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Novak Djokovic to be released from detention as Australian judge revokes visa cancellation

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Tennis star Novak Djokovic has won his court battle in Australia after his visa was canceled due to his Covid-19 vaccination status ahead of the Australian Open.

Australian Federal Judge Anthony Kelly read out the ruling in an emergency virtual court hearing Monday. “The court will order as follows: Paragraph 1, the decision of the delegate to cancel the applicant’s temporary activity subclass 048 visa made on 6 January 2022, be quashed,” he said.

Djokovic fans who had gathered outside the hotel where the world tennis champion was detained burst into cheers and patriotic Serbian songs when the news was announced.

This means that Djokovic’s visa remains valid. He will be released from detention and will be given back his passport and other belongings confiscated at the time of detention.

The 34-year-old Serbian national was detained in an immigration facility last week after arriving in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open for what officials said violated the country’s strict entry rules that require visitors be vaccinated against Covid-19. Djokovic, a vocal vaccine skeptic aiming for a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, had his visa revoked and passport confiscated after customs officials decided he did not have sufficient medical justification for a vaccine exemption.

Supporters of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rally outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 6, 2022.
Supporters of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic rally outside the Park Hotel, where the star athlete is believed to be held while he stays in Australia, in Melbourne, Australia, January 6, 2022.
Loren Elliott | Reuters
Judge Kelly made points in Djokovic’s defense Monday, demanding to know what more the athlete could have done to meet Australia’s entry requirements. The government on Monday acknowledged that it did not give Djokovic and his team sufficient time to react after informing him of his visa cancellation.

But the saga is not over — Australia’s immigration minister can still personally step in and cancel his visa regardless on new grounds. If the minister, Alex Hawke, decides to take that action, Djokovic could be facing a renewed court fight and potentially up to a three-year ban on playing tennis in Australia.

The story has inflamed debate around vaccine requirements and put a spotlight on Australia’s strict Covid measures, which have seen Australians endure some of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world. While the case infuriated Djokovic fans in the country and around the world, many in Australia bristled at the idea of a millionaire tennis player being able to flout their country’s laws when no one else had been able to.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison came out in criticism of Djokovic, saying that “rules are rules.” But in a stroke of irony, Judge Kelly referred to that very statement in explaining his decision Monday: “We all play by the same rules. The reason why this minister for home affairs in this proceeding has agreed that the delegate’s decision [to cancel the visa] should be set aside is for the reasons set out in the notation. Stated in other terms: those rules were not observed.”

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

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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.”

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

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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.

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

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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.

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