Iranian chess player expelled after Israel boycott

By Jennifer Lipman, October 27, 2011

An Iranian chess player has become the latest person from the country to refuse to compete against an Israeli player in an international championship.

Iranian Grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami announced he would boycott the match against Israel's Ehud Sachar. The two had been scheduled to compete in the fourth round of the Corsica Masters competition.

As a result of his refusal, Mr Maghami was expelled from the tournament.

"Politics has no place in competition at this level," said organiser Leo Battesti. "I had no other choice."

In July a member of the Iranian swimming team pulled out of an international contest because of the presence of an Israeli athlete in the race. Last year an Iranian weightlifter agreed to participate in the World Masters Weightlifting Championship, despite the presence of any Israeli. But when his Israeli opponent won, Hossein Khodadadi refused to shake hands with him.

The World Jewish Congress has previously called for Iran to be suspended from international sporting events, including next year's London Olympics, until its athletes agree to race Israelis.

Last updated: 4:53pm, October 27 2011