necessary to go through a farce of "medical tests"?

Because Iran announced exactly that:
Iranian athletes to boycott Zionists also in London Olympics

IRI sports minister said Iranian athletes will just as always refrain from competing against Zionist regime’s representatives if in drawing lots they would have to do so, as Iranians do not recognize legitimacy of forged Zionist regime.

Islamic Republic of Iran Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mohammad Abbasi made the comment on the sideline of attending a practice session of the Iranian National Wrestling Teams in an interview with an IRNA Sports Desk reporter.

He added in response to IRNA, “Not competing with the Zionist athletes is one of the values and prides of the Iranian athletes and nation.”

On possibility of deprivation of the Iranian athletes from gaining their deserved medals if they would refrain from competing against Zionist regime representatives, he said, “God willing such a thing will not happen, but if it does we would definitely find a way to solve the problem.”

So has the IOC said anything since this direct promise to break IOC rules by Iran that was pledged over two weeks ago?

Not as far as I can tell.