Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

In this file photo taken on August 20, 2016 shows USA’s J’den Michael Tbory Cox (red) wrestling with Iran’s Alireza Mohammad Karimi Mashiani in their men’s 86kg freestyle quarter-final match during the wrestling event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2 in Rio de Janeiro. (AFP)
Updated 17 February 2018
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Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

TEHRAN: Iran’s wrestling federation said late Friday it would protest a decision to ban one of its athletes and the national coach for deliberately throwing a match to avoid fighting an Israeli opponent.
Alireza Karimi Mashiani threw a match against his Russian opponent in the under-23 world championships in Poland in November to avoid fighting Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov in the next round.
The Islamic republic does not recognize the Jewish state, placing it in the same “Great Satan” category as the United States, and forbids its sportsmen from competing against Israelis.
On Friday, the United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber banned Karimi Mashiani from competition for six months, and banned his coach Hamidreza Jamshidi for two years.
“The federation will protest the verdict,” Iran Wrestling Federation president Rasoul Khadem said on state television.
Khadem blamed the ban on pressure from the International Olympic Committee, which he said was itself “under the influence of big political and economic powers of the world.”
“During his six-month ban, Karimi Mashiani can take part in domestic competitions and in the final stage of the national team selection.
“His ban will be over before the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games and the World Championship,” Khadem added.
Karimi Mashiani threw his quarter-final bout against Russian Alikhan Zhabrayilov in the under-86 kilogramme freestyle contest.
Footage shows him leading in the match until his coach starts shouting “Alireza, lose” from the sidelines.
Karimi Mashiani then repeatedly rolled over to hand his opponent a dozen points and victory.
He also refused to take the mat against an Israeli opponent at the World Championships in Hungary in 2013.
The United World Wrestling Disciplinary Chamber found that Karimi Mashiani “on instruction of his coach Jamshidi, wilfully lost his quarter finals match against Alikhan Zhabrayilov.”
“Both wrestler and coach were found to have acted in direct violation of the International Wrestling Rules and the UWW Disciplinary Regulations,” it said in a statement.
Iran said it had fought for months to limit the impact of the decision and reduce the proposed fine.
A statement from the Iran Wrestling Federation on its website said such situations were bound to recur and be even “more serious and complicated” in future.
“It is hoped that a solution is thought of by competent authorities for resolving this issue.”


As it happened: Saudi Arabia 0 Uruguay 1

Updated 5 min 20 sec ago
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As it happened: Saudi Arabia 0 Uruguay 1

7.50PM: FULL-TIME: Saudi Arabia 0 Uruguay 1. The World Cup dream is over for the Green Falcons. They will be playing for Arab bragging rights in Monday's game against Mohamed Salah's Egypt...

7.36PM: It's the Saudi Arabia fans we can hear in the stadium in Rostov...they believe. And they're urging their Green Falcons on to find this equalizer...

 

7.28PM: Saudi Arabia are doing their bit to keep the score close, but if we're being honest - this is not the Uruguay team we have come to know and...become acquainted with... over the years.

A poor showing from the South Americans in this World Cup so far, especially as they were many people's "dark horses" for the trophy...

7.20PM: We've had some fantastic games at this World Cup so far, it's safe to say that this is not one of them...both sides seem content with the status quo - Uruguay for the three points, Saudi Arabia to avoid another humiliating defeat...

7.08PM: Into the second half, the game has drifted into the realms of 'midfield stalemate' at this point, but the Saudi Arabia fans are keeping the faith...

 

6.47PM: HALFTIME - Uruguay 1 Saudi Arabia 0 - something to work with for the Green Falcons. But they must be more clinical in the final third when they manage to get that far up the pitch...

6.39PM: Saudi Arabia trying to wrest back control of this game, especially in the middle of the pitch. Russian fans will be cheering for Uruguay, as if it stays like this, the host nation will qualify for the last-16. They're even showing the match live on the famous Moscow Metro trains...

 

6.30PM: Uruguay took their time to come into the game, but one lapse at the back from Saudi Arabia and there was Barcelona talisman Suarez to tap it home. Uphill struggle for Saudi Arabia now, who in 120 minutes of football at this World Cup, have had just one shot on target...

6.25PM: GOAL - Luis Suarez scores from a corner with a deft finish, it's his 52nd goal for Uruguay...

6.20PM: Uruguay haven't clicked here so far, and Saudi Arabia are holding their own. They are passing and moving much better than last Thursday and they are stopping any potential Uruguay break from the off. A marked improvement from Pizzi's team...

6.12PM: Phil Neville, former Manchester United and England defender on BBC: "Saudi Arabia have actually started this game very brightly. They had a quick corner that Uruguay weren't prepared for there, but the ball in just lacked quality."

6:08PM: A much brighter start from Saudi Arabia in this game than against Russia, the fans are hopeful of a better Green Falcons showing too...

 

6:00PM: We're under way - Saudi Arabia must improve from that Russia game, let's see how the fare early on...

5:50PM: All smiles from Saudi players before the game...they're on their way out now in this crucial game, kick-off just a few minutes away...

5.45PM: Saudi Arabia Starting XI: Al-Owais, Al-Breik, Osama Hawsawi, Al Bulaihi, Al-Shahrani, Bahbir, Al-Faraj, Otayf, Al-Jassam, Al Dawsari, Al-Muwallad.

Saudi Arabia make four changes after their 5-0 opening-night hammering against Russia.

Goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf is left out, meaning Mohammed Al-Owais comes in. Elsewhere, Ali Albulayhi starts in the back four, while Hatan Bahbri moves into midfield and Fahad Almuwallad is in to lead the attack.

Pizzi spoke of his "feeling of shame" in the wake of their Russian nightmare. Expect Saudi Arabia to come out with all guns blazing...

5.40PMUruguay Starting XI: Muslera, Varela, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres, Sanchez, Vecino, Bentancur, Rodriguez, Suarez, Cavani.

5.30PM: Just last Thursday, Saudi Arabia were thrashed by Russia. Now in the way of the Green Falcons is Uruguay - who boast one of the most fearsome frontlines in world football in Edison Cavani and Luis Suarez. Everyone believes Uruguay will win, there's no pressure on Juan Antonio Pizzi's men. Can they cause a monumental upset? Join us, to find out...