Algerian Fethi Nourine and his coach have been suspended for 10 years by the International Judo Federation (IJF) for withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics after the draw set the judoka on course for a bout against an Israeli opponent.
Nourine said his political support for the Palestinian cause made it impossible for him to compete against Butbul.
The IJF, which had already temporarily suspended Nourine and Benikhlef, said the pair used the Games “as a platform for protest and promotion of political and religious propaganda”, which breached its code of ethics and the Olympic Charter.
They are banned from all IJF events and activities through to July 23rd, 2031, though they can appeal their bans to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the IJF statement said.
The incident was not the first time that Nourine had withdrawn from competition to avoid facing an Israeli opponent. He pulled out of the 2019 world championships in Tokyo for the same reason.