Ban for wrestler accused of racism delayed until after World Championships
By Nick Butler
August 14 – The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) has postponed the ban issued against Rıza Kayaalp, the Turkish wrestler accused of making racist comments on Twitter, until after next month’s World Championships pending a review into the decision.
FILA issued Kayaalp with a six-month ban last week after comments were posted to the wrestler’s Twitter account which strongly criticised Armenians and Greeks and blamed them for the anti-Government protests which broke out in Turkey earlier this year.
However, after the Turkish Wrestling Federation (TGF) appealed the decision, FILA ruled to postpone the case, leaving Kayaalp free to compete at September’s FILA World Championships in Budapest.
The announcement also comes a day after TGF chairman Hamza Yerlikaya defended Kayaalp and vowed to take the “unlawful” ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) if the appeal was unsuccessful.
Rıza Kayaalp’s remarks came during the protests which engulfed Istanbul earlier in 2013
Kayaalp, 23, competes in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division and, after winning the 2011 world title, claimed a bronze medal at last summer’s London Olympic Games.
In June, a Twitter account named @rizakayaalpriza, and believed to belong to the wrestler, launched a string of tweets which consisted of messages such as: “these are the Armenian and Greek dogs,” and “you just leave the streets to Armenians, you f**ing looters” and “F**k you traitors”.
These tweets were hastily deleted following the strong reaction to the comments.
However, Yerlikaya hinted that the TGF would argue that the controversial tweets had not been written by Kayaalp.
“They are not a racist statement by our kid,” Yerlikaya insisted.
“There are some tweets posted by second or third persons so that is not certain, either.”
August 2013: Turkish wrestling world champion Kayaalp banned for racism