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IJF to ban coaches matside? 

* UPDATE * December 12 2008, 5pm
We are going to try and put together a podcast on the subject this coming week. The format will be 90 second segments of high profile people stating their opinion. If you are such a person, or can involve such a person, please contact me!

Hello all,
I have received today what looks to be an authentic IJF communication from a Judo friend who I trust. The letter does not seem to appear on the IJF website, so I am making it available here:
Coaches at IJF Events_ENG
If it is not visible to your please visit ... -EventsENG

The content of the letter is also pasted at the bottom of this post.

The main message is that from January 1st 2009, coaches shall not be allowed matside.

No this is a pretty dramatic change and to announce it in mid December is a bit off I feel. I have not seen this subject debated anywhere publically either.

This is a change that needs debating and consideration as it affects players directly. Some athletes want coaches matside, this rule potentially puts those athletes at a disadvantage. Is that fair?

Please read the letter, consider the point, spread the news and talk to people about this rule. If you agree, tell someone official. If you disagree, tell everyone official you can!

Please also discuss this topic online:

Tris has also blogged about it (Tris' Blog).


International Judo Federation

Attention to:
IJF Member National Federations

Subject: Removal of coaches from tatami’s border during competitions

11 December 2008

Dear Sirs,

The founder of judo, Jigoro Kano, wished when he created judo in 1882 to set up an educational

Our mission today is to sustain his will. It comes to survival of our sport in the world where
competition is growing among various sports participants. We must also be attentive to the
presentation of judo which must remain a discipline included in the Olympic Games.

The image we give of judo, especially at major events with important media attendance like
Olympics, is a reference for all current and future judo participants.

An athlete is alone against his opponent in a fight. In the educational concept of judo, the role of
coaches is to prepare his players for this autonomy. We must reserve for a Judoka the decision-
making and ability to manage this confrontation.

Mainly for this reason we made a decision to remove coaches along the tatami from 1 January
2009. A specific location will be reserved for them in the competition hall.

Some outbursts on coaches’ side have also hurt the image of our sport at the Beijing Olympics.
Unjustified and continuing criticism against referees had undermined our refereeing in public and
media’s opinion.

We hope for your help in our mission so that judo continues to set a good example for every

Sincerely yours,

Jean Luc Rougé Vladimir Barta
Project manager Head Sport Director

Victor Anderson 


This is indeed an interesting development. It is one that I hope does not come to pass. I am a nationaly certified referee. The only time that coaches have ever been a deteriment to the conduct of a match is when they act badly. In California, we simply have the tournment director remove that person from the venue. What most people forget is that referees, competitors, and coaches are generally people that actively practice judo. There should not be an adversal relationship between these groups. Sadly, I have heard comments from too many people about how referees don't know judo or don't even own a judogi. Male bovine droppings. We all practice the art and all have varying levels of understanding of judo. Part of the "game" is striving to learn more. I just attended a wonderful clinic on ne-waza given by Sharp and Okada. At the ripe old age of 63 and after 40 + years in judo, I was happy to still be learning new things.

Victor Anderson
Sacramento Judo Club


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