Novak Djokovic Could be Banned from French Open After France Rules All Athletes Must be Vaccinated for Sporting Events

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks in Melbourne Airport before boarding a flight, after the Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Melbourne, Australia, January 16, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Novak Djokovic may not be allowed to defend his French Open title in May after the French government ruled that all athletes will have to be vaccinated in order to attend and compete in sporting events in France.

The French sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, has announced that athletes would not be exempt from France’s Covid pass, which will soon come into effect for over 16s. “The vaccination pass has been adopted. As soon as the law is promulgated, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass (stadium, theatre or lounge) for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals,” she wrote on twitter.

Earlier in January, Maracineanu had suggested that athletes could be exempt from France’s vaccination requirements through a “bubble” system, but the government have now scrapped any such plans.

Stanislas Guerini, the French MP and executive director for En Marche, said Djokovic’s behaviour was “irresponsible” as he discussed the Covid pass in an interview with RTL on Monday morning.

“All the big events which will take place in France will also adopt the Covid pass,” he said. “Who would understand if we asked our citizens to make an effort and respect the rules if we authorise some to get out of them?”

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Tumaini Carayol