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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

France’s new COVID-19 rule ‘allows Novak to play at the French Open’

According to La Gazetta, Novak Djokovic will be able to play in the French Open later this year, whether he is vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, thanks to new rules approved by the French government.

France’s vaccine pass law, approved by Parliament on January 16, will require people to have a vaccination certificate to visit public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas.

A certificate of vaccination will also be required for travel on long-distance trains and domestic flights. The law will come into force in France on January 24.

However, according to La Gazetta, the passport can also be used by individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered within the past six months.

Since Djokovic tested positive for the virus on Dec. 17, this means he could potentially travel to the county before June without being vaccinated, according to the report.

This will allow him to defend his title at the French Open, officially known as Roland-Garros, due to start on May 22.

Epoch Times has contacted the French ministry for comment.

Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), has previously said the organization is working to accept “unvaccinated foreign athletes” ahead of the French Open.

“Our teams are working in cooperation with the government authorities, who will in due course establish rules regarding the admission of unvaccinated foreign athletes to our tournament,” Moretton told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Earlier this month, French sports minister Roxane Marachineanou also suggested that a “health bubble” could be created that would allow unvaccinated players to compete in a Grand Slam tournament in Paris.

“There are health protocols put in place by the respective federations for major events that allow someone like Novak Djokovic to enter the country,” Marachinyan told AFP January 7. “Today in France there are no such entry rules as in Australia. to the country, both for athletes and for any citizens from other countries.

“An athlete who is not vaccinated can participate in the event because the protocol, the health bubble for these major competitions, allows it,” Marachineanu said.

However, the French ministry insists that there will be no exceptions to the vaccine omission law.

“The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be introduced as soon as the law is promulgated in institutions that were already subject to a medical pass,” the ministry said. “This applies to everyone who is a spectator or a professional athlete. And that’s until further notice.”

“As for Roland Garros, it is in May. The situation may change in the near future, and we hope that it will be more favorable. So we’ll see, but it’s clear that there are no exceptions.”

Djokovic, who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, was deported from Australia on January 16 before the first Grand Slam of the year after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled his visa on January 14.

The Serbian player and his lawyers have argued that he should be allowed to stay in the country and compete with a medical exemption from vaccination, having tested positive for the virus in December.

Djokovic, who was ranked number one in the world among men’s tennis, subsequently lost a legal battle that had his visa revoked and was forced to leave Australia.

To follow

Catabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, with a focus on the United States.

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