Connect with us

SPORTS

Australian Open: Djokovic faces deportation after visa cancellation

Published

on

Australia vowed to deport tennis world number one Novak Djokovic on Thursday, saying the vaccine-sceptic Serb failed to meet strict pandemic entry requirements.

Djokovic could not provide evidence of double vaccination or a medical exemption when he touched down to defend his Australian Open crown, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

“Rules are rules and there are no special cases,” Morrison said after Djokovic’s visa was revoked and he was detained at Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport overnight.

The 34-year-old has refused to reveal his vaccine status publicly, but has previously voiced opposition to being jabbed. He contracted Covid at least once.

Despite Australia’s stringent Covid and vaccine rules, he flew to Melbourne having said on social media that he had an exemption to play in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17.

All participants at the first Grand Slam of 2022 must be vaccinated against Covid-19 or have a medical exemption, which is granted only after assessment by two panels of independent experts.

Djokovic’s triumphant Instagram post seemed to end months of speculation about whether he would be able to defend his Open title, and have a shot at securing an unprecedented 21st Grand Slam.

But instead of a conquering champion’s return, Djokovic never made it past border control.

Australian border officials questioned the sports star and revoked his visa citing a failure to “provide appropriate evidence to meet the entry requirements”.

Djokovic was held at the airport overnight and eventually moved to an undisclosed government facility pending deportation.

Legal sources told AFP that a deportation order had been scheduled for just after midday local time (0100 GMT), but a delay seemed likely pending Djokovic’s possible appeal.

– ‘Justice and truth’ -News that Djokovic had received an exemption to arrive in Australia without being vaccinated was met by public outcry.

Australians have been unable to travel or welcome family from overseas for much of the last two years.

Stephen Parnis, a former Australian Medical Association vice-president, said the exemption sent an “appalling message” to people trying to stop the spread of Covid-19.

But the Serb’s treatment on arrival prompted fury among his fans and a fiercely worded diplomatic rebuke from Serbia’s president.

“The whole of Serbia is with him and… our authorities are undertaking all measures in order that maltreatment of the world’s best tennis player ends as soon as possible”, President Aleksandar Vucic said after speaking with Djokovic over the phone.

“In line with all standards of international public law, Serbia will fight for Novak Djokovic, justice and truth.”

Djokovic’s father echoed that nationalistic tone, claiming his son had been “held captive for five hours” at Melbourne airport and should return home to a hero’s welcome.

“This is a fight for a libertarian world, this is not just a fight for Novak, but a fight for the whole world,” he told the Russian state-run Sputnik media outlet in Serbia.

Sanja, a 35-year-old Serbian-Australian Djokovic fan had been looking forward to seeing him play in Melbourne.

“He went through a civil war to play tennis, he’s done nothing wrong to the world. If this was Nadal or Federer there wouldn’t be this much hype about it.”

– ‘No special favour’ -Australia’s leaders — wary of public sentiment and mounting Covid problems ahead of an upcoming election — pointed fingers over who was responsible for the saga.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said the government made “no apologies” for protecting the border, despite the prime minister earlier suggesting it was up to Melbourne officials and Tennis Australia.

“Individuals who do not meet our strict requirements will be denied entry to Australia, it does not matter who they are,” she said in a statement.

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said the defending champion had been given “no special favour” but had urged him to reveal why he got the exemption to soothe public anger.

Among the conditions allowing entry without a vaccine is if a person has had Covid-19 in the past six months. It has not been revealed if that was the case with Djokovic.

Tiley said just 26 of the approximately 3,000 players and support staff travelling to Australia for the tournament had applied for a vaccine exemption. Only a handful had been successful.

He defended the integrity of the exemption application process.

“Any person who met those conditions has been allowed to come in. There’s been no special favour. There’s been no special opportunity granted to Novak,” Tiley said.

Djokovic voiced his opposition to the Covid-19 vaccine in April 2020 when it was suggested they might be obligatory so tournament play could resume.

“Personally I am not pro-vaccines,” said Djokovic at the time. “I would not like it for someone to compel me to be vaccinated so I can travel.”

During Djokovic’s questioning at the airport, his coach Goran Ivanisevic posted a photograph on Instagram of himself and the Serb’s other backroom staff, patiently waiting at the airport for a resolution.

“Not the most usual trip Down Under,” wrote the former Wimbledon champion.

AFP

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

SPORTS

Four arrests made as West Ham fans clash with police after Man Utd defeat

Published

on

Four people have been arrested after disorder in the West Ham section of Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon.

The Hammers suffered a 1-0 defeat against Manchester United after a late Marcus Rashford goal.

Footage later surfaced showing disorder in the away end with West Ham investigating the reports of trouble.

And Greater Manchester Police confirmed to Sky Sports News that four arrests have been made, including a 33-year-old on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

A 21-year-old man was also arrested on suspicion of drunk and disorderly behaviour, possession of cocaine and common assault.

A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of throwing missiles and a 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of a public order offence.

Greater Manchester Police added: “Two other men were detained and will be summonsed at a later date for football-related offences.”

West Ham felt hard done by after their narrow defeat, with some question marks over whether Rashford’s winner should have been ruled out for offside.

Speaking after the game, Hammers manager David Moyes said of the goal: ” I’ve not seen it again, by all accounts everyone seems to think it’s fine so we have to trust VAR that they’re getting decisions right.”

Discussing the game, he added: “I just see it as them having a strong squad. I didn’t think them bringing them on made it that much different,” he said.

“We defended well enough but we completely switched off, we didn’t do things you learn as a young player when trying to see games out.

“We had a good defensive organisation but we lacked what we’ve had in recent weeks, our attacking play wasn’t at the level. There was a lot of good things about it but the result is the key thing.

“I’m not coming to these games to roll over and lose, I’m really disappointed with the result but really pleased with how the players have performed.

“For long parts today I was pleased with them, defensively rather than our attacking play. We’ve moved up a level or two over the last year, I’m enjoying it but that result today was hard to take.”

Continue Reading

SPORTS

Pep Guardiola to be offered Holland job when he decides to leave Man City

Published

on

Pep Guardiola will be offered the chance to take Total Football back home when he decides to leave Manchester City – by becoming manager of Holland.

The KNVB (Dutch FA) have drawn up plans to convince the City boss that he should realise his dream of becoming an international coach with the Oranje once his Etihad reign comes to an end.

Guardiola, 51, has a contract with City that expires in the summer of 2023.

And the Premier League champions are hoping the Catalan can be persuaded to extend his stay in Manchester even further.

The Dutch sounded out Guardiola about his future plans before he signed a new two-year extension with City last August.

They were told that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss had unfinished business with the Blues.

But a future link-up was not discounted.

Guardiola is represented by his brother, Pere, who recently joined forces with influential Dutch agency SEG.

He has made no secret that he harbours an ambition to manage a top international nation.

And the prospect of taking charge of the country of his mentor Johan Cruyff would be tantalising given it was Holland’s brilliant team of the 1970s that introduced Total Football to the world.

Cruyff brought Guardiola through from Barcelona’s youth team to play as a deep-lying midfielder in the team that won the club’s first Champions League in 1992.

The late Dutchman’s influence on the City boss is so profound that Guardiola once said: “I knew nothing about football before knowing Cruyff.”

His coaching beliefs have been shaped by the Total Football philosophy that had Cruyff at its heart when Holland reached the 1974 World Cup final before losing to West Germany.

The KNVB turned to 70-year-old Louis van Gaal for a third time after sacking Frank de Boer in the summer following a disappointing Euros.

Continue Reading

SPORTS

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang provides update after return to Arsenal for heart tests

Published

on

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has confirmed he’s “absolutely fine” after returning to London for health checks.

The Arsenal forward was away at AFCON with Gabon when he experienced some heart issues.

A scan revealed possible issues after Aubameyang tested positive for Covid 19 in the lead up to the tournament.

The Gunners recalled the 32-year-old, who is currently not being selected by Mikel Arteta following a disciplinary breach.

Aubameyang has taken to social media to share that he is “completely healthy” following further tests.

He said on Instagram : “Hi guys, I came back to London to do some additional checks, and I’m very happy to say that my heart is absolutely fine and I’m completely healthy!! Really appreciate all the messages over the last few days and I’m already back at it”

Gabon boss Patrice Neveu revealed that Arsenal were keen to get their player back once news of his possible issues broke.

He said, as quoted by Sky Sports : “What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours. We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.

“It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision yesterday with the President and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that [Aubameyang] should go back to Arsenal and Mario [Lemina] back to Nice.”

Despite Mikel Arteta’s recent shunning of the forward, Neveu did admit that it was the club’s right to recall their player.

Aubameyang is currently out of the first team picture as his future remains up in the air.

Continue Reading

Trending