Covid: Djokovic must be vaccinated to compete at French Open
New covid passport regulations to be inacted in France will prevent Novak Djokovic from competing at Roland Garros, the sports minister has confirmed.
The French government has backtracked on previous assertions that world number one Novak Djokovic will be permitted to play at Roland Garros despite being unvaccinated as the Emmanuel Macron administration prepares to introduce tough new restrictions for those people who choose not to receive a covid-19 jab. Macron had previously noted that he intended to “piss off” the unvaccinated in a bid to force people to roll up their sleeves, and it now appears that Djokovic will find himself among the minority targeted by the French president.
Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu was quoted as saying that Djokovic would be free to compete given that there are separate regulations in place on the part of the French and international sporting federations governing sporting events. Djokovic would merely have been required to present a negative covid test or proof that he had contracted covid and recovered within the past six months. With the French parliament now passing Macron’s covid passport mandate, that is no longer the case. Proof of vaccination will be required for many aspects of social life, including attendance at sporting events.
“As soon as the law is enacted, it will be compulsory for all spectators, practitioners, professionals, French or foreign, to enter spaces already subject to the health passport (stadiums, theaters or assembly halls),” Maracineanu noted on Twitter.
As such, the minister effectively ruled out exceptions to the rule for international sporting events, having previously suggested that Djokovic and other unvaccinated players would be free to compete at Roland Garros “because the protocol, the health bubble in place at these sporting events, permits it.”
Now, with the introduction of the covid passport, vaccination will be a pre-requisite for international athletes to compete in France. Among the restrictions in place for the unvaccinated under the new legislation - which faces a legal challenge in the Constitutional Court – will be a ban on unvaccinated people entering bars, restaurants cinemas, sporting events, concerts and theaters, as well as the unvaccinated being prohibited from using long-distance transport including buses, trains, aeroplanes and boats.